Pedestrian traffic collisions are on the rise in South Carolina, including in Greenville. Although numerous factors increase the likelihood of pedestrian accidents and fatalities, there are also practical ways to reduce the frequency of these incidents. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, or a loved one has been hurt or killed, talk with Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC to explore your legal options.
How Many Pedestrian Collisions Are There in South Carolina?
Data from the Department of Public Safety’s 2021 traffic collision fact book indicates just how often pedestrians are hit by a car in South Carolina. Unfortunately, our state ranks among the nation’s worst in terms of pedestrian death and injury rates. From 2017 to 2021, the total number of pedestrian collisions increased (1,117 to 1,144). While the number of injury collisions decreased slightly over the same period (935 to 911), the number of fatal collisions rose (158 to 191) and so did the number of pedestrians killed (160 to 194).
Darkness is often cited as a contributing factor in the numbers of pedestrian collisions, injuries, and deaths. For instance, in 2021, dark conditions contributed substantially to these categories:
- Fatal collisions (152)
- Injury collisions (446)
- Total collisions (622)
- Persons killed (154)
- Persons seriously injured (136)
The last three months of 2021 (October through December), in which the amount of sunlight generally decreases, saw elevated pedestrian injury and fatality statistics. Also in 2021, the worst time of day was almost always evening (6:00-9:00 pm).
Another factor frequently cited in pedestrian accidents is whether the victim was using or wearing safety equipment or clothing. 83.8% of all pedestrian collisions in 2021 involved no use of items such as helmets, protective pads, and reflective clothing. Where these and other safety items were used, the numbers were relatively low. Pedestrians contributed in some way to most of these accidents (65.3%) in 2021, which suggests that more should be done to direct public safety messages at this group.
What Does the Data Say About Greenville Pedestrian Accidents?
Greenville is not immune to the increase in pedestrian traffic collisions. In 2021, there were a total of 118 such accidents. Of these, 33 were with possible injury; 37 involved a suspected minor injury; 24 caused a suspected serious injury; and 19 resulted in fatal injuries. Another 5 pedestrian-involved collisions were reported with no apparent injuries.
2023 data is comparable to the official 2021 fact book. As of mid-February of this year, there were five reported pedestrian fatalities, according to the Greenville County Coroner. Most injuries were reported along Pleasantburg, I-385, the Wade Hampton area, and the White Horse Road area. The coroner’s office reports that in 2022, Greenville County had 26 total pedestrian traffic deaths.
Why Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
The above data alludes to some of the underlying causes of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, including:
- Darkness: Time of day affects pedestrian accident statistics. A 2019 study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur after dark.
- Alcohol: About one-third of pedestrians involved in fatal traffic accidents had a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher, according to the 2019 GHSA report. Motorists, comparably, had an estimated 17% alcohol impairment rate.
- Non-intersection crossings: The Greenville data above indicates that law enforcement officials know where pedestrian accidents occur. Most pedestrian deaths are reported at non-intersection crossings.
What Can Be Done to Reduce Pedestrian Accidents in Greenville?
There are several steps that can be taken by pedestrians, drivers, and state and local governments to cut down on the numbers of pedestrian collisions:
For those who regularly walk to work, school, or elsewhere, use sidewalks, walking paths, and designated crosswalks. If these aren’t available, stay on the shoulder of the road and walk facing traffic. Pedestrians should also stay alert and avoid distractions like listening to music and looking at one’s phone. Wearing bright clothes in the day and reflective clothing at night can decrease accidents, too.
Pedestrians should never be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while walking near traffic. Finally, since many accidents involve children, children should be taught the rules of pedestrian traffic safety.
Motorists should always be aware of the possibility that someone will cross the road in front of them, even at non-intersection crosswalks. Stop at all designated crosswalks and check twice for pedestrians. Motorists should always drive slowly in places where pedestrians frequent, such as parking lots. Be sure to use caution especially in school zones, where children can jump into traffic without warning. And, of course, drivers should never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
State and local government
Efforts are underway by the Highway Patrol and other agencies to raise awareness about pedestrian safety. These include public presentations, media interviews, and billboard campaigns. More pedestrian crosswalks, walking paths, and sidewalks can also cut down on these statistics. Finally, improved lighting — especially in places here in Greenville where accidents are known to occur — can help change these numbers.
Our Law Firm is Here to Help Pedestrian Accident Victims
A pedestrian hit by a car in Greenville, SC has the right to seek damages from the responsible driver and his or her insurance company. If you or a loved one were a victim, reach out to Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC. We help pedestrian accident victims and their families win the compensation they need to get their lives back on track. Give us a call today or use our online form to learn more.