If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, it is easy to feel alone. The insurance companies are looking out for themselves, your doctor is too busy to fit you in, and you are spending hours by yourself each day as you wait for your injuries to heal.

But, auto accidents happen all the time, and there are many people who are experiencing struggles similar to yours in South Carolina right now. In fact, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SC DPS), someone is injured in an auto accident in the state every 8.7 minutes. Help is available as well; and, if you have been seriously injured in an accident, we encourage you to contact us 24/7 for a free consultation about your legal rights.

Facts and Figures: Auto Accident Data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety

Here are more facts and figures about auto accidents in South Carolina, as compiled by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety:

1. Serious and Fatal Accident Rates in South Carolina

Serious and fatal auto accidents occur with alarming frequency. According to SC DPS:

  • There is a traffic collision in South Carolina every 3.7 minutes.
  • There is an injury-involved traffic collision in South Carolina every 13.3 minutes.
  • There is a fatal traffic collision in South Carolina every 9.5 hours.
  • There is a fatal traffic collision involving a drunk driver in South Carolina every 28 hours.
  • There is an injury-involved or fatal traffic collision involving a teen driver in South Carolina every 1.3 hours.
  • A motorcyclist is killed in a traffic accident in South Carolina every 3.1 days.
  • A bicyclist is killed in a traffic accident in South Carolina every 21.5 days.
  • A pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident in South Carolina every 2.3 days.
  • A child under the age of six is seriously injured or killed in a traffic accident in South Carolina every 9.4 days.

2. Traffic Collision Trends (Five-Year Comparison)

From 2013 to 2017 (the most recent five-year period for which data are available from SC DPS), the number of injury-involved traffic accidents in South Carolina increased by 20.1 percent. The number of fatal traffic accidents increased by 28.7 percent. While the number of motorcycles and school bus accidents declined, the number of accidents involving all other types of vehicles increased over this five-year period. These increases also correspond to increases in:

  • Vehicle miles traveled (13.3 percent increase from 2013 to 2017)
  • Roadway miles (16.8 percent increase from 2013 to 2017)
  • Motor vehicle registrations (7.9 percent increase from 2013 to 2017)
  • Licensed drivers (6.2 percent increase from 2013 to 2017)

3. Leading Causes of Non-Fatal and Fatal Accidents

According to SC DPS, driver error is by far the most common factor in non-fatal and fatal accidents in South Carolina. In 2017, driver error accounted for 133,191 injury-involved accidents and 768 fatal collisions. After driver negligence, the leading causes of non-fatal and fatal accidents in 2017 were:

  • Environmental Factors (4,297 non-fatal accidents and four fatal accidents)
  • Vehicle Defects (1,878 non-fatal accidents and nine fatal accidents)
  • Roadway Defects (963 non-fatal accidents and one fatal accident)
  • Non-Motorists (620 non-fatal accidents and 143 fatal accidents)

More-specifically the leading driver-related causes of injury-involved and fatal accidents in South Carolina in 2017 were (in order from most injuries to least):

  • Driving too fast for road, traffic, or weather conditions
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Disregarding traffic signs and signals
  • Following too closely
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Distracted or inattentive driving
  • Improper lane usage and lane changes
  • Other driving errors
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way on a one-way street
  • Medical issues
  • Running off of the road
  • Improper turns
  • Aggressive driving
  • Driver fatigue or falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Over-correcting or over-steering
  • Swerving to avoid an object in the road

The most common road-related factors included debris, other roadway obstructions, and hazardous road surface conditions. Animals in the road were by far the most-common environmental factor (719 of 841 accidents), and brake, tire, and wheel defects were by far the most common types of vehicle defects (290 of 465 accidents). Examples of non-motorist factors include distracting passengers, pedestrian negligence, and non-drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

4. Driver Age and Experience as Factors in South Carolina Auto Accidents

SC DPS’s data show a clear correlation between driver age and serious and fatal accident rates. Drivers between the ages of 15 and 39 accounted for roughly half of all traffic collisions in South Carolina in 2017, with drivers between the ages of 20 and 24 accounting for the largest portion (34,089 accidents out of a total of 265,540). From this age group through drivers age 85 and older, the number of accidents per age group (measured in five-year increments) decreased consistently from one to the next.

5. Most-Dangerous Times and Days of the Week for Driving in South Carolina

According to SC DPS’s data, the afternoon commute from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm is the most dangerous time to be on the roads in South Carolina. Nearly 36,000 injury-involved accidents and 150 fatal accidents occurred during this three-hour time window in 2017. The next-highest number of non-fatal accidents occurred between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm, while the three-hour windows from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and 9:00 pm to 12:00 am saw the highest numbers of traffic-related fatalities.

Interestingly, the days of the week with the most non-fatal accidents (Monday through Friday) saw the least fatal accidents in South Carolina in 2017. There were more than 20,000 fatal accidents each weekday in 2017 (compared to 13,896 on Sunday and 17,734 on Saturday), while fatal accidents peaked on the weekend (145 on Sunday and 177 on Saturday).

Would You Like to Speak with a South Carolina Auto Accident Lawyer?

If you would like to speak with a lawyer about seeking just compensation for injuries you or a loved one sustained in an auto accident in South Carolina, we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment with an auto accident attorney at our law offices in Rock Hill, SC, please call 803-327-1103 or inquire online today.