SC troopers stepping up patrols for Memorial Day weekend

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by DIANA RUGG / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @DianaRuggwcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM

ROCK HIILL, S.C. -- Memorial Day weekend begins what South Carolina state troopers call the "100 Deadly Days" of summer -- the roughly 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

They know families are on the roads for vacations, and that increases their chances of highway accidents.

One thing, said Trooper Billy Elder, can make them more likely to survive a crash -- wearing seat belts. Troopers are targeting drivers and passengers without them this weekend.

"Statistics do show you're seven times more likely to live if you have your seat belt on," said Elder.

Elder pulled up statewide highway death reports from Memorial Day weekends in 2011 and 2012.  Of eight people killed in car crashes, none were wearing seat belts.

Of 177 people killed statewide in car crashes so far this year, 109 were not wearing seat belts.

Many of those fatal crashes happened at night, said Elder, when people are less likely to wear seat belts because they believe police can't see them in their cars.

With that in mind, troopers targeted the corner of S. Anderson Road and Mt. Gallant Road in Rock Hill Saturday night for seat belt enforcement checkpoint.

Spotters on the corner would radio to troopers two blocks ahead to tell them which cars had unbelted drivers or passengers.

In two hours, they wrote 26 seat belt citations, and one child restraint violation.

They want to get the message out that seat belts save lives.

"All of the safety equipment in your car is designed for you to be in your seat to get the full benefits from it," said Elder.

One thing, he said, is most likely to keep you in your seat.

"It's a no-brainer," he said. "Wear your seatbelt -- it's safer."
 

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