FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence County traffic fatalities are at a four-year low.

According to South Carolina Department of Public Safety statistics, for the period Jan. 1-July 7, 12 fatalities were reported in 2019 as opposed to 21 in 2018, 18 in 2017 and 14 in 2016.

“While one fatality on our roadways is too many, we are starting to see the results of our focused commitment to reducing the number of deaths on our highways through the Traffic Safety Unit,” Florence County Interim Sheriff Billy Barnes said. “We will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners to reduce this number even further.”

There were no reported fatalities in Florence County during the traditionally deadly Independence Day holiday as compared to 10 fatalities statewide.

Nine of those fatalities occurred on U.S. Highways, S.C. roads or secondary routes. Victims in five of the nine fatal wrecks were not wearing available seatbelts. One was a pedestrian and one was a motorcyclist (without helmet).

During the Independence Day holiday period, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit, part of the Special Operations Division, conducted targeted traffic safety operations throughout Florence County.

The unit focuses enforcement on the three primary causes of traffic fatalities: speed, impaired driving and the non-use of seat belts.

The unit conducted enforcement operations consisting of traffic safety checkpoints, DUI saturation and speed enforcement during the holiday period, resulting in four child restraint violations, 14 seatbelt violations, 28 speeding violations, seven DUIs, 14 driving while suspended violations, 10 alcohol violations, two drug cases, two uninsured vehicles, 56 other moving violations and four collisions.

As far as other counties in the Pee Dee, fatalities in Darlington County have increased to 16 in 2019 from 11 in 2018, 11 in 2017 and 15 in 2016. In Marion County, fatalities have been basically the same at five in 2019 from three in 2018, five in 2017 and four in 2016. In Williamsburg County, fatalities have decreased to five in 2019 from eight in 2018, nine in 2017 and 10 in 2016.

In Dillon County, fatalities have decreased to three in 2019 from four in 2018, seven in 2017 and four in 2016. In Marlboro County, fatalities remain constant at three in 2019 as compared to three in 2018, two in 2017 and three in 2016.

Statewide, fatalities have decreased to 472 from 520 in 2018, 532 in 2017 and 511 in 2016.

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