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By Charlotte Smith

Tragedy often happens when we least expect it. There have been numerous highway collisions this month and three fatalities on Bladen and Columbus County highways. According to First Sergeant Andrew M. Pait, Richard Rufus Howell of Clarkton, Jason Warner Smith Jr. of Chadbourn, and Fannie Blackwell of Cerro Gordo lost their lives on local roadways in the past 15 days.

Now that prom season is here, along with the Easter holiday, it is essential to remember to drive safely and caution those you love to practice safe driving skills.

First Sergeant Pait with the N.C. Department of Public Safety,

North Carolina State Highway Patrol explained that the contributing circumstances to fatal collisions in Bladen and Columbus county are distracted drivers or inattention.

“In addition,” Pait stated, “We are still seeing the three main contributors, especially over the last few months, and they are failure to wear a seatbelt, speed, and impaired drivers.”

He warns drivers, “Speed along with no seatbelt is a recipe for disaster. Collisions that involve a rollover and the occupants are not wearing a seatbelt normally are ejected and result in very serious injury or a fatality.”

Safety Tips from First Sergeant Andrew M. Pait:

  • Always wear your seatbelt, whether in the front or back seat of a vehicle.
  • Do not text and drive (distracted drivers contribute to a large amount of fatal collisions across our state).
  • Obey the speed law. Do not be in a rush to arrive at your destination; allow yourself plenty of time.
  • Do not drink and drive; this can cause a delay in reaction time and impair your judgment.

He noted, “The Highway Patrol will be out in full force this Holiday weekend, strictly enforcing our speed law, seatbelt law, and stopping impaired drivers.”

Please share these tips with your loved ones. Protect yourself and others. Stay safe, drive well, and enjoy the holiday weekend.

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