South Carolina might be in the heart of NASCAR country, but the Palmetto State has the nation’s second-worst drivers.
The state ranked last in careless driving – pedestrians and cyclists killed per 100,000 people, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data compiled by the website carinsurancecomparison.com.
South Carolina placed next to the bottom in the percentage fatalities related to alcohol and fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
Only Louisiana drivers were worse overall in the nation, according to the rankings.
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South Carolina’s best category was its drivers’ failure to obey traffic signals and wear seat belts. The state ranked 29th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Vermont had the safest drivers based on the stats. Utah, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Oregon followed among the safe-driving states.
The silver lining? South Carolinians may be bad drivers, but we’re dying less often on the road.
The number of traffic fatalities statewide was down 13 percent to 714 through Dec. 15 compared with the same period a year ago, according to S.C. Department of Public Safety data.
Traffic deaths are up, however, in three Midlands counties – increasing 33 percent in Orangeburg, 26 percent in Aiken and 16 percent in Richland County.
Most readers – more than three out of four – responding to an unscientific online survey on The State’s website thought South Carolina deserved its No. 2 ranking.
“I’ve lived in Southern California and outside of DC, where speeding would be my most common complaint,” one reader posted on Facebook. “However, in SC, I’ve never seen so many completely ignorant drivers and the glaring observation that 98% of drivers don’t use their turning signals.”