Police and other safety officials worry the trend will grow worse as the sluggish economy and steadily rising gas prices force more people to walk and inadequate transit systems fail to take people where they need to go.
In an analysis done by The State Newspaper, using data provided by the state Highway Safety office, data collected from 2008-2010 found the following:
-428 collisions injured or killed 456 pedestrians
-25 pedestrians died in those collisions: 15 in Richland County and 10 in Lexington County
-58% of the time pedestrians contributed to the collisions
-the most dangerous time was 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
-the safest time was 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Four South Carolina counties have more than one pedestrian death this year; Greenville, Horry, York, and Berkeley each have two deaths according to the Highway Safety office. Statewide, the pace of pedestrian deaths is causing concern with officials stating that if it does not slow, the tally would be at least 100 deaths which would reverse the previous 2 years of improvement.
So, officals begin attacking the problem. Columbia police Chief Randy Scott has turned more of his departments focus onto pedestrian safety; USC transportation director along with campus police chief Chris Wuchenich created a working group to address safety issues. Statewide, highway patrol troopers lauched their own pedestrian safety effort back in January. Just last week, Columbia enacted a ban on texting while driving aiming to keep those who are walking safe from distracted drivers.
The issue remains; pedestrians need to watch where they are going, be aware of whats going on around them, and obey all traffic laws. Motorists also have a responsibility to watch out for pedestrians and keep distractions in the car to a minimum, and obey traffic laws. Being aware and undistracted will help reduce the number of pedestrian deaths in South Carolina.
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