It seems 2016 has been an unusually deadly year for drivers in Beaufort County.
Twenty-nine people have been killed in motor vehicle accidents since Jan. 1, up from 18 in 2015 and 23 in 2014, according to statistics released Wednesday by the S.C. Department of Public Safety. In 2013, just 13 people died on Beaufort County roads.
Jasper County highways also experienced more fatalities — 23 in 2016, up from 14, 15 and 8 in the three previous years.
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Statewide, there have been 968 fatalities on South Carolina highways in 2016, down from 976 last year.
Of the 630 motor vehicle occupants who have died this year, half were not wearing seat belts, according to the South Carolina officials. Of the remaining fatalities, 135 were pedestrians — up from 124 in 2015 — and another 135 were motorcyclists — down from 140 in 2015.
Twenty-five bicyclists died statewide this year, including six in Beaufort County, compared to 16 statewide in 2015.
The Christmas holiday brought a fresh spate of accidents, resulting in six deaths on state highways between 6 p.m. Dec. 23 and midnight Sunday. Three others died by midnight Tuesday.
The majority of those wrecks occurred on federal highway routes or state and secondary roads.