Two more weekend traffic deaths keep Richland County at top of statewide fatalities list

jmonk@thestate.comApril 29, 2013 

Richland County still tops the state in traffic deaths so far this year, with two more deaths in separate accidents in Lower Richland this weekend.

Since Jan. 1, 21 people have died in Richland County, compared with 16 in Greenville, the next-highest county, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety.

Richland’s skyrocketing death toll of 21 so far this year also exceeds year-to-date totals for three previous years.

In 2012, 18 people had died so far in Richland by this time; in 2011, 16; and in 2010, 10.

In Lexington County, nine people have died on its roads since Jan. 1.

Other area counties’ tolls include Kershaw, 5; Newberry, 1; Orangeburg, 9; and Sumter, 5.

Overall, road fatalities are sharply down across South Carolina.

Statewide, 198 people have died on state roads since Jan. 1, compared with 258 at the same time last year. The 198 figure includes 28 pedestrians, 24 motorcyclists and three bicyclists.

Nonuse of seat belts is a key factor in fatal incidents. Of 142 motorists deaths in which seat belts could have been used, 90 weren’t wearing them.

Only about 10 percent of South Carolinians don’t’ buckle up these days, thanks to a mandatory seat belt law.

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