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Memorial Day weekend safety

Posted: May 24, 2012 2:50 p.m.
Updated: May 25, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The Memorial Day weekend is approaching and drivers should expect more traffic on the road. Memorial Day is the start of the “100 deadly days of summer.” Our fatalities tend to rise during this time because of more vehicles traveling across our state. This year alone in Troop 1 which covers Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Lee, Sumter and Clarendon counties, our communities have experienced 63 traffic fatalities. These fatalities are the result of speed, alcohol, and occupants not wearing seatbelts, pedestrians and motorcyclists. Memorial Day weekend of 2011 there was one fatality in Troop 1.

This weekend, drivers need to be attentive driving as they depart for their destinations. The S.C. Highway Patrol wants to remind you that if you plan to drink do not drive. “Stay in Place” or have a designated driver so that everyone can make it to their next destinations safely. Alcohol is a big factor of the fatalities in our state. South Carolina is No. 1 in the nation for alcohol related crashes. The highway patrol will be looking for impaired drivers during the holiday period and if you choose to drink and drive you will be caught.

In Troop 1, more than half of the fatality victims were not wearing their seatbelt and in four out of the six motorcycle fatalities, the victims were not wearing a helmet. Remember, if you are unrestrained you are seven times more likely to die in a crash.

Due to the increase of people walking, our pedestrian fatality rate is also on the rise. If you plan to walk, you should walk facing traffic and, if there is a sidewalk available, you must walk on the sidewalk. Wear some type of reflective clothing and do not get in the roadway. We have seven pedestrian fatalities in Troop 1 so far and all seven of the pedestrians were illegally in the roadway.

Speed and overcorrecting is another cause of fatalities. Speed limits are set for ideal conditions. If conditions worsen due to weather or traffic congestion slow down so you can keep your vehicle under control.

The highway patrol will be doing its part to make sure our roads are safe. We will be working closely with the local law enforcement agencies and drivers may encounter checkpoints throughout the holiday weekend. The highway patrol also wants to remind motorists that we need your help. If you are traveling and you see anything that may need law enforcement, you can dial 911 or *HP (*47) and pass the information to the telecommunications operator. Give as much information as you can regarding the vehicle information and your location.

Let’s all do our part by making this holiday safe for everyone.

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