COLUMBIA, S.C. (SCRN/AP/WVOC) - More fatal crashes are happening on South Carolina roads after dark, and the Highway Patrol believes a key reason is that drivers are less likely to use seat belts at night.
Statistics for last year show nearly 64% of motorists killed after dark were not buckled up at the time of the crash, compared to 49% during daytime wrecks.
The state Department of Public Safety says some people think troopers don't notice drivers who go without seat belts at night.
For the next two weeks – through the period of increased traffic for the Memorial Day travel period – Highway Patrol spokesman Brent Kelly says troopers will step up enforcement of seat belt use after dark.
“We're going to be at well-lit intersections throughout the state, looking at motorists as they come by us at the intersections,” Kelly told the South Carolina Radio Network.
“And if they're not buckled up and they're not restrained, then we will stop the vehicle and issue a citation for not wearing their seat belts.”
The state’s safety belt compliance rate set a record high last year at over 90%, but more than 100 people have died on South Carolina roads this year who had access to seat belts yet did not wear them.