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South Carolina roads unsafe at any speed for pedestrians, Part 1

When we imagine roadways, it's probably not a stretch to make an instant connection with motor vehicles. Despite this strong connection, the reality is that cars are not the only occupants of the road. In fact, pedestrians and bicycles often move across or along the road.

No matter the setting -- urban, residential, or freeway -- motorists should be aware that they might not be the only ones on the road. Furthermore, pedestrians generally aren't as easy to spot as other vehicles, so it may be necessary to pay particular attention in order to avoid accidents.

According to a recent study from Smart Growth America, South Carolina is among the most unsafe states for pedestrians. This accompanies an upward trend in pedestrian fatalities on a national scale.

Perhaps one of the most concerning items to emerge from the Smart Growth report is that fatal pedestrian accidents were heavily concentrated in the Southern United States. The top five most dangerous states for pedestrians, including South Carolina, are all in this region of the country.

Furthermore, the statistics reveal a racial and age disparity in the frequency of pedestrian deaths. In South Carolina, a Latino pedestrian is 189 percent more likely to become the victim of a fatal accident than a Caucasian pedestrian. Additionally, the report also indicates that 20 percent of pedestrian fatalities are among elderly Americans, which is also a cause for concern.

One transportation official noted that most cities in the South expanded in the last half of the 20th century, which means that they are catered toward fast-moving automobiles. No matter, drivers still have a responsibility to be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Another aspect of pedestrian safety is road design. Given the importance of this issue, it will be discussed in our next blog post.

Source: AlJazeera America, "Study: Florida deadliest for walkers; minorities, seniors face most risk," Haya El Nasser, May 20, 2014

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