Many in South Carolina see state laws as a burden, as intrusions into our lives and how businesses can be run. One can look at the lack of regulation as a good thing, but in many instances it results in preventable injuries or deaths. It’s easy for business owners and politicians to talk about money being saved because of government inaction, but what are the costs?
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that preventable deaths in the country are at an all-time high. In a recent report ,“The State of Safety,” the organization looks at safety issues and grades each state on its actions and lack of action on safety issues. Though overall the country is doing poorly, South Carolina is especially bad, receiving a failing grade.
There are an estimated 40.6 million serious, preventable injuries and more than 146,000 fatalities each year, according to the NSC. These preventable injuries cost more than $850 billion each year. While many of us focus on headline-grabbing threats from North Korea or terrorism, the reality is that we’re under much greater threat from vehicle accidents, falls and drug overdoses, which kill hundreds of Americans daily.
About three-quarters of preventable deaths and injuries happen at home. Only Maryland earned an “A” for home safety in the NSC report, a category which includes prescription drug overdoses, fire safety and drownings. Eight states got an “A” for road safety, which involves government actions covering seat belt use enforcement, distracted driving, child passenger safety and teen driving. Only two states got an “A” for workplace safety issues.
The NSC ranked South Carolina fifth from the bottom for its score on overall safety. A total of 11 states got an “F,” including South Carolina. The best overall grade was a “B,” shared by eight states. Maryland is the top rated state, and Missouri is the worst. The NSC breaks each safety category into subcategories, and progress is rated as off-track, developing and on-track.
For road safety, South Carolina rated a “D,” with the following ratings:
- Off-track: child passenger safety, speeding and vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists).
- Developing: alcohol-impaired driving, distracted driving, older drivers, seat belt use and teen drivers.
- On-track: None.
Home and community safety efforts were rated with an “F” (with South Carolina ranked as the worst in the country), as was workplace safety. According to the NSC, the number of 2015 fatalities in the state from vehicle accidents was 985; 1,710 in the home and community; and 100 in the workplace.
While the state legislature and various agencies can be involved in safety issues, the court system is a critical way South Carolina can be made safer. Through legal actions, negligent parties responsible for injuries and deaths can be held accountable. As these parties face the consequences of their actions, the cost of negligence increases, encouraging safer actions and practices.
The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in personal injury suits since 1959. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident, it’s important to make sure that you understand your legal rights. South Carolina law can be complex, and there is a deadline for filing a claim. As the initial consultation is always free, reach out to us today by calling us at 1-803-454-1200 or by filling out our online contact form.