With the Thanksgiving holiday just a day away, the S.C. Highway Patrol plans to beef up traffic enforcement in an effort to keep everyone on the road safe.
As of Oct. 31, there had been 691 road-related deaths in the state, said Sgt. Chris Shelton of the Highway Patrol. That figure is 18 more deaths than last year, and he pointed to speeding as the No. 1 cause.
"Law enforcement will crack down on speeders during Thanksgiving weekend," he said. "To avoid a ticket or collision, buckle up and slow down."
Three fatal crashes were reported Monday - one in York County and two in Chester County.
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In 2010, three people died during the Thanksgiving holiday in South Carolina compared to nine deaths in 2009 and 15 deaths in 2008. At least eight people have died on state roads during the holiday every year since 2000, with the exception being 2010.
None of the deaths reported last year were in York, Chester or Lancaster counties.
Three major factors contribute to holiday crashes, said Lance Cpl. Billy Elder of the Highway Patrol: speeding, failing to wear a seat belt and driving under the influence.
Those who do not wear a seat belt are seven times more likely to die in a crash, he said.
"The Highway Patrol will be doing its part to make sure our roads are safe," he said. "People will notice more troopers on the road and may encounter checkpoints as they travel this holiday."
Troopers offers the following tips for holiday motorists:
Follow the speed limit
If weather conditions worsen, slow down so you can keep your vehicle under control
If you plan to drink, designate a driver
If you see any suspicious driving, dial 911 or *HP (*47) and give the information.
Weather forecasts call for a chance of rain today and Sunday. But clear skies are expected for Thanksgiving Day and Friday. Temperatures will range from the low to mid-60s.
"Let's all do our part by making this holiday safe for everyone," Elder said.
The (Columbia) State contributed.