COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Labor Day is the end to what the South Carolina Highway Patrol calls the 100 Deadly Days of Summer. It's the time period when troopers say we see the most deadly accidents on our roads.
Officials say already this year we've seen more deadly accidents than in the last couple of years. The Highway Patrol says historically Labor Day Weekend, and the summer months in particular, are the deadliest on South Carolina roadways. As of Friday—officials say 110 more people have died in car crashes this year compared to last.
Troopers say during the summer months we tend to have more travelers on the roads, which factors into the increase in highway deaths. Statistics show many fatal collisions occur on secondary roads, not just interstates.
15 people died in 2014 on Labor Day alone—a reason troopers are going to be out in force Monday to ensure people are staying safe. Highway Patrol officers say a majority of the deaths this year have been because of drinking and driving and people not wearing their seatbelts.
"Half of our fatality rate has been by the hands of someone who has been drinking. And that is unacceptable in South Carolina," says Highway Patrol Lance Corporal David Jones. "We're going to use every tool that we have available and every resource available to go out and combat this. Starting Labor Day and and throughout the remainder of the year motorists can come to expect if you decide to drink and drive you're going to be pulled over and you're going to go to jail."
Troopers say they will be targeting three main things Monday: drinking and driving, seatbelt use, and speeding.
As of Friday South Carolina has had more than 600 deadly crashes on roads this year. More than 200 of those fatalities were during the 100 Deadly Days of Summer before the Labor Day weekend.
The Highway Patrol says both statistics are higher than deadly accident numbers we've seen in the last couple of years. Agencies have stepped up their enforcement and also dedicated officers to targeting drunk drivers.
And while law enforcement will be out to ensure everyone is safe, officials say safety starts with the driver.
"Numerous agencies have teamed up with the South Carolina Highway Patrol," says Jones. "Local law enforcement and Sheriff's Deputies are going to stand hand in hand with troopers and enforce these laws. But citizens need to take the pledge. We need to get the motorists behind us. We want the drivers to do the right thing and we want passengers to do the right thing. We know that if you don't drink and drive and you wear your seat belt, it's going to greatly increase your chances of survival."
If you see a driver violating traffic laws on our roads you can call *HP and report them.