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Heat and fatal accidents rise this summer in South Carolina

The time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety as the "100 Deadly Days of Summer" and the name has been all too fitting this year.

Overall, South Carolina has already seen 119 fatalities during this summer's Deadly Days, and with Labor Day a month away, officials fear that this year could be one of the worst for deadly car accidents. Last year 108 people were killed in accidents in South Carolina between Memorial Day and Aug. 4.

The high number of fatalities paired with the heat has made the jobs of emergency responders, including firefighters, even more difficult, officials said.

"It is tough on our folks physically and emotionally," the Anderson County Fire Chief told a local reporter.

A South Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman said that the top three causes of traffic deaths in South Carolina are speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to wear seat belts, which he said are all "preventable."

Here are some ways the spokesman said that people can stay safe for the remainder of the 100 Deadly Days of Summer:

  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Leave earlier so you're not in such a hurry to get to your destination.
  • Arrange in advance to have designated drivers.
  • Don't discipline your children while you drive.
  • Focus on the road and put down electronics, cell phones and food.

While eating and driving might seem a lot more harmless than texting or talking on the phone, it still remains a cause of accidents.

"If you are going 60 miles per hour on the interstate, that means you are traveling 88 feet per second," the spokesman said. "Someone who is eating and spills ketchup might look down at their shirt for four seconds. That means they have gone the length of a football field without having their eyes on the road."

Keep these tips in mind to make sure summer stays fun and safe for you and your family.

Source:, "Traffic deaths up in 'Deadly Days of Summer'," Kirk Brown, Aug. 4, 2011.

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