Financial Impact of South Carolina Accident Fatalities

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average annual cost of car crash-related deaths in South Carolina is equal to $1.01 billion. These losses include an estimated $8 million in medical costs and an estimated $997 million in lost productivity because those who are killed are no longer able to work.

South Carolina car accident statistics provide a frightening picture of the extent of car accident losses. Unfortunately, though staggeringly high, this $1.01 billion figure takes into account only losses due to car accident deaths.

The actual total amount of financial loss caused by car accidents is far higher when factoring in the costs of treating car accident injuries and the costs of property damage resulting from car accidents. In fact, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety indicates that traffic accidents caused $2.87 billion dollars in estimated loss in 2012 when factoring in property damage, medical costs and lost wages. This estimate does not include intangible costs such as grief and pain and suffering. Importantly, this figure increased by nearly 6% in just one year.

Although South Carolina law puts the burden on those responsible for causing car accidents to pay for the costs of losses, the amount of money that is spent each year coping with the aftermath of auto accidents still represents a major financial loss.

South Carolina Traffic Fatalities

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) keeps an up-to-date tally on the number of people who are killed in South Carolina auto accidents. According to its information:

  • 863 people were killed in SC traffic accidents in 2012.
  • The fatality rate was up 4.2% in 2012, compared to the previous year.
  • Fatalities in collisions with a tractor trailer truck increased 25.5% between 2008 and 2012.
  • 18.6% of occupants not wearing a seat belt at the time of collision were severely injured or killed.

The SCDPS 2012 Traffic Collision Fact Book reveals that:

  • One fatal collision occurs in South Carolina every 10.9 hours.
  • One person is killed in a South Carolina traffic crash every 10.2 hours.
  • One bicyclist is killed in a traffic crash every 26.1 days.
  • One motorcycle rider is killed in a traffic crash every 3.4 days in South Carolina.
  • One pedestrian is killed every 2.9 days in a South Carolina auto accident.

Other South Carolina Car Accidents

While fatal crashes are an all-too-common occurrence in South Carolina, not every crash leads to a death. Wrecks that do not cause fatalities can still have life-changing consequences and can cause significant injuries and financial losses. Understanding these types of car accidents is, therefore, also important in having a full picture of auto accident losses in South Carolina.

According to the SCDPS Traffic Collision Fact Book:

  • 50,064 people were injured in traffic accidents in 2012, an increase of 8.7% over 2011.
  • A traffic crash occurs in South Carolina every 4.9 minutes.
  • A crash causing injury occurs every 16.3 minutes.
  • One person is injured in a South Carolina traffic crash every 10.5 minutes.

Causes of South Carolina Car Crashes

South Carolina traffic accidents can happen for a number of reasons. According to the SCDP Fact Book:

  • Driver behavior was the primary contributing factor in 100,697 traffic collisions in 2012.
  • Driver error caused 85.1% of all fatal collisions.
  • Roadways factors (debris, potholes, soft shoulders, work zones, etc.) contributed to 852 collisions and caused 2 deaths during the year.
  • Vehicle problems were a contributing factor in 10 fatal crashes and 1,746 non-fatal crashes.
  • DUI is one of the most common causes of fatal traffic crashes. One person is killed every 24.5 hours in a crash involving a driver whose BAC is 0.08 or higher.
  • Disregard for road signs or signals was the main cause of 26 fatal crashes and 1,904 injury-causing crashes.
  • Driver distraction was the primary contributing factor in 10 fatal crashes and 2,229 injury-causing crashes.
  • Driving too fast for road conditions caused 155 deaths and 13,241 injuries; only drunk drivers caused more deaths in 2012.
  • Failing to yield the right of way caused 7,017 injury crashes and 91 fatal crashes.
  • Tailgating or following too closely caused 2,985 injuries.

Other causes of crashes included improper turns; medical problems on the part of the driver; operating the vehicle too aggressively; over-steering; swerving to avoid objects; driving the wrong way; driving with obscured vision; improper lane changes; cell phone use or texting; and or other wrongful acts.

In many cases, these actions were taken by drivers who could have chosen a different way to behave. If drivers simply obeyed the rules of the road, didn’t speed, didn’t drive while they were tired and otherwise were reasonably careful, countless deaths and injuries could be avoided.

Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers

The Louthian Law Firm can help if you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a traffic accident in South Carolina. Contact the Louthian Law Firm in Columbia today toll free at (803) 454-1200 for a free evaluation of your case. You can also fill out our online contact form.