SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – During a press conference on Tuesday, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said the county holds a rather inauspicious distinction.

“Spartanburg has a number one distinction in the state that I’m not very proud of, and that is, we are number one in traffic fatalities,” said Clevenger.

The coroner’s office said there have been 55 deaths this year as a result of some type of crash involving a vehicle in the county. Despite having around 200,000 fewer people than Greenville County, Spartanburg County has had six more fatal wrecks so far this year.

The crashes are happening at all hours of the day and night.

“Current hotspots: Highway 9, Highway 221 North,” said Clevenger. “We’ve had our share on the highways, but we also have and are above average on the back roads of Spartanburg County.”

The main message, according to the coroner: pay attention, keep your eyes on the road, wear your seatbelt, don’t drive while under the influence, obey traffic signs, and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“I doubt we will ever know the life, or lives, we save by these efforts, but if we save one, it will be well worth it,” he said.

In an effort to help make the roads safer, multiple law enforcement agencies in South Carolina and partnering with agencies in North Carolina, to participate in Hands Across the Border.

“To try and do some cooperative traffic enforcement, we’re working together to reduce the number of lives lost on the roadways in South Carolina, as well as North Carolina,” said Master Trooper Gary Miller, with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Miller said there have been 659 vehicle related deaths statewide, this year. For 2022, he said there were 700 in total.

“What we concentrate on is drinking and driving and seatbelts, right now,” he said. “It’s not just alcohol, it’s illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or a combination of both.”

As part of this annual effort, driver safety checkpoints are set up along state lines.

It’s an effort to try and get drivers, and passengers, home safely.

Clevenger said the last time numbers like these were seen in the county was in 2021, when 54 people were killed in crashes.

As for Labor Day Weekend, Clevenger said there will be a lot of people on the road. He cautions people to slow down and think before they get behind the wheel.