Why does South Carolina have such a high occurrence of pedestrian accidents? Although the state has managed to reduce the overall number of vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents have continued to rise and South Carolina now ranks third in the nation. The underlying problem is that many of the state's busiest intersections are completely unsafe for pedestrian crossing.
A recent article in USA Today notes that the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths is affected by the high number of commuters, with 41% of the state's workforce spending 15 - 30 minutes commuting to work - a far higher percentage than in many other states. During the morning and end-of-work hours, the streets are filled to capacity with rushing commuter traffic.
The state's dismal rate of pedestrian accidents is further impacted by the fact that a large number of busy intersections are unmarked. These streets lack signs, signals or crosswalks that can alert drivers and provide a higher level of protection to pedestrians who are crossing against moving traffic. This lack of infrastructure forces pedestrians to face congested streets filled with fast-moving vehicles with absolutely no safety measures in place.
It is clear that South Carolina now ranks so poorly for pedestrian accidents due to a fundamental lack of investment in the infrastructure necessary to keep pedestrians safe. State, county and city leaders have failed to take effective action.
Cities each have a "walk score" which rates the area for its "walkability," and the majority of urban centers in South Carolina each rank extremely low, as most errands in these cities will require the use of a vehicle. This adds to the existing problem of traffic congestion. States that have successfully reduced numbers of pedestrian accidents have worked hard to make streets safer by investing in crucial safety measures such as installing crossing lights, marked crosswalks, and clearly posted signs. South Carolina lags far behind, and innocent people are paying the price.