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Be safe this Memorial Day

Posted: May 24, 2013 9:06 a.m.
Updated: May 27, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Memorial Day is one of the biggest holidays that are celebrated in our state. We saw an influx of traffic this weekend due to families traveling for the holiday weekend and an increase in motorcycles traveling back and forth to Myrtle Beach for the annual memorial weekend bike rally. Memorial Day is the start of the 100 deadly days of summer. This is the time that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In the past we have seen an increase in fatalities due to more traffic on the highway. In 2012, we had a total of 217 fatalities during the 100 days compared to 233 in 2011. We can do the same thing this year by having fewer fatalities as long as everybody drives responsibly and obeys the traffic laws.

The S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) has several events going on this weekend. The Buckle-up SC Campaign has kicked off and it runs from May 20 through June 2. During this campaign, we will be concentrating heavily on night time seat belt enforcement. Checkpoints will be set up throughout the county with the help of local law enforcement networks partnering to enforce the seat belt law. In 2012, 64 percent of the fatalities during the night time hours were unrestrained compared to 49 percent during the day time hours. This pattern remains the same for the previous years. Just because law enforcement can’t see inside your vehicle at night does not mean that you should not buckle up. The checkpoints that will be conducted and set up at well lit areas so the troopers have good visibility to see inside vehicles during the night time hours. More people are buckling up during the day but far too many choose not to buckle up at night when the risk of getting into a fatal collision rises.

In 2011, we had a total of eight fatalities during the Memorial Day weekend: five automobiles, two motorcyclists and one pedestrian. No restraint/helmet usage was recorded for any of the fatalities. In 2012, we also had a total of eight fatalities for the Memorial Day weekend: three automobiles, four motorcyclists, and one pedestrian. One motorcyclist was wearing a helmet. No restraint/helmet usage was recorded for the other seven. The goal of our enforcement efforts this Memorial Day weekend is “Target Zero” -- zero fatalities.

The SCDPS enforcement period for the Memorial Day weekend began Friday and runs through today. Checkpoints will not only be set up at night but also during the day. We will be looking for and enforcing the laws that are the leading contributing factors to our fatalities. Drinking and driving, seatbelt, speeding, and reckless driving. There will be saturated patrols on the heavy traveled roadways looking for these violations. Last year, we had major influx of traffic on our interstates around the I-26 and I-77 interchange and also on I-20. If are traveling today, try to leave early and if you get into heavy traffic, slow down and be patient. Do not speed and try and get through the traffic. This could cause collisions which will then cause major traffic delays on the highway.

Remember, one life lost is one too many. “Target Zero” is our goal this holiday weekend. As long as everybody does their part we can reach this goal. If you are traveling and see something that needs to be reported we ask that you call 911 or *HP (*47). Give a description of the vehicle and the location so we can get a trooper to the location and get the vehicle stopped and off the highway. Everybody working together will make this Memorial Holiday safe.

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