CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging people to slow down amid an increase in auto-pedestrian collisions.
This comes after a Smart Growth America report showed the Charleston-North Charleston area ranked as the fifth most dangerous metropolitan area for pedestrians from 2016-2020.
According to the report, 140 pedestrians in our area were killed during that time period. Law enforcement said speeding is a contributing factor.
“Because of COVID, the increase in speeding violations has been crazy,” said Sgt. Charles Sebban with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. “I think another aspect of it is people are crossing the road and walking on the road, not in the designated areas.”
So far this year, CCSO said there have been four deadly auto-pedestrian crashes, all of which happened at night on the roadway. Sebban said they need more officers to tackle the issue.
“Unfortunately, we’re responding to collisions and we’re trying to do that speed enforcement, but we don’t always have the time available to do all of those speed enforcements.”
Mount Pleasant Police said they had 10 accidents involving pedestrians this year and none were fatal. In North Charleston, police said five pedestrians were killed in 2022.
The nonprofit Charleston Moves blames these dangers on the design of the area.
“Our streets and our bridges have traditionally, in more recent history, not been designed for human beings. They have been designed for motor vehicles moving as quickly as possible, particularly through intersections,” said Executive Director Katie Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said the numbers show the importance of having multiple modes of transportation available.
“It’s an epidemic of people being killed, people being really badly injured. That needs to stop and the best way we can get ahead of that is better design,” said Zimmerman.
CCSO is urging drivers to slow down. They encourage pedestrians to wear bright colors and walk on the crosswalk.