Why does South Carolina have such a high occurrence of pedestrian accidents? Although the state has managed to reduce the overall number of vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents have continued to rise and South Carolina now ranks third in the nation. The underlying problem is that many of the state’s busiest intersections are completely unsafe for pedestrian crossing.
A recent article in USA Today notes that the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths is affected by the high number of commuters, with 41% of the state’s workforce spending 15 – 30 minutes commuting to work – a far higher percentage than in many other states. During the morning and end-of-work hours, the streets are filled to capacity with rushing commuter traffic.
The state’s dismal rate of pedestrian accidents is further impacted by the fact that a large number of busy intersections are unmarked. These streets lack signs, signals or crosswalks that can alert drivers and provide a higher level of protection to pedestrians who are crossing against moving traffic. This lack of infrastructure forces pedestrians to face congested streets filled with fast-moving vehicles with absolutely no safety measures in place.
It is clear that South Carolina now ranks so poorly for pedestrian accidents due to a fundamental lack of investment in the infrastructure necessary to keep pedestrians safe. State, county and city leaders have failed to take effective action.
Cities each have a “walk score” which rates the area for its “walkability,” and the majority of urban centers in South Carolina each rank extremely low, as most errands in these cities will require the use of a vehicle. This adds to the existing problem of traffic congestion. States that have successfully reduced numbers of pedestrian accidents have worked hard to make streets safer by investing in crucial safety measures such as installing crossing lights, marked crosswalks, and clearly posted signs. South Carolina lags far behind, and innocent people are paying the price.
Pedestrians have rights when crossing at intersections in South Carolina. Vehicles are required to yield by slowing or stopping for pedestrians crossing on their side at intersections, according to the South Carolina DMV. Unfortunately, no written law can truly protect a pedestrian who must cross an unmarked, busy intersection that is filled with fast moving traffic. A driver who is rushing to work or home may be further distracted by cellphone use, adding to the serious nature of this problem.
According to a review of fatality rates provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 10 worst states for pedestrian safety are:
1. Delaware 2.94 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 114 deaths 2. New Mexico 2.92 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 365 deaths 3. South Carolina 2.60 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 863 deaths 4. Louisiana 2.56 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 722 deaths 5. Florida 2.46 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 2,424 deaths 6. North Carolina 2.02 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 1,292 deaths 7. Nevada 1.96 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 258 deaths 8. Hawaii 1.87 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 126 deaths 9. Arizona 1.86 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 825 deaths 10. Texas 1.83 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people – 478 deaths
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or died from injuries sustained in a car accident with a pedestrian, contact our legal team for immediate assistance. At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP we believe that justice must be served. We will pursue full compensation for all damages and can file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver or a municipality, county or state for unsafe roads if appropriate.