COLUMBIA — The S.C. Department of Public Safety announced that troopers and STP officers have begun increased enforcement in preparation for July 4 travel. With the holiday falling on a Saturday, troopers expect to see more people taking advantage of the long weekend.
In addition to increased enforcement, Community Relations Officers will be at seven welcome centers/rest areas statewide to greet motorists and distribute safety materials
AAA Carolinas has forecast travel to be up with an estimated 541,000 South Carolinians expected to travel. The official holiday travel period begins July 2 at 6 p.m. and runs through July 5 at midnight, a total of 78 hours. In 2013 and 2014, 10 people were killed on South Carolina’s roadways.
“With travel expected to be up, we are asking all motorists to help us achieve ZERO traffic fatalities during the July 4th weekend,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “We know that July 4th is also a time when many people will be attending celebrations where alcohol is served. Please plan ahead and designate a driver.”
As of July 1, 435 people have been killed on the highways compared to 381 people last year. Through midnight July 1, 48 pedestrians, 57 motorcyclists and eight bicyclists have died on state roads and highways.
Of the 301 motor vehicle occupants who died in 2015, 144 were not wearing seat belts.
Motorists have another incentive this travel weekend to buckle up. Troopers who see motorists buckled up are still distributing Click’n 4 Chicken coupons for a free grilled chicken sandwich or frozen lemonade.
SCHP Col. Mike Oliver reminds motorists to be on the lookout for troopers, officers and other emergency responders on the side of the roadway.
“Troopers will be looking for some of the leading violations that lead to collisions and fatalities, including DUI, speed and safety belts,” Oliver said.
The Highway Patrol also encourages motorists to keep these safety tips in mind when traveling:
• Check your vehicles’ fluids and tires. The high temperatures can cause blow-outs on tires without much tread;
• If you break down or have a minor collision, pull as far off the roadway as possible, activate emergency flashers and call *HP (*47) or 911;
• Get real-time traffic information at www.scdps.gov/schp/ and SCDOT traffic information at www.511sc.org/;
• Move over for emergency workers and vehicles.