Drivers and boaters getting ready for outings this summer are urged to celebrate responsibly as law enforcement will have increased enforcement during the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. South Carolinians should know, whether on the road or on the water, it’s never okay to operate a vehicle under the influence.
During a joint press conference Thursday at the Lake Murray Dam, the SC Highway Patrol and SC Department of Natural Resources notified drivers and boaters in South Carolina that they can expect to see increased collaborated enforcement efforts from June 30 – July 4.
The Fourth of July weekend is the year’s busiest weekend on state waters, and troopers and officers want to do everything possible to keep motorists and boaters stay safe by urging everyone who will be out to enjoy themselves responsibly. If alcohol is part of your summer celebrations, motorists and boaters are urged to designate a sober driver or use a rideshare service.
The Independence Day travel period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, June 30, and ends at midnight Tuesday, July 4. Last year, there were 13 deaths on South Carolina roadways during the Independence Day holiday travel period. Eight of those deaths involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
“What our data shows is that a disturbing number of deaths during the July Fourth holiday weekend involve drunk or drugged drivers,” said Colonel Christopher Williamson, commander of the SC Highway Patrol. “Even one traffic death is too many, but to see so many involving such reckless choices is truly a cause for alarm. We want the public to know that our troopers will be doing everything they can to stop these violators who are taking unnecessary risks and putting others’ lives in danger on our roadways.”
Additionally, troopers urge motorists to buckle up and obey the posted speed limits, while SCDNR’s Law Enforcement Division suggests checking that you have the required safety equipment including enough life jackets to fit every individual on board.
“Our SCDNR Law Enforcement Division is focused on educating the public on the dangers of boating under the influence. Our law enforcement officers will be out on our waterways looking for negligent and impaired boaters to provide a safe boating experience for all” said Colonel Chisolm Frampton of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The partnership’s announcement comes as South Carolina approaches the midpoint of the 100 Deadly Days of Summer, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when traffic fatalities typically increase. The total number of collisions during the 100 Deadly Days of Summer decreased from 39,661 in 2021 to 36,502 in 2022. The total number of traffic fatalities during that time also decreased from 344 in 2021 to 297 in 2022. However, of the 297 traffic fatalities in 2022, more than 75% of those were speed-related or alcohol/drug-related traffic fatalities.