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Study reveals that South Carolina has big gaps in safety policies

The safety improvements that have been made to passenger vehicles in the last several decades have made a positive impact in terms of people's survival rates: seat belts, air bags and other passive or active safety devices on vehicles have definitely made a difference. But for all the safety initiatives, if the drivers of those vehicles choose to make unsafe choices, then much of the positive impact can be negated.

A recent study shows that South Carolina has a higher injury fatality rate than the country overall, and at least some of the blame may lie with the state's lax laws when it comes to safety devices in cars. While car accidents were a big part of the injury death rate, the study also examined deaths from prescription medication mishaps as well as domestic violence.

The study showed that South Carolina law lacks what its authors identified as several key factors than can improve safety and decrease accidental death. These include requiring booster seats for children ages 8 and younger; South Carolina's law only covers kids under the age of 6.

Another law advocated by the study authors that South Carolina does not have is a universal helmet law for motorcycle riders, while nearly 40 percent of the states do. South Carolina also lacks a universal bicycle helmet law for children, which 21 other states do have.

In total this puts South Carolina in 13th place for highest injury fatalities. According to the data, 71.7 people per 100,000 suffer a fatal injury compared with 57.9 per 100,000 overall in the United States.

Source: Journal Watchdog, "SC had 13th highest rate of injury deaths in US," Jerry Salley, May 31, 2012

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