The South Carolina Department of Public safety has released the preliminary statistics for the number of highway fatalities on SC roads during 2012. The department’s preliminary numbers indicate 837 people died on South Carolina roadways in 2012. That’s a 1 percent increase over the 2011 number of 828. Vulnerable roadway users (pedestrians, bicycle, moped and motorcycle operators) and deaths resulting from lack of safety belt use were two of the areas showing the most notable statistical increases based on preliminary findings. However, South Carolina still remains below the national average, which saw a seven percent increase in highway deaths the first nine months of 2012. From 2009-2012, South Carolina had a 6.4 percent decrease in highway fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also released statistics in December showing South Carolina had dropped from being tied for number one in the country for the percentage of traffic-related fatalities that involved an alcohol-impaired driver in 2010 to number seven in 2011 – a decrease from 44 percent to 38 percent in 2011.
The department says the top 5 contributing factors for fatal collisions in 2012 were driving under the influence, driving too fast for conditions, failure to yield right of way, running off the roadway or a pedestrian illegally in the roadway. The number of unbelted drivers or occupants with access to seat belts rose approximately 10 percent over 2011.