Law enforcement, road safety groups mark Passenger Safety Week
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Amid Passenger Safety Week, the South Carolina Highway Patrol says deadly crashes on South Carolina roads fell slightly last year from 1,198 in 2021.
“We hope that trend continues,” Lance Cpl. Nick Pye said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure sure that we enforce all South Carolina traffic laws.”
Data from AAA out last month shows distracted driving behaviors are on the rise.
“It’s a huge concern, and it’s causing collisions,” Pye said.
Texting, emailing, and holding and talking on a cell phone while driving were all up year-over-year, according to AAA.
Road safety groups across the country this week are trying to spread the message that safety in the car is not just the driver’s responsibility. They say the passenger also plays a role.
“The passengers have a lot of power that they’re not even aware that they have,” Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations for the National Roadway Safety Foundation, said. They are one of the groups hosting “National Passenger Safety Week.”
Anderson said the passenger can eliminate the driver’s distractions: “You can say to the driver, ‘look, I’ll be your designated texter, I’ll be the designated person to take your phone calls. In fact, I’ll be your secretary while we’re in the vehicle.’”
Risk to pedestrians has also increased. Fatalities among cyclists and pedestrians rose slightly last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Everyone’s got to slow down, everybody’s got to pay attention,” Katie Zimmerman, Executive Director of Charleston Moves, a pedestrian advocacy group, said.
Her suggestion to drivers is to slow down and make sure there’s enough space between the vehicle and the pedestrian or cyclist.
Passenger Safety Week runs from Jan. 22 through Jan 28.
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