With the goal being zero deaths on the highways, the approximately 1,000 people killed in 2017 in South Carolina is a horrifying toll.

The preliminary numbers from S.C. Department of Public Safety reveals 982 people were killed, a drop of more than 3% from the 1,020 who died in 2016.

Grievously, as was the situation in 2016, the preliminary number is likely to grow. SCDPS describes the 2017 total as “preliminary” because studies of collisions are ongoing, plus some people in collisions could die from damages they sustained.

The total remains a lethal trend on South Carolina roads of more than 2 people a day being killed. There were 979 deaths in 2015, when the toll jumped considerably from 823 in 2014.

2017 was bad again in Orangeburg County, where 30 people were killed in car collisions, the exact number as in 2016. The county is the state’s 2nd biggest in land mass and has extended miles of interstate highways and rural roadways. Its yearly death rate is amongst the highest per-capita among S.C. counties.

Calhoun County’s death toll was 5, declining from 10 in 2016. Bamberg County had 4 people on their death toll, 3 fewer than in 2016.

Amongst neighboring counties, Dorchester had 16 traffic deaths, Berkeley had 33 deaths and Lexington had 47 deaths.

The Upstate of South Carolina had a deadly year with Greenville County repeatedly reporting the highest number of deaths at 73. Anderson had 44 deaths and Spartanburg had 51 deaths. Horry had 63 fatalities, Richland had 51 deaths and Charleston County had 69 deaths.

While the knowledge of any highway death cannot be called positive news, 2018 has started in a less dangerous way than 2017 did. The SCDPS states that as of Feb. 4th, 2018, 69 men/women had died on South Carolina roadways, opposed to 97 highway deaths during the same time last year.

Out of 56  killed in 2018, 34 were not wearing their seatbelts. 7 pedestrians have died opposed to 12 in last year; 2 motorcyclists have died opposed to 6, and 2 bicyclists have died opposed to 3.

We must do better. No one wants to be a victim or lose a friend or family member in a road collision. South Carolina’s goal of zero traffic deaths, there must be an individual responsibility to safety.

Here are 5 things to avoid while driving to prevent traffic deaths:

• Buzzed driving
• Distracted driving 
• High Speeds
• Parking Lot/Road Way Rage
• Operating In Unsafe Conditions