A 2019 study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) lists South Carolina as the sixth deadliest state for pedestrians killed in traffic accidents. The results are based on initial data from the first six months of 2018. The study reports for every 100,000 people in South Carolina, there are 1.46 pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents. New Mexico is the worst, with 2.26 fatalities per 100,000 people. New Hampshire is safest, with .07 fatalities per 100,000 people.
The study makes some sobering projections. Based on the initial numbers, it expects 6,227 pedestrian fatalities in 2018, a 4% increase from 2017. That’s the largest since 1990 and continues a trend since 2009 of increasing pedestrian deaths every year. Overall, the study declares, “pedestrian fatalities in the United States have risen at an alarming and unprecedented rate.” It notes that in the 10 years between 2008-2017, pedestrian fatalities increased by a staggering 35%, while all other car accident deaths combined decreased by 6%. Pedestrians now account for the largest proportion of traffic deaths in over 30 years.
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Key Factors Behind the Numbers
The study lists major contributing factors in pedestrian fatalities:
- Darkness. About 75% of these deaths occur after dark.
- Alcohol. Almost 1/3 of pedestrians involved in fatal crashes had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. For drivers, an estimated 17% were impaired by alcohol.
- Crossing at non-intersections. The majority of fatalities occur at these locations.
What Can We Do?
First, there are things that we can do in exercising our personal responsibility to keep ourselves safe. I've written before on tips to prevent pedestrian-car accidents. Because children are especially vulnerable to these crashes, teach your children how to keep themselves safe.
And, according to the study, our state is at work, too. The Highway Patrol participated in a Target Zero campaign to educate the public on pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Community relations officers gave nearly 700 safety presentations, attended hundreds of safety fairs, and gave thousands of interviews on various topics, including pedestrian safety. Government funds were used for a billboard campaign to further educate drivers.
What if the Crash Already Occurred?
Believe it or not, insurance companies are quick to blame victims for these crashes. Because your case might be hotly contested and you need to protect your right to insurance coverage—including coverage you might not even know you have, it’s best to consult an experienced auto accident attorney to protect your rights and give you peace of mind.
Contact a South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Attorney