car accident statistics

Thousands of South Carolina residents and visitors are involved in car accidents every year. While most collisions are relatively minor, crashes causing serious injuries and fatalities remain an all-too-common occurrence. Along with vehicle damage, collisions often result in serious physical injuries and significant financial losses for crash victims. The losses may include the costs of medical care, lost wages from missed work, and in some cases, reduced future earning potential due to life-altering disabilities. You should not have to bear the burden of those costs and losses if someone else caused the crash.

For more than 50 years, our South Carolina car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm have been helping people with serious injuries pursue personal injury claims to help rebuild their lives. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys represent South Carolinians who are struggling to overcome serious injuries and financial hardship caused by others’ carelessness or disregard for safety. We understand how disruptive serious injuries can be. Our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of people who seek our help.

To better understand the toll that car accidents have on South Carolinians, we’ve pulled together some statistics. Contact us online or call 888-324-3100 to talk to an experienced attorney and learn about your legal options to move forward after a serious injury caused by the negligence of others.

Major Causes of Car Accidents in South Carolina

According to recent state crash data from the S.C. Department of Public Safety, some of the major driver-related factors that cause car accidents are:

  • Disregarding traffic signs or signals — 6,484 total crashes, 32 deaths, 195 serious injuries, and 4,436 other injuries
  • Distracted driving — 8,994 total crashes, 7 deaths, 107 serious injuries, and 2,941 other injuries
  • Driving too quickly for conditions — 39,298 total crashes, 217 deaths, 762 serious injuries, and 15,030 other injuries
  • Exceeding posted speed limits — 272 total crashes, 23 deaths, 36 serious injuries, and 159 other injuries
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way — 28,636 total crashes, 100 deaths, 554 serious injuries, and 14,927 other injuries
  • Running off the road — 1,716 total crashes, 42 deaths, 75 serious injuries, and 667 other injuries
  • Driving while fatigued or falling asleep — 456 total crashes, 4 deaths, 14 serious injuries, 255 other injuries
  • Following too closely — 11,158 total crashes, 1 death, 30 serious injuries, and 3,464 other injuries
  • Making improper turns — 3,099 total crashes, 2 deaths, 16 serious injuries, and 658 other injuries
  • Medical emergencies — 880 total crashes, 7 deaths, 94 serious injuries, and 735 other injuries
  • Aggressive driving — 1,285 total crashes, 28 deaths, 83 serious injuries, and 580 other injuries
  • Over-correcting or over-steering — 362 total crashes, 1 death, 15 serious injuries, and 124 other injuries
  • Swerving to avoid an object — 377 total crashes, 1 death, 12 serious injuries, and 160 other injuries
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road — 2,150 total crashes, 95 deaths, 225 serious injuries, and 1,349 other injuries
  • Obscured vision — 192 total crashes, 0 deaths, 0 serious injuries, and 45 other injuries
  •  Businesswoman-multitasking-while-driving-drinking-coffee-and-talking-on-the phoneImproper lane changes or lane usage — 11,879 total crashes, 22 deaths, 101 serious injuries, and 2,158 other injuries
  • Talking on a cellphone — 57 total crashes, 0 deaths, 0 serious injuries, and 21 other injuries
  • Texting while driving — 76 total crashes, 1 death, 3 serious injuries, and 28 other injuries
  • Other improper driver actions — 7,141 total crashes, 12 deaths, 56 serious injuries, and 1,343 other injuries
  • Unknown driver errors — 3,595 total crashes, 36 deaths, 49 serious injuries, and 906 other injuries

How Many Car Accidents Occur in South Carolina?

There were 141,096 total accidents in South Carolina in 2019, the most recent year available, which was a slight decrease from 2018. For 2019, traffic accidents killed a total of 1,006 people statewide and resulted in 58,410 non-fatal injuries. There were also 101,637 crashes that only resulted in property damage.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that South Carolina had the highest fatality rate per mile driven of any state in the nation, at 1.73 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

Who Gets Involved in South Carolina Auto Accidents?

South Carolina has approximately 3.9 million registered drivers.. Of the total, 52 percent of the drivers are female and 48 percent are male.

However, a higher number of male drivers were involved in collisions than female drivers.

Of the 265,648 total drivers involved in accidents in 2019, 135,616 were male and 115,140 were female. That means that about 51 percent of drivers involved in accidents in 2019 were male, while roughly 43 percent were female. The other 6 percent were unidentified.

