Two people died on state highways during the 102-hour Thanksgiving long weekend, according to S.C. Department of Public Safety director Mark Keel.
That’s the lowest Thanksgiving road death toll in 47 years, a time span covered by S.C. Highway Patrol available records, Keel said.
Those records go back to 1963, when three people died in traffic incidents over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
Last year — a more typical year in terms of fatalities — nine people died in Thanksgiving traffic accidents statewide.
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“One death is too many, but obviously just to have two this year, and not nine like we did last year, is remarkable,” said Keel.
Keel attributed the decrease to a combination of factors. They include the patrol’s targeting seat belt violators and DUI drivers in recent years, as well as saturation trooper patrols that include participation by local law enforcement.
He said traffic volumes were substantial, so this year’s decrease in fatalities was not related to a decrease in vehicles on the road.
Of this year’s two Thanksgiving fatalities, one was near Loris, the other in Sumter.