Articles Posted in By The Numbers

According to AAA’s yearly crash data analysis, fatalities from South Carolina tractor trailer crashes continued to rise in 2005 (the most recent year for which data was available). For the second consecutive year, South Carolina highway wrecks involving tractor trailers went up, from 74 to 84. As a percentage of total crashes, Union County, South Carolina led the way in terms of the highest number of deadly truck accidents. The highest total number of tractor trailer deaths happened in Jasper County in 2005, where 7 people died.

South Carolina traffic deaths (involving vehicles of all types) decreased somewhat overall, from 1,093 deaths (2004) to 1,046 deaths (2005). In 2005, vehicle drivers and passengers had the greatest chance of both being in a crash and being injured in Charleston County, compared to all other counties in South Carolina. More than 13,000 crashes took place that year in Charleston County. Thankfully, Charleston County fatalities dropped in 2005 from the previous year. The greatest chance of being involved in a fatal crash, in terms of crashes per mile driven, was in Barnwell County.

The most dangerous counties in terms of total crashes in 2005 were: Charleston County, Richland County, and Greenville County. The safest counties in this category were: Calhoun County, Fairfield County, and Lee County.

The most dangerous counties in terms of crashes causing injury in 2005 were: Charleston County, Greenwood County, and Richland County. The safest counties in this category were: Calhoun County, Jasper County, and Clarendon County.

The most dangerous counties in terms of fatal crashes in 2005 were: Barnwell County, Saluda County, and Chesterfield County. The safest counties in this category were: Allendale County, Hampton County, and Charleston County.

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Just three percent of registered vehicles are tractor-trailers. Yet, big trucks account for a great deal of injury and death on our roadways. Truck accidents injure over 100,000 people every year in the United States. More than 5,000 people lose their lives in these wrecks. That accounts for nearly one out of every ten highway fatalities. Trucking companies and their insurance adjusters work hard to protect their own interests – usually at the expense of the people injured. In other words, the victims are too often blamed, and may never receive the compensation they deserve. At best, injured victims might be offered very small, inadequate settlements. If you are in this situation, educate yourself, and make your choices wisely. There is much at stake.

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In 2005, more than 5,200 people were killed and another 114,000 were injured in truck crashes in this country. According to a report released March 12, 2007 by a leading truck safety group, the most deadly trucking state in the nation (based on the number of truck crash deaths per 100,000 population) is 1. Wyoming (6.09), followed by 2. Arkansas (4.17), 3. Oklahoma (3.41), 4. New Mexico (3.27), 5. Mississippi (3.12), 6. West Virginia (3.03), 7. Kentucky (2.97), 8. Kansas (2.91), 9. South Carolina (2.91), and 10. Missouri (2.86).

South Carolina is the second-fastest state in the growth of tractor trailer fatalities. The states that experienced the biggest jump in their 2005 truck crash death rates, compared to 2004, were: 1. Oklahoma, 2. South Carolina, 3. Louisiana, 4. North Dakota, 5. Montana, 6. Idaho, 7. Nevada, 8. Oregon, 9. Illinois, 10. Virginia, 11. New Jersey, 12. Washington, and 13. Hawaii.

Safety on our roads is of paramount importance. In South Carolina, too often we have been used to being at the top of the “bad lists,” and at the bottom of the “good lists.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. 18 wheeler deaths can be prevented – but it takes real effort by decision-makers at all levels. Perhaps the most important factor is for truck drivers and trucking companies to take responsibility for safety on the roads. Safety laws and regulations are not in place to harass anyone, or to make business more difficult. Those laws and regulations are there to make our roads safer, so that more tragedies, like the fatal accident yesterday, can be prevented.

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As you can see from this map, most of the South Carolina tractor trailer truck accidents involving injury and death happen near the major population centers of Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston. The I-85 corridor along Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Cherokee Counties has long had a reputation as a congested interstate. The map above does nothing to dispel that reputation. Certainly, I-26 and I-95 also have increasingly bad reputations for 18 wheeler truck accidents.

The ‘Large Trucks Involved in Fatal and Non-Fatal Crashes’ report illustrated by the map shows how many large trucks were involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes. The crash data are aggregated to the state county level and are provided in map and table format. The fatal crash data are collected from FARS, and the non-fatal crash data are collected from MCMIS.

In the map format each county in South Carolina is color coded to represent the range of the number of large trucks involved in reportable crashes. The table format displays the number of trucks involved in reportable crashes. The option to display layers (data values, state/county names, major cities and interstates) is available in the map format. Displaying layers is used for reference purposes only.


Fatal crash – A crash where one or more persons dies within 30 days of the crash. The fatality does not have to occur at the scene of the crash. It includes any person involved in the crash, including pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as occupants of the passenger cars, trucks and buses.

Non-fatal crash – A crash where one or more persons has non-fatal injuries requiring transportation by a vehicle for the purpose of obtaining immediate medical attention; or one or more of the vehicles were towed away from the scene due to “disabling damage”. The towed vehicle need not be the truck involved in the crash.

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From 1994 through the end of 2005, there were 1,330 fatalities in South Carolina tractor trailer crashes.


1994 104 Fatalities
1995 104 Fatalities
1996 111 Fatalities
1997 90 Fatalities
1998 128 Fatalities
1999 118 Fatalities
2000 133 Fatalities
2001 108 Fatalities
2002 101 Fatalities
2003 99 Fatalities
2004 110 Fatalities
2005 124 Fatalities
Source: The Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Be careful out there.

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According to the United States Department of Transportation, there were 2,394 deaths in crashes involving large trucks from 1994 through 2005.

1994 207 Fatalities
1995 198 Fatalities
1996 183 Fatalities
1997 231 Fatalities
1998 247 Fatalities
1999 201 Fatalities
2000 191 Fatalities
2001 201 Fatalities
2002 169 Fatalities
2003 162 Fatalities
2004 200 Fatalities
2005 204 Fatalities
Source: The Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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When you really look at the numbers, it is just staggering. From 1994 through the end of 2005, there were 2,741 fatalities in Georgia in crashes involving large commercial trucks. How many of these involved wrongful death, caused by the negligence of the truck driver, is unknown.

1994 214 Fatalities
1995 201 Fatalities
1996 220 Fatalities
1997 254 Fatalities
1998 223 Fatalities
1999 248 Fatalities
2000 219 Fatalities
2001 255 Fatalities
2002 198 Fatalities
2003 232 Fatalities
2004 248 Fatalities
2005 229 Fatalities
Source: The Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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