HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety says Horry County has had 13 pedestrian deaths this year so far, and one recent CarInsurance.org study ranks the state at #4 in pedestrian deaths.
The number of pedestrian deaths rose from 2014 to 2016, and has remained steady since then. One of the more recent pedestrian deaths in Horry County happened on the exit ramp from Highway 501 to River Oaks Drive. The person was struck while walking on the ramp at night.
“By the time the person’s headlights see the pedestrian, there really is very little time to react,” said South Carolina Highway Patrol Corporal Sonny Collins.
It can happen in a flash – a driver doesn’t see the person walking on the street, and strikes them with their vehicle at full-speed.
“Even in the best scenario of wearing light-colored clothing at night, you may only see that pedestrian just a few hundred feet in front of your car,” said SCHP Cpl. Collins.
Cpl. Collins says the majority of the pedestrian deaths troopers respond to, happen at night. Horry County had seven pedestrian deaths in 2014 and seven in 2015, but that rose to 18 in 2016.
The numbers stayed consistent in 2017 and 2018 at 17 pedestrian deaths. But, law enforcement is working to do something about it.
“What we do is work to ensure that there are officers or troopers or whoever may be in that area monitoring traffic, making sure drivers are being safe, as well as monitoring those who may be crossing those roads on foot, or by bike, or something like that,” said Mikayla Moskov, Public Information Officer with the Horry County Police Department.
The Horry County Police Department partners with other law enforcement to watch heavily traveled roads like Highway 501, Kings Highway and Bypass 17.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department distributes reflective snap bracelets from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, and the Highway Patrol has the “SEE” program, where they stop pedestrians, educate them and enforce the law.
“Follow the rules of traffic safety, stop where you’re supposed to stop, wait for the crossing signal if there is one, use sidewalks when they’re there. Just ensure that drivers are able to anticipate your moves, just as like you can anticipate theirs,” said Moskov.
Cpl. Collins tells News13 the best thing a pedestrian can do is wear reflective gear.