COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Highway Patrol’s annual summer blitz to curb unsafe driving will begin over Memorial Day weekend.

A primary purpose of SC Highway Patrol’s “100 Deadly Days of Summer” enforcement is to encourage the use of safety belts and prevent deaths on South Carolina roads, especially as the busy summer travel season kicks off this weekend.

Officials say Memorial Day weekend, historically, is when we see an increase in the number of people killed on roads across the state.

“SCDPS troopers and officers are urging motorists to buckle up and ensure every passenger is buckled up — whether driving close to home or taking a long summer road trip,” said SCDPS Director Robert G. Woods, IV.

So far, South Carolina has already seen more than 340 deadly crashes in 2022. Of those killed on the road, SCHP data shows 135 passengers were not buckled up.

“The single most important action motorists can take is wearing their safety belts and properly restraining child passengers,” said Col. Chris Williamson with SCHP. “Even in catastrophic crashes, this one action can mean the difference between surviving that crash and preventing serious injury or the loss of life.”

SC Highway Patrol will partner with local law enforcement agencies to enforce seatbelt use among all drivers and passengers. State Transport Police Col. Dean Dill said his officers will focus on ensuring commercial motor vehicle drivers are also in compliance with the law and buckling up.

“People often have the misconception that drivers of large trucks are safe because the vehicle is so much larger than passenger vehicles, but the statistics do not support that assumption,” Dill said. “Our truck drivers have a critical job transporting goods across our state and we want to ensure everyone gets home safely each night.”

The special enforcement period will run from May 23, 2022, through June 5, 2022.