Despite deadly weekend, DOT expects lower 2010 fatality rate

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is anticipating the number of highway fatalities to fall below the 800 mark through the end of 2010 for the first time in 22 years.

Records show that annual highway deaths have been less than 800 only twice in the last 47 years in 1963 and 1987.

As of Monday, 755 people have died on South Carolina roads. The final death toll for 2009 was 851, according to the SCDOT.

Transportation Secretary H.B. Limehouse Jr. is urging all drivers to be extra cautious on the highways as the peak travel time for the holiday season begins this week.

"The loss of one life is tragic, but the history-making figures for 2010 reflect the efforts of our SCDOT staff to improve the safety of our roads, and the efforts of our partners at the SC Department of Public Safety to step up enforcement," said Limehouse.

Limehouse also cited the high percentage of drivers and passengers in the state that are using seatbelts and child restraint seats regularly as another factor in the reduction of highway deaths.

Six people lost their lives on Midlands roads during the weekend of December 18 and 19.

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