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Sumter traffic deaths increase as statewide numbers decrease

Public safety department kicks off safe driving campaign ahead of Labor Day

BY KAYLA ROBINS
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 8/16/19

The historically deadliest time of the year to be on South Carolina roadways is ending soon, and while statewide statistics show a decrease in traffic fatalities this year, Sumter County's case is the opposite.

Preliminary numbers from the South …

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Sumter traffic deaths increase as statewide numbers decrease

Public safety department kicks off safe driving campaign ahead of Labor Day

Posted

The historically deadliest time of the year to be on South Carolina roadways is ending soon, and while statewide statistics show a decrease in traffic fatalities this year, Sumter County's case is the opposite.

Preliminary numbers from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety record about a 19% decrease in deaths on roadways this summer and an 8% decrease this year as a whole compared to 2018. So far in 2019, 188 people have died traveling South Carolina roadways since Memorial Day compared to 232 in 2018. Since January, 583 people - motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists - have died compared to 636 last year at this time, SCDPS records show.

Instead of showing a decrease, Sumter County has had a four-year high with 18 fatalities this year through Aug. 11. In 2018, that number only reached 11, while there were 14 deaths in 2017 and 10 in 2016.

An increase is only the case in Sumter within the tri-country region. Clarendon County has had nine fatalities this year so far compared to 11 each in 2018 and 2016 and 13 in 2017.

There has not been a fatal accident reported to the state department in Lee County this year so far. Last year, there were two, with 2017 having three and 2016 having four.

"Labor Day weekend is the official end of the summer travel season, and law enforcement is ready for increased traffic during this time as people make that last trip to the beach or the mountains," SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said in a news release.

Smith said state troopers and officers will be placing a "strong emphasis" on DUI enforcement now through Labor Day, which is on Sept. 2. The campaign is called "Drink. Drive. Die." and attempts to prevent drinking and driving, driving distracted and other decisions that contribute to the state's "100 Deadly Days of Summer."

The public service announcement features a group of young adults drinking together at a bar. Instead of driving home, they make the decision to call a rideshare service, such as Uber, Lyft or a taxi.

Motorists are urged to call *HP or *47 if they see someone they suspect is driving impaired. Signs can include driving erratically, weaving in and out of lanes, driving too fast or too slowly and crossing the center line or briefly drifting off the roadway.