Boaters, drivers targeted in statewide safety campaign

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers are getting ready to gear up for what they call the deadliest time of year on state roadways.

On Monday in Conway, the state agency announced plans to keep people safe during what is known as the "100 Deadly Days of Summer." The statewide safety campaign will begin gracing state television stations and roadway billboards as officials crack down on driving and boating regulations.

At the announcement was Lisa Radvansky, whose son died in a car crash in Marion County. She said she hopes her tragedy and the message to be more careful this summer has the ability to save lives.

"The choices he made, he could have made differently," Radvansky said.

Radvansky's son, Chad, was a freshman at Coastal Carolina University when he ran off of Highway 76 in September 2003. Now she supports the SCHP's "100 Deadly Days of Summer" campaign as an effort to remind drivers to be especially careful in peak traffic seasons.

"This is one of the dangerous times of the year for us or for people on the roadway because we have a lot of people who are traveling," SCHP Sgt. Joe Nell said.

Last summer, 281 people died on South Carolina roadways over the summer, and of those deaths, 117 people were not wearing seatbelts. Officials with the SCHP said the primary causes of collisions were driving under the influence, driving too fast for conditions and running off the road.

"My son probably could have survived his collision," Radvansky believed. "Even though he flipped several times, he probably could have survived his collision had he been kept in the car and not thrown from the vehicle."

As troopers concentrate on impaired and reckless driving on state roadways, officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be keeping their eyes on the water. Boating accidents across the state in 2010 have already led to 15 deaths. The number is five more than the year total for 2009.

"That concerns us and we do want to do everything we can to encourage boaters to wear life vests and to understand that boating under the influence can have the same deadly consequences as it does behind the wheel of a vehicle on the road," Col. Alvin Taylor with the SCDNR said.

To drive home the summertime campaign for both drivers and boaters, an estimated 100 billboards have been strategically placed across the state, in addition to two public service announcement commercials that will begin airing over Memorial Day.

Radvansky hopes a little common sense and a few reminders this summer will make a difference.

"Often times we bunch people into categories – drunk drivers, speeders, road rage or whatever," she said. "So many times these are good people who make bad choices. I want [Chad] remembered as a good person who made a bad choice, and possibly we can learn from his mistakes."

The "100 Deadly Days of Summer" campaign kicks off on Friday.

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