Aftermath of fiery wreck that killed driver captured on dashcam
The South Carolina Highway Patrol held a memorial service Saturday to remember the more than 1,000 people killed in on the roads in 2016.
The memorial service, which has been held annually since 1988, was at Bible Way Church of Atlas Road in Columbia. The event intended to help family members and friends of those killed drew hundreds, as people from across South Carolina, as well as other states, attended the service.
The service in Columbia included a display of all the names of those killed and a video tribute.
As much as it is a chance to look back, the service also is intended to improve the future. In addition to drawing attention to how dangerous South Carolina roads can be, it’s an opportunity to educate the public in an effort to prevent future loss of life.
“For the last 30 years, this ceremony has offered an opportunity for families and friends to come together and remember the lives of those tragically lost on our highways,” South Carolina Department of Public Safety director Leroy Smith said. “SCDPS and its safety partners continue to focus on our mission of Target Zero in hopes that no other family will have to experience the pain of losing a loved one due to a traffic collision.”
Highway deaths have been rising in South Carolina in recent years. Troopers said 823 people died on the state’s roads in 2014 and 979 died in 2015. Officials said the 1,017 deaths in 2016 marked the first time the death toll has topped 1,000 people since 2007.
So far in 2017, 275 people have died in traffic crashes, compared with 283 from the same time period last year, according to SCDPS online preliminary data.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.