Charleston police are cracking down on seat belt violations as part of a statewide attempt to reduce the number of traffic fatalities.

Between Monday and June 1, the Charleston police Traffic Enforcement Unit, in conjunction with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, is participating in the Buckle Up South Carolina Initiative.

During this two-week period, motorists should expect to see officers, deputies and troopers on area roads in a stepped-up effort to enforce seat belt laws.

The program is part of a Department of Public Safety campaign focusing on eliminating traffic fatalities on South Carolina roadways.

This year, 243 traffic deaths have occurred around the state, two fewer than the total at this same time last year, officials said.

Of the 190 people killed in collisions who had access to seat belts, 49 percent were wearing them at the time of the crash, according to authorities.

There have been four fatal wrecks in Charleston so far this year, three more than the number of fatal crashes at this same time last year.

Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or