MYRTLE BEACH, S.C (WBTW) — South Carolina is experiencing a rise in deadly crashes, according to data from the Department of Public Safety.
So far in 2021, 707 people have been killed in traffic collisions, according to DPS. That’s 70 more than this time in 2020.
South Carolina troopers say the trend is concerning.
“We try to reduce the number of fatalities,” Master Trooper Brian Lee said. “We know that there’s more traffic on the road. More people are getting their license.”
Along the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach Fire says it’s been a busy season for calls across the board, including wrecks.
“Especially on some of the busy days or if we have some bad weather, those kinds of things,” Captain Jonathan Evans with the fire department said. “The Bypass especially being one of those areas that’s always very difficult for us to be cautious and careful while trying to help. But we also have some pretty big intersections as well.”
Myrtle Beach fire has high-tech gear that helps with extrications and procedures to protect first responders on scene of wrecks, too.
“This is one of the most dangerous calls we go to,” Captain Evans said. “We just have another unit there, a truck or another engine or something, that’s just giving us a little bit more of a barrier so if someone isn’t paying attention they’ll hit that truck and brush off instead of hitting our personnel.”
Highway Patrol meanwhile hopes to higher more troopers to monitor the roadways.
“We need more troopers on the road,” Lee said. “And we think that will help reduce the fatalities by having more troopers on the road.”
An initiative called ‘Hands Across the Border’ kicks off Sunday in Little River. SCHP will partner with other agencies to create checkpoints at the state line. The program will continue throughout the week, at different locations around the state.