Memorial Day kicks off summer – the kids are out of school, pools are open, and backyard barbecue weather is back. For law enforcement officers, however, Memorial Day weekend is the start of the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” when more people than ever travel, and the rate of highway accidents skyrockets. That’s why, this Memorial Day Weekend, South Carolina law enforcement agencies are focusing on seatbelt safety.
“It’s that 100 days when we initially kick off the beginning of summer, and we’ve seen in recent years a spike in fatalities because of more traffic, people vacationing, kids out of school,” said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the S.C. Highway Patrol.
AAA Carolinas estimates that more than 443,000 motorists will be on South Carolina’s roads and highways just this weekend, to see family and enjoy holiday festivities.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol recently kicked off their Buckle-Up South Carolina campaign, which focuses on seatbelt safety, especially while driving at night.
“While more people are buckling up during the day, far too many choose to disobey the law at night when the risk of getting into a fatal collision actually rises,” said Leroy Smith, director of the state Department of Public Safety. “The simple act of buckling up could save hundreds of lives each year. We want to bring a focus on this deadly trend, especially going into summer when travel on our roads will increase.”
“[Drivers] wear their seat belt in the daytime cause they know we’re out there looking, it’s easier for us to see,” said Lance Corporal Brent Kelly with SCHP. “But at nighttime they don’t want to wear it, but that’s when your risk goes up. We want to let everybody know just because it’s at night and we can’t see, you’re still increasing your chances of losing your life in a crash.”
According to the SCHP, no seatbelts or helmets were used in almost all of the deaths reported during Memorial Day weekends for the last two years. In 2011, between Friday at 6 PM and Monday at midnight, 8 people died in automotive accidents of some kind. Five were car crashes, in which the drivers or passengers were not following seatbelt safety; two were motorcyclists, who were not wearing helmets. One of the deaths was a pedestrian.
However, there has been an annual decrease in the number of deaths over Memorial Day Weekend. As of midnight on May 22nd, SCHP reports that there have been 242 traffic-related fatalities, which is 91 less than last year.
While also focusing on seatbelt safety, SCHP says it will be very vigilant for drunk drivers. If you are pulled over this weekend, expect officers to be thorough in inspecting for intoxicated drivers, seatbelt safety, and other traffic violations.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol kicks off its traffic and seatbelt safety campaign, Buckle-Up South Carolina, tonight, May 24th.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Seatbelt Safety and DUI Charges This Memorial Day
If you or a loved one have been pulled over due to a traffic violation, such as improper seatbelt safety, distracted driving, or DUI, you do not have to face the charges alone. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexities of traffic safety regulations in South Carolina, and can help you fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. 803.252.4800.