Traffic fatalities on South Carolina roadways have continued their downward trend from last year, if preliminary data from the S.C. Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) is to be believed.
Is it? That’s up for debate …
As of September 15, SCDPS is reporting a total of 612 fatal crashes this year – down 7.6 percent from 663 fatal crashes at the same point in time a year ago. Meanwhile highway fatalities currently stand at 666 – down 7.2 percent from the 718 fatalities recorded at this same point in 2016.
Is this good news? Yes. Assuming the data is accurate and the numbers hold up, it is good news.
Sources within SCDPS expressed skepticism on both counts, though.
As we noted a month ago in reporting on these numbers, fatal accidents and deaths on South Carolina highways have seen a noticeable uptick in recent years – which many attribute to lax law enforcement (and in particular, shortages of law enforcement officers on the highway).
Also troubling? These S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) trooper shortages appear to be more pronounced than we originally thought … part of an ongoing debate over the leadership (or lack thereof) at SCDPS.
As always, we will continue to keep a close eye on these numbers … as well as the ongoing investigation into SCDPS under current director Leroy Smith.
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