South Carolina traffic fatalities dropped sharply in 2013, but the year isn't over yet.

S.C. fatalities

Since 1971, more than 37,000 people have died on South Carolina roads.

Traffic deaths by year

1972 1,099

1982 730


2002 1,053

2009 894

2013 732 (as of 12/28)

Source: S.C. Department of Public Safety

Through Saturday, there were 732 highway fatalities in 2013, compared with 856 for the same time period last year, the S.C. Department of Public Safety reported.


The Charleston County Sheriff's Office will be conducting traffic checkpoints on New Year's Eve at two locations.

The checkpoints will be stationed on S.C. Highway 61 near Drayton Hall Elementary School and Mikel Drive at Harbor View Road beginning at 8 p.m. and lasting for several hours, officials said.

Deputies ask drivers to be cautious when traveling through these areas and aware of deputies on the roadway.

"We haven't been that low since 1982," said Highway Patrol Cpl. Bob Beres said.

The number of fatal crashes dropped from 800 last year to 685 this year, according to DPS.

"One fatality is too many," Beres said.

With that in mind, Beres encourages people to celebrate responsibly on New Year's Eve and have a plan to get home safely.

"All of law enforcement will be out," he said.

Expect driver's license checkpoints. Drunk drivers may be reported by dialing *HP, he said.

The lower traffic death numbers this year are a result of enforcement and driver education, he said.

Campaigns to increase driver awareness of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycles have been a factor, he said.

The Highway Patrol this year presented informational sessions on safety-related issues to more than 100,000 people, he said.

Statewide, traffic fatalities for 2013 included 469 motor vehicle occupants, 88 pedestrians, 116 motorcyclists and 13 bicyclists. Some 266 of those who died in motor vehicles were not wearing their seat belts, but overall 90 percent of drivers are buckling up, officials said.

Though Dec. 15, the latest available figures, Charleston County has seen a drop in traffic fatalities from 45 last year to 39 in 2013. In Berkeley County, the number of highway deaths fell from 33 last year to 25 this year. Dorchester County has had 17 road deaths this year compared with 19 last year.

Nationwide in 2012, some 10,322 people died in crashes involving intoxicated drivers compared with 9,865 in 2011. And across the country, 830 lives were lost in drunk driving accidents during last year's holiday season, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.