GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina Highway Patrol along with the Greenville County Coroner’s Office are urging both pedestrians and drivers to be more cautious on the roadways as pedestrian traffic fatalities are on the rise.

“So far this year in 2023 we have had a total of five and that’s quite a bit in just a month and a half’s time.” Greenville County Coroner, Chief Deputy Mike Ellis said.

The coroner’s office says most incidents in Greenville County are along Pleasantburg, I-385, the area of Wade Hampton and the area of White Horse Road.

They say just this week, they’ve been called to two incidents.  

“You can never be too careful when driving your vehicle,” South Carolina Highway Patrol Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway said. “It is what we always go back and talk about, watch your speed, limit your distractions, stay off your cell phone which is a huge one.”

The coroner’s office says in 2022 Greenville County had 26 total pedestrian vs motor vehicle traffic deaths.

Ellis says most of them are ‘definitely avoidable.’ 

“Cross in the crosswalk,” Ellis said. “That brings more attention to the pedestrian and the driver of the motor vehicle. A lot of times crosswalks are lit and highways are not.”

“A lot of individuals that are being struck by vehicles are wearing dark clothing,” Ridgeway said. “It’s at night. They are not crossing in crosswalks. They are distracted on a cellphone or maybe they have earbuds in and can’t hear what’s going on around them. They are not walking on a sidewalk, in the roadway, and not facing traffic.”

Troopers are reminding drivers if you do hit a pedestrian, stay on the scene. If you drive away you will be charged with a hit and run.

South Carolina Department of Transportation studies show South Carolina’s pedestrian death rates are among the worst in the nation. Highway Patrol hopes by raising awareness the state could soon see those numbers decline.