South Carolina ranked as the third fastest-growing state for population in 2022, with a 1.7% population increase over just two years. The population of Palmetto State has risen to over 5.28 million permanent residents with Berkeley County, in particular, driving much of this growth. Berkeley County, which encompasses Moncks Corner, Goose Creek, and Daniel Island, increased by 50,000 people from 2010 to 2020, and notched an additional 5,000 new residents each year between 2020 and 2022. Unfortunately, while the population continues to expand, the state’s infrastructure hasn’t kept up. Roads have become more congested, resulting in a concerning increase in injury-causing and fatal crashes.
Researchers hope that exploring the impact of this population boom on the rising number of accidents will help civil engineers develop more effective measures and create a safer driving environment for everyone on our state’s roadways..
Rise in Injury and Fatal Crashes in Berkeley County and South Carolina
South Carolina is facing a stark increase in crashes causing serious and sometimes fatal injuries in recent years. Recent statistics show the seriousness of this issue in the Palmetto State.
As of July 2023, there have been a total of 31 fatalities from traffic incidents in Berkeley County. During the same period last year, there were 22 fatalities. That is a staggering 41% increase year-over-year. Of the traffic deaths this year, 8 were pedestrians, 4 were motorcyclists, and 19 were passengers or drivers in cars, SUVs, vans, or trucks. The largest increase in deaths was for pedestrians, with a 700% increase compared to the 1 pedestrian death in 2022. Motorcyclists also had a significant increase in deaths, with a 200% increase from 2 deaths last year during this same time frame.
Looking at statistics for the entire state, 2021 saw a sharp rise in traffic fatalities, climbing from 964 fatal crashes resulting in 1,066 deaths in 2020 to 1,112 fatal crashes resulting in 1,198 deaths. That represents a nearly 12.4% increase in traffic deaths and a 15.4% increase in fatal crashes, overall.
Similarly, traffic collision injuries also saw an alarming uptick, rising from 47,985 injured victims in 2020 to 53,596 in 2021. Serious injury collisions experienced an 8.9% increase, rising from 2,196 crashes in 2020 to 2,392 in 2021.
There was a 10.8% increase in fatality accidents involving automobiles between 2020 and 2021 and 18.4% increase in deadly collisions involving SUVs (as opposed to other modes of transport such as bicycles or buses).
Sadly, most of these injuries and fatalies are completely avoidable. That’s because the primary causes behind the increase of accidents include speeding and intoxicated driving. Driving too fast for the conditions accounted for 265 fatal collisions, resulting in the loss of 284 lives. Additionally, 233 fatal crashes were attributed to drivers who were under the influence at their time of their crashes, claiming the lives of 267 individuals.
How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Protecting yourself and your loved ones on the road starts with adopting safe driving practices. By following these essential steps, you can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure the well-being of everyone in your vehicle:
Emphasize the Importance of Defensive Driving
Practice defensive driving techniques to anticipate and react to potential hazards on the road. Stay alert, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and be prepared for unexpected situations. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
Wear Seat Belts and Ensure Proper Child Restraint Systems
Seat belts are one of the most effective safety measures in vehicles. Ensure everyone in the car, including drivers and passengers, wears their seat belt properly. In South Carolina, 49.9% of those who died in vehicle collisions in 2021 were not wearing seatbelts.
Use appropriate child restraint systems, such as car seats, based on age, height, and weight for children. Buckling up is a simple yet critical step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from severe injuries in case of a collision.
Maintain a Safe Speed and Practice Courteous Driving Behaviors
Adhering to speed limits is crucial for your safety and others on the road. Adjust your speed according to road conditions and always stay within the legal limits.
Additionally, practice courteous driving behaviors such as using turn signals, yielding the right of way when necessary, and respecting other drivers and pedestrians. Being considerate and patient can help prevent accidents caused by aggressive or reckless driving.
How Working with an Attorney Can Help You Receive Compensation After a Crash
While practicing defensive driving can go a long way in helping you stay safe on the road, it can’t elmimate all risk of getting into an accident. When you’ve been involved in a crash, seeking the assistance of a skilled attorney is vital to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our team of experienced car crash attorneys at Joye Law Firm is dedicated to protecting your rights and advocating for your best interests. We have offices in North Charleston and Summerville to conveniently serve Berkeley County residents. We will carefully analyze the details of your case, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Our knowledgeable attorneys understand the complexities of personal injury law and will guide you through the legal process step by step. Whether negotiating a fair settlement or representing you in court, we are committed to helping you obtain the compensation you need to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Seek Legal Assistance for Your Accident Claim with Joye Law Firm
While compensation cannot undo the pain and suffering caused by a crash, it can provide some relief and help you rebuild your life. Our skilled vehicle accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm will provide the guidance and support you need throughout the legal process.
Contact us today for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to discover how we can assist you with your accident claim.