Is it only our imagination, or do the local people on the road drive less carefully than those in other areas of the United States? Of course, when you’re stuck in traffic or see a driver do something boneheaded, we are all tempted to think we drive in the worst place in the U.S.
Statistics can give us some perspective. We decided to track down information about driving habits in Columbia and in the entire state of South Carolina. But the news isn’t good.
First, National Information
After falling for a number of years, the number of traffic fatalities is rising across our country, topping 40,000 a year in 2016 and 2017, according to the National Safety Council.
One national figure that has remained somewhat constant in recent years is that 94 percent of vehicular crashes are caused by preventable human factors—in other words, driver error. Almost nine and a half crashes out of ten occur because of driver mistakes like:
- Distraction, such as from cell phones and other electronics, eating and drinking, and talking to passengers
- Drunk and drugged driving
- Reckless behaviors such as speeding, aggressive driving, failing to yield the right of way, and tailgating
- Fatigued driving, such as falling asleep behind the wheel
- Generally not paying attention to the road and other drivers.
On average, drivers will experience a car crash once every 10 years. But in some U.S. locations, your odds are much worse.
How Did Columbia and SC Fare?
Columbia, SC, ranks 166th among 200 U.S. cities in road safety. We are likely to have a car wreck once every 6.9 years, as opposed to the national average of 10 years. We are also about 45 percent more likely than the national average to put in an insurance claim for our wrecks, possibly signaling crash severity. The one good thing you can say about Columbia is that its ranking has improved since 2017, when the city was 176th out of 200.
South Carolina’s record is even more abysmal:
- SC is 5th worst out of 51 for careless driving.
- SC is 11th worst out of 51 for speeding.
- SC is the absolute worst when it comes to deaths per million miles driven.
- SC ranks 46th out of 51 states and D.C., the 6th worst overall.
In all, nearly a thousand people died—982—in our state during 2017. Richland County, SC, saw 51 traffic fatalities. Greenville County had the highest number of deaths of all the counties, at 73.
We Need to Improve
If you think the driving performance you see in South Carolina is terrible, you are right. But we can change things in the future, and changing fatality figures starts with you. You can reduce accidents and deaths by practicing the following behaviors to create safer roads:
- Put down your cell phone.
- Use your seat belt.
- Pay attention to your driving.
- Drive defensively—watch the other guy.
- Never drive under the influence of anything.
- Don’t drive when you are sleepy.
- Make sure your teen driver knows the basic tips of driving safely and soberly.
- Learn about the safety features of your vehicle and how to use them.
- Check whether your vehicle has any open recalls and, if so, get the problem fixed.
Remember, crash causes like mechanical failures and external reasons such as debris in the road account for only six percent of all accidents. Most wrecks are preventable. Do your best to keep from becoming a statistic.
We urge you to drive cautiously and soberly. But if you have been the victim of a motor vehicle collision caused by another driver, we will fight for what is right, working hard to obtain justice for you and your family. The Louthian Law Firm has been serving Columbia and all of South Carolina for over half a century, and this experience is invaluable in successfully obtaining compensation for those who have been harmed by a distracted driver.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed by another driver, South Carolina law entitles you to hold that person legally responsible for your medical expenses and vehicle repair bills, as well as any lost wages and other financial losses. You may also seek compensation for pain and suffering or the loss of comfort, care and companionship of a loved one.
The deadline for filing a claim is already running, so contact the experienced South Carolina car accident lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm today for a free evaluation of your case. You can also fill out our online contact form.