More than half of all fatal crashes in South Carolina involve a vehicle running off the edge of the road. One of those types of crashes happens every 30 minutes on average. Almost 2800 people died in run-off crashes in the state last year.A new campaign by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and other organization is aimed at reducing run-off-the-road crashes and fatalities.
Officials say that using “rumble strips” will help. Once applied along the edge of the highway, they create a loud noise and vibration when a car runs over them.
Helping the Highway Patrol and other officials to make the announcement at D-O-T Headquarters in Columbia were several victims of run-off crashes.
Cindy Sease’s daughter Kelsey was killed in such a crash four years ago, on I-20 as the 16-year-old and two of her friends returned from a spring break trip. “She was my only child. Now I’m a mother with no one to mother. I lost a big part of my identity. Now I’ll never go to her prom. I’ll never see her graduate or get married. I’ll never be a grandmother. In a split instant she was gone, her future taken away.”
Six-hundred miles of rumble strips will be installed on South Carolina interstates, and the Department of Transportation has received bids to install 1000 miles of strips on primary highways.
Sease says her daughter was in the back seat. “We found out the kids were taking pictures right before the accident occurred. The last picture was of Kelsey, taken by the driver, turned around. And what gets me is seeing her classic goofy face, knowing she was having a good time one moment, and that the next moment, she was dead.”
Presley Melton says she lost her best friend in an accident three years ago, when both of the teens were not wearing safety belts and were thrown from the vehicle. “I broke my face, my ribs, my pelvis, every bone in my body except my neck, back and right arm. We were thrown out of the back of the car. My best friend broke her neck and back and died on impact.”
Presley describes her ordeal. “I was in the hospital 56 days. Coma. Brain surgery. Facial reconstruction. We flipped and crashed.”
And Presley said the accident could have easily been prevented by not running off the road, and she says they could have been saved by safety belts.