South Carolina Auto Accidents and Wrongful Deaths 

The stark reality of fatal car crashes in South Carolina reveals a troubling landscape. From Anderson to Summerville, South Carolina leads the country in fatalities per vehicle mile traveled. Key facts, figures, and statistics can provide insight into these unfortunate incidents. If you’re grappling with the aftermath of a fatal auto collision, seek advice from the wrongful death attorneys at Pracht Injury Lawyers to gain the support you need. South Carolina state outline in blue

Shocking South Carolina Fatal Car Crash Facts 

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety closely monitors statistics relating to vehicle accidents. In particular, its Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs published its Traffic Collision Fact Book with the latest data from 2021. The 194-page report reveals key insights into the nature of car accidents and fatal crashes in South Carolina. 

Car Accidents by the Minute and Hour

Sadly, auto accidents aren’t a rare occurrence in South Carolina. There are frequent incidents every few minutes, on average. In 2021, there was:

  • One traffic collision every 3.6 minutes (147,724)
  • One property damage collision every 4.8 minutes (110,152)
  • One injury collision every 14.4 minutes (36,460)
  • One fatal collision every 7.9 hours (1,112)

Traffic Accident Fatalities in South Carolina

Stats on fatalities resulting from South Carolina traffic accidents certainly give pause. It’s important to note, though, that not all fatalities may be wrongful deaths. The experienced team at Pracht Injury Lawyers can clarify any questions you may have. 

  • There were 1,112 fatal collisions in South Carolina in 2021.
  • One person was killed in a traffic accident every 7.3 hours. 
  • One person was killed in a DUI .08+ collision every 21.9 hours.
  • One motorcyclist was killed every 2.3 days.
  • One bicyclist was killed every 15.9 days.
  • One pedestrian was killed every 1.9 days.
  • 58.5 percent of fatal collisions occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., but this period only represents 31.5 percent of total collisions.
  • Greenville County accounted for the most fatal collisions and the most total collisions.
  • Males made up 68.8 percent of drivers in fatal collisions while representing 47.6 percent of all drivers.

Not using safety measures accounts for a significant number of fatalities. Of the people who had access to seat belts, 49.9 percent of fatality victims weren’t wearing them. Similarly, 53.4 percent of motorcycle fatality victims weren’t wearing a helmet. In all, one unrestrained motor vehicle occupant was killed every 22.3 hours.

Out-of-State Drivers in SC Auto Accidentssouth carolina crashes

With popular destinations like Myrtle Beach and Charleston, the Palmetto States attracts a fair share of visitors—and they may not be familiar with local roads and highways. The SC Department of Public Safety reports that out-of-state drivers make up 13.9 percent of drivers in traffic collisions. More than half (51.9 percent) are from North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. 

Vehicles in Collisions Resulting in Deaths

Unsurprisingly, the most common vehicles on South Carolina highways are the ones heavily involved in collisions resulting in fatalities. Here’s the breakout of recorded fatal crashes:

  • Automobile: 645 collisions
  • SUV: 361 collisions
  • Pickup truck: 295 collisions
  • Pedestrian: 194 collisions
  • Motorcycle: 166 collisions
  • Truck tractor/semi: 99 collisions

In 2021, no fatal accidents involved a train or a school bus crash. But, five passenger buses were involved in fatal collisions. 

Primary Contributing Factors

The most common variable in fatal collisions is the driver. This is according to the Uniform Traffic Collisions Report Form (TR-310) completed by the investigating officer. Be sure to get a copy of this police report after a South Carolina car crash. In fatal collisions, the primary contributing factor was:

  • Driver: 82.73 percent
  • Non-motorist: 15.20 percent
  • Vehicle defect: 1.17 percent
  • Environmental: 0.63 percent
  • Roadway: 0.27 percent

As you can see, road and environmental conditions are rarely the primary causes of a crash in South Carolina. Of all the fatal collisions, 84.7 percent were on a dry road surface, 83.6 percent were in clear weather, and 70.6 percent were on a straight and level road.

Of the fatal accidents where the driver was primarily to blame, the actions that led to the crash were:

  • Driving too fast for conditions: 265 accidents
  • Driving under the influence: 233 accidents
  • Failing to yield the right of way: 124 accidents
  • Wrong side or wrong way: 65 accidents
  • Disregarded signs or signals: 40 accidents
  • Aggressive operation of the vehicle: 36 accidents

Troubling Rising Trend in Vehicle Collisions

One of the most alarming revelations from the report is an overall rising trend in collisions, including fatal car crashes, across the state. When compared to 2020, the stats for 2021 include:

  • Total collisions increased 21.8 percent 
  • Traffic fatalities increased 12.4 percent
  • Pedestrian deaths increased 3.7 percent
  • Cyclist deaths increased 43.8 percent
  • Motorcycle fatalities increased 45.5 percent
  • Mileage death rate (MDR) increased 5.1 percent

Fatal Crashes in South Carolina vs. Other States

Putting these figures into perspective is equally troubling. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) published a state-by-state comparison of fatality facts. This includes looking at accidents per capita and per million vehicle miles traveled. 

There were 39,508 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2021 in which 42,939 deaths occurred. This resulted in 12.9 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.37 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 5.7 in Rhode Island to 26.2 in Mississippi. The death rate per 100 million miles traveled ranged from 0.71 in Massachusetts to 2.08 in South Carolina.

Top Fatality Rates Per Capita

South Carolina is second only to Mississippi when comparing the number of deaths from vehicle collisions per 100,000 people. With a national average of 12.9, six states have a fatality rate of over 20:

  • Mississippi: 26.2
  • South Carolina: 23.1
  • Arkansas: 22.9
  • New Mexico: 22.7
  • Montana: 21.6
  • Louisiana: 21.0

South Carolina Has the Highest MDR in the Country

The MDR looks at the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. South Carolina tops the list as the only state above 2.0—it’s more than 50 percent over the national average of 1.37. Here’s how some other states compare: 

  • South Carolina: 2.08 
  • Arkansas: 1.80
  • Florida: 1.72
  • Louisiana: 1.78
  • Mississippi: 1.89
  • Montana: 1.77
  • New Mexico: 1.79
  • Oklahoma: 1.70

The vehicle types involved in South Carolina fatal accidents are in line with national averages. But, DUI fatalities represent a larger percentage in South Carolina compared to the rest of the country. In South Carolina, 38 percent of fatal crashes involve a blood alcohol content reading over 0.08, compared to 30 percent nationwide. 

Seek Skilled Legal Counsel Right Away

It’s crucial to get the help of a reputable South Carolina car crash lawyer after an accident. Even if it may seem like a simple case, proving fault can be deceptively complex. Especially in collisions resulting in injury or death, it’s vital to protect your legal rights. The experienced legal professionals at Pracht Injury Lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for victims. Call us today to learn how we can help you and your family.
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