Traffic deaths, accidents down in South Carolina because of COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: May. 5, 2020 at 7:51 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - With the mandatory ‘Work or Home’ order lifted in South Carolina, you may have noticed a little more traffic out on our roadways.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, traffic fatalities are down this year compared to this time last year.

Master Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said before COVID-19 was even reported in South Carolina, we were already seeing a decrease in the number of traffic deaths this year compared to 2019.

Trooper Jones said that trend has continued into the spring. He said because of coronavirus related orders, there were fewer people on the roadways in April. With less traffic out there, there were fewer accidents.

According to preliminary data from the South Carolina Office of Highway Safety, as of May 5, 2019, 327 people died on our roadways. So far this year, 255 have lost their lives in fatal crashes in the Palmetto State.

Trooper Jones said, “If we can limit those collisions and those injuries and limit the transports to the hospitals. We’re all doing the community a favor by not overtaxing the health care workers who are battling COVID-19.”

According to Jones, troopers hope the trend they are seeing continues throughout the rest of the year. He did say they are gearing up for the typically busier and deadlier summer months. "At the end of the day our goal is to stop the knock," he said. "We don't want to knock on any other families' doors to give them the worst news of their life."

The Department of Public Safety said there were a total of 927 fatal crashes in South Carolina in 2019.

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