This Midlands county leads South Carolina with 39 traffic fatalities in 2018

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Lexington County is atop the leaderboard for the highest number of traffic fatalities statewide in 2018; a statistic it isn't proud of.

As of the first week of May, 30 people had lost their lives on roadways in Lexington County. A mere three weeks later, nine additional people have been killed.

"A lot of these collisions we're seeing are happening on the rural roads of Lexington County, the secondary roads," Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, said.

The 39 deaths on roadways across the county are the highest of any county in the state and that is more than double the number of deaths at this point last year. According to South Carolina Highway Patrol data, 17 people died in crashes in Lexington County at this time last year.

"We go out and enforce these laws but if the person behind the wheel doesn't make that good decision to buckle up, or get a designated driver or slow down or limit their distractions, there's only so much law enforcement can do," Trooper Jones said.

Memorial Day signaled the beginning of the "100 Deadliest Days," the period of time when the most fatal accidents take place, according to Highway Patrol.

Distracted driving, driving under the influence and speeding account for most traffic fatalities, according to the same data.

"There are a lot of little things people do and don't do that add up to make pretty dangerous situations," Brandon, a student at USC, said. "Talking on their phones, not using their indicator, just straying from the lane, random things you see people doing like reading a newspaper or doing their makeup."

Bobbie Stilson moved to South Carolina from Connecticut for school and said she's changed the way she drives to accommodate for the road conditions in and around the Columbia metro area.

"I'm always looking in my blind spots and being more cautious when I make turns because I feel like there are so many more cars and problems with the drivers and signage, so I think it's a combination of everything," Stilson said.

The latest traffic fatality came Thursday when 9-year-old Kade Crocker was killed when the car he was traveling in slammed into the back of a car that had come to a stop in the middle lane of I-20 EB traffic near mile marker 64.

On Wednesday, 48-year-old Arbie "Wayne" Taylor of Gaston was killed in a single car crash in Swansea when the car he was a passenger in went off the roadway and hit a tree.

"It seems like every day there's a new accident, which is unfortunate, but now I'm not surprised at all when I see it," Stilson said. "It's been a normal thing since I've lived down here."

"Just yesterday a Dodge Ram pulled out in front of me, my mother and my baby niece," Brandon said. "I had to go into the median to avoid that."

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