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South Carolina roads are among the nation's most dangerous

Throughout the course of a year, various state rankings will hit the news. For example, South Carolina is often marked as a popular tourist destination. At the same time, however, some of the rankings aren't quite as desirable. Recently, South Carolina's residents were named the second-worst drivers in the country.

State-by-state driver comparisons were compiled by CarInsuranceComparison.com. By looking at statistics from a variety of national agencies and organizations, the final scores and rankings were based on state laws, traffic violations and accident statistics.

According to one observer from AAA, South Carolina is typically among the states with the highest rates of driver fatality per miles driven, so the most recent ranking is, unfortunately, not too surprising. The driver-related ranking, however, takes a broader look at driver behavior and how the state laws impact negligent behavior on the roads.

One major factor in this ranking is distracted driving. As we discussed in an earlier blog post, South Carolina doesn't have a texting-and-driving ban. This makes it only one of two states without any sort of law addressing the issue. Lawmakers have considered passing a texting law during the current legislative session, but success isn't guaranteed.

Beyond distracted driving, car accident fatalities related to drunk driving are alarmingly high in South Carolina. Alcohol is a factor in 41 percent of traffic deaths, which is a full 10 points above the national average. Lawmakers are also in the process of working on a bill expected to refuse drunk-driving fatalities.

Taking legislative action on the state level is welcome. After all, South Carolina drivers who abide by the law don't deserve to be put in danger as the result of other people's poor decisions. At the same time, that's the heart of the matter: Laws can help deter reckless or negligent driving, but it's ultimately up to motorists to act with caution.

Source: Morris News Service, "Report: South Carolina has second-worst drivers," April 7, 2014

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