Being lifetime residents of South Carolina, your Charleston personal injury attorneys at Howell and Christmas are not surprised when their home state comes in near the top of national rankings for things a state should not be proud. As it turns out, according to the latest federal statistics, South Carolina ranks third in the nation for the number of people killed per 100 miles driven. To be fair, our fine state has seen decreases in road fatalities over the last three years. However, it is looking like 2011 will show an increase in deaths, due in large part to the rise in pedestrian accidents and fatalities, which have shown a 37 percent increase since last year at this time.Last year after seeing a spike in pedestrian deaths, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety announced a $75,000 educational and public service initiative was in the works to try and curb the number of pedestrian accidents. Troopers have or will be handing out reflective strap bands for walkers to wear at night, making them easier to see on poorly lit rural roadways where most of the fatalities occur. As compared to last year’s numbers, there are three counties that have seen an increase in pedestrian deaths, Lexington, Horry, and Greenville. Interestingly, as religious followers of local and state news your experienced lawyers at Howell and Christmas remember seeing quite a few pedestrian accidents around the town, especially in North Charleston, but there was no mention of Charleston County’s past or current numbers regarding fatal pedestrian accidents. Considering the article containing this statistical information comes from The State in Columbia, it could be they have little concern for Lowcountry pedestrians, or Charleston County pedestrians are less likely to be killed in pedestrian accidents, therefore not accounted for in this particular statistic.Despite the sharp rise in pedestrian fatalities, deaths attributed to motor vehicles, which includes auto and tractor trailer accidents, as well as deaths due to bicycle accidents, are down slightly from this same time a year ago.Much like the attorneys at Howell and Christmas are never surprised to see South Carolina near the top of the bad national rankings and around the bottom of the good ones, the Vice President for AAA of the Carolinas is not surprised when road fatalities rise in South Carolina. He says, “the state has a certain appetite for traffic lawlessness under the false guise of personal liberty.” The VP doesn’t point the finger at our state’s residents, rather he feels lawmakers are doing the state an injustice by simply refusing to pass reforms such as restrictions on cell phone use and, in general, ours do far less than other states’ legislators when it comes to laying the legal hammer on dangerous driving.
But, the interim director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety points the fact during this time of year, known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” (between Memorial and Labor Day), there is always a rise in state road fatalities. The interim director notes that the days are longer, more people are traveling, and as a consequence, more people die. Regardless if one feels state lawmakers aren’t doing enough, or that more drivers on state roadways translates to more accidents and deaths, South Carolina State Troopers and other state law enforcement agencies continue to write a large number of tickets for driving under the influence (DUI) and failng to comply with the state’s seat belt laws. And there is no denying that a large majority of road deaths occur when driver’s are under the influence or neglecting to buckle their seat belt.
For informational purposes, the law office of Howell and Christmas is located at 250 Mathis Ferry Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 and can be reached by phone at (844) 326-4680 or toll free, 24 hours a day at (877) 849-4455.