COLUMBIA -- The South Carolina Department of Public Safety kicked off its Buckle Up, South Carolina, safety belt campaign with an emphasis on safe summer travel in advance of Memorial Day weekend.
The department held a news conference at three baseball parks across the state today including Spirit Communications Park in Columbia, Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, and Joe P. Riley Jr. Park in Charleston.
“As summer gets closer, we all look forward to the fun and relaxation that the season brings,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “From a safety perspective, however, we know that all of that activity means we’ll see more people traveling on the roads in our state. Our goal through BUSC is to ensure that every occupant is buckled up – every trip, every time.”
From now until June 4, SCDPS and local law enforcement agencies will conduct a unified enforcement effort focusing on South Carolina’s primary safety belt law as part of the Buckle Up, South Carolina! It’s the law and it’s enforced (BUSC) mobilization.
Motorists also will see a familiar slogan on social media and outdoor media. The BUSC campaign is bringing back “Highways or Dieways: The Choice is Yours.”
“Though this campaign was originally created 30 years ago, the message is still relevant to today’s motorists,” said Colonel Michael Oliver, commander of the SC Highway Patrol. “Even though it is the law, every driver makes a choice whether to buckle up and that choice can mean the difference between life and death.”
Oliver emphasized that more than half of motorists killed on South Carolina highways last year were not buckled up.
SCDPS joins regional and national partners in promoting safety belt use this time of year. The goals of the 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.
Law enforcement will also focus on nighttime enforcement checks, as statistics show the safety belt usage rate drops during the hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
As of May 17 this year, there have been 360 highway fatalities compared to 355 on the same date in 2016; 259 of the people with access to safety belts died unrestrained compared to 235 in 2016.
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.