FROM STAFF REPORTS
In preparation for the "100 Deadly Days of Summer," the historically dangerous time to travel between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety is kicking off its Buckle Up, South Carolina, enforcement campaign.
SCDPS and local law enforcement agencies will conduct a unified enforcement effort from May 15 to June 2 focusing on South Carolina's primary safety belt law as part of the "Buckle Up, South Carolina" mobilization.
"You never know what you can't control" is the new safety campaign's tagline. PSAs, which take a humorous approach to a serious issue and include a T-Rex, appear on TV and social media. The link to the new commercial is https://bit.ly/2W8wcGN.
"Driving is a task that requires constant focus," SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said in a news release. "There are many factors that drivers cannot control on our roadways, but one thing they can control is choosing to wear a safety belt. Buckling up is a task that only takes a few seconds but saves hundreds of lives each year."
The goals of the safety campaign are: to increase safety belt usage; to see a decrease in traffic fatalities and serious injuries; and promote a greater awareness about the role safety belts play in keeping motorists safe on the road. Special attention will be paid to nighttime enforcement checks as statistics show the safety belt usage rate drops during the hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
"During the summer months, our law enforcement sees traffic collisions and deaths increase as people travel to the beach and other vacation destinations," Highway Patrol Col. Chris Williamson said in the release. In order to halt the rise in fatalities, the public can expect to see more blue lights this summer, according to Williamson, as DPS and local law enforcement place a strong emphasis on impaired driving, speed and safety belt enforcement.
According to the release, as of May 12, there have been 320 highway fatalities compared to 360 on the same date in 2018; 107 of the 221 people with access to safety belts died unrestrained.
The BUSC campaign is part of the department's Target Zero umbrella, which guides all enforcement and education activities at SCDPS, and represents a long-term strategy to reduce and eliminate traffic fatalities in South Carolina.
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