SC Pedestrian Deaths Data

Some observations on the data

We recently received spreadsheets from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) that provided extensive details of all the motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians for four years- 1/1/2018 through 12/31/2021.

There were 4,553 crashes listed of which 714 were fatal. 829 were categorized as “incapacitating,” 1,403 were “not-incapacitating,” 196 were “not injured,” and 1,410 were “possible injury.”

The 2018-21 bike crash spreadsheet reported 86 fatalities and 1,838 crashes.

Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design Report lists South Carolina as the third most dangerous state for pedestrians. They emphasize that our roads are not designed for people on foot-they are designed to move motor vehicles as fast as possible with few design elements to protect pedestrians.

The above spreadsheet summary lists “lying &/or illegally in roadway” as the primary contributing factor to 48.9% of South Carolina pedestrian deaths. If there is no sidewalk, and the person on foot is walking in the roadway we assume that the death would be so classified by law enforcement.

“Improper crossing” was the primary contributing factor in 14.7% of deaths, but the Dangerous by Design Report highlights that very large distances between crosswalks as the root cause of these deaths.

The 8 contributing factors listed above blame the pedestrian for their own death 78.6% of the time. Of course there is no “Dangerous by Design” category for law enforcement to chose when reporting to the fatal crash.

Smart Growth America 2022 reports that, “people of color, particularly Black Americans are more likely to die than any other race or ethnic group.” The SCDPS data confirms that Black Americans disproportionately die while walking in South Carolina:

SCDPS has a Fatalities Dashboard that provides current data

The 111 pedestrian deaths in 2022 year to date shows a lower yearly trend then 2018-2021 that averaged 178 deaths

Finally, the research by our Furman Intern Loise Aleria last year includes a video about the pedestrian deaths along White Horse Road at this link.

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