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South Carolina can't brag about its number 1 status

Aside from being the number one destination for many vacationers, South Carolina doesn't win very many high rankings. That may be why the latest report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may not be welcome news to many across the state. It seems that South Carolina has won a distinction it really doesn't want.

If you drive through the state with any frequency, you understand the dangers. Undoubtedly, you have experienced your share of near misses and perhaps even accidents. You may now be grieving the loss of a loved one who died in a traffic accident. Sadly, you are not alone. In fact, based on the NHTSA report, South Carolina ranks number one in traffic fatalities.

The numbers are not pretty

Over 740 people have died on South Carolina roads since the beginning of the year. You understand well how that translates into suffering and how it affects many lives because of these losses. Nationwide, deaths by motor vehicle accidents rose 5.6 percent in the last year, bringing the total to its highest in 10 years: 37,461. While it's easy to look at this as just a big number, you can't attest to the fact that each one of those lives was important to someone.

In addition to the state's notoriety for traffic fatalities, South Carolina also holds the second-highest average in the country for motorcycle deaths and alarmingly high totals for pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities as follows:

  • Motorcycle deaths rose 5.1 percent in the last decade.
  • So far this year, 93 people have died in motorcycle accidents.
  • Pedestrian deaths increased from 125 to 137 in the past year.
  • To date this year, 104 pedestrians have died.
  • Bicyclist deaths increased from 16 to 25 in the past year.
  • Fourteen bicyclists died so far this year.

Despite the fact that these numbers are slightly lower than those from this time last year, no one in South Carolina's Department of Public Safety feels the totals are good news. In fact, the fear is that the trend will continue upward as gas prices fall and more people hit the roads.

While it may be of little comfort to you to belong to a group of so many who have lost loved ones in traffic accidents, it may help to know that you aren't alone. In fact, you may find support among others in similar circumstances. Additionally, you have the right to seek advocacy and counsel from a legal professional if you choose to explore the possibility of taking civil action against those responsible for the death of your loved one.

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