Study: SC has highest fatality rate on rural roads - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Study: SC has highest fatality rate on rural roads

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FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) -

Just earlier this week a Lancaster County woman was killed on a rural road in Fort Lawn when she crossed the center line and hit another car head on.

It's stories like this one that back a new report, released Thursday, that shows South Carolina has the deadliest rural roads in the nation.

The report by TRIP says the Palmetto State has the highest fatality rate on rural roads than any other state.

911 Driving School instructor and 15-year South Carolina Highway Patrol veteran Trooper Jeremy Sisler says he's seen his fair share of fatal accidents in the Palmetto State and wasn't surprised when he heard the state has some of the deadliest rural roads in the nation.

"South Carolina is a more rural sate to begin with," said Sisler.

Officials at TRIP, a transportation research group, say South Carolina had a traffic fatality rate of 3.99 deaths for every 100 million vehicles miles of travel on rural roads, that's tops in the nation.

Researchers for TRIP say there are several factors in the high rural road fatality rate.

"Driver behavior, vehicles themselves in terms of how safe those vehicles are, and finally the level of roadway safety features on the road way," said TRIP Director of Policy and Research Rocky Moretti

Sisler agrees and says about half of rural road fatalities are alcohol related and in most of the cases, the driver was speeding.

"So you have tighter roads with tress just off the shoulder and when they run off the road, either drunk or speeding, they end up hitting trees which kills somebody quick," said Sisler.

Sisler says there are ways drivers can prevent fatalities behind the wheel, it starts with them obeying traffic laws and limiting distractions.

"Slow down. That's the biggest thing. The speed limit is the maximum you should be driving in perfect weather conditions. Slow down and put your cell phone down. That would take care of a lot of problems," said Sisler.

The study also found in 2012, there were 637 traffic deaths on rural roads in South Carolina, ranking them 5th in the nation.

To read the study in its entirety, click here.

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