COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A new study by WalletHub ranks South Carolina among the states worst in safety. The 2017's Safest States in America places South Carolina as 47th overall in safety.
The study, released Tuesday, separates safety into several categories. South Carolina is better in terms of overall safety than only Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The state is ranked 47th in terms of road safety and placed 50th in the nation in fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. Other factors that determine WalletHub's placement here include DUIs per capita, pedestrian and pedal cyclist fatalities, road quality, and driving laws.
So far in 2017, the Department of Public Safety reports there have been 439 people killed on South Carolina roads, compared with 425 people at this time in 2016.
It's just one reason South Carolina is placed 47th in the nation for safety, but Trooper David Jones with Highway Patrol has doubts on rankings such as this latest WalletHub study.
"Often times, they're a little skewed in reporting or it may be an alternative motive behind some of their statistics," Trooper Jones said. "But what we can tell you here in South Carolina is, so far this year, we've had 439 traffic deaths."The number of DUI's, pedestrian fatalities, road quality, and driving laws are also factored into the calculations.
"So, for how much people are driving in South Carolina, it has the highest number of fatalities on the road. That's one really major thing that I think people in South Carolina are probably already aware of," Wallethub Study Analyst, Jill Gonzalez said.
This news, however, isn't what's motivating Trooper Jones to do his job reducing road deaths.
"I can tell you, from a trooper who worked the road for several years, my motivation is that my family shares this roadway. The friends that I know and love share the roadway. And if I can get that drunk driver off the roadway not only am I protecting my family, but I'm protecting someone else's," Trooper Jones said.
The state comes in at 49th in terms of "Personal and Residential Safety."
WalletHub lists the methodology as weighing the states by points, based on the number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter per capita in this category, and also on forcible rapes, assaults, thefts, sex offenders, drug abuse, law enforcement employees, active firefighters, suicide, bullying, and complaints of elder abuse, gross negligence, and exploitation.