There also are significant differences in the frequency of accident involvement when comparing drivers in different age groups. Drivers ages 20 to 24 are the group most frequently involved in accidents, with 31,898 collisions in 2019. The age group with the smallest number of drivers involved in crashes was drivers 85 and older, with 1,699.

Where and When Do Crashes Occur in South Carolina?

State traffic crash data indicates that the three most common months for fatal crashes in 2019 were May (94 accidents), July (90 accidents), and September (89 accidents). Crash data show that 519 fatal crashes occurred on Mondays through Thursdays, while 487 fatal crashes occurred on Fridays through Sundays. That suggests that weekends are slightly more dangerous than weekdays, as a similar number of accidents happened in a shorter amount of time.

Regarding the time of day, the most common window for crashes overall was from 3:01 p.m. to 6 p.m. For fatal accidents, the most common window was from 6:01 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Of the 141,096 crashes recorded in 2019, the largest number of accidents occurred on South Carolina secondary routes, federally managed primary routes, and state-run primary routes.

Greenville County had the highest number of overall crashes (17,111), while Charleston County and Horry County tied for the highest number of fatal accidents at 72 each. Allendale County had the lowest number of overall accidents (113), while Bamberg County had the lowest number of fatal accidents (0).

What Are the Chances of Getting in a Car Accident?

There were 3.9 million licensed drivers in South Carolina as of 2019, and 218,605 drivers were involved in accidents in the state that same year. With the caveat that not everyone involved in a collision in South Carolina is licensed in the state, that works out to about 5.6 percent of all South Carolina drivers or roughly one of every 20 drivers being involved in an accident.

According to state records, South Carolina has a traffic fatality rate of 1.74 deaths per 100 million miles traveled — the highest rate in the country. For comparison, the nationwide mileage death rate for 2019 was 1.11 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The state with the second-highest fatality rate, Mississippi, saw 1.56 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

What Percentage of Accidents Are Car Accidents?

Of the 268,227 vehicles involved in all accidents statewide in 2019, 127,872 were automobiles. About 47.7 percent of all vehicles involved in crashes in 2019 were cars. There were 42,140 pickup trucks, 8,154 minivans, and 67,895 SUVs involved in crashes as well. Together, pickups, minivans, and SUVs accounted for 118,189 of all vehicles involved in accidents in 2019, or roughly 44 percent. There were 2,098 motorcycles involved in accidents in 2019 or about 0.7 percent.

How Many Car Deaths Occur in the U.S. Each Year?Mid adult woman driving and looking scared and surprised at the road in front of her.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,096 people died in car crashes in 2019, representing a 2 percent decline from the previous year.

Overall, there were 6,756,000 crashes nationwide in 2019. Of the total, 33,244 crashes involved one or more deaths, and 1,916,000 involved an injury.

It was the third consecutive year in which traffic fatalities have declined nationwide. However, preliminary data for 2020 and 2021 show a stark increase in fatal wrecks.

The largest percentage of people killed in crashes in 2019 were passenger car occupants, followed by pickup truck occupants:

  • 34 percent – passenger car occupants
  • 28 percent —pickup truck occupants
  • 20 percent — pedestrians and bicyclists
  • 14 percent — motorcyclists
  • 4 percent — large trucks and buses

Car Crash Statistics by State

Here are some bullet points illustrating how South Carolina’s car accident statistics compare to some neighboring states:

  • South Carolina —

    • Total accidents: 141,096
    • Total deaths: 1,006
    • Total injuries: 58,410
  • North Carolina

    • Total accidents: 285,074
    • Total deaths: 1,470
    • Total injuries: 125,232
  • Georgia (2018 data) —

    • Total accidents: Unknown
    • Total deaths: 1,505
    • Serious injuries: 25,338

Get Help from a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today

As you can tell from the statistics above, serious motor vehicle accidents happen every day in South Carolina. If you or your loved one has been injured because of another driver’s carelessness in South Carolina, you deserve fair compensation for your losses after a car crash. Depending on what happened, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repairs, as well as for the pain and suffering you have experienced.

Our South Carolina accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm have been helping people with car accident claims for more than 50 years. Joye Law Firm has offices in Charleston, Summerville, Columbia, Clinton, and Myrtle Beach. We can evaluate your accident case during a free consultation and discuss your legal options. Get a no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers by calling our office or visiting our contact page.