From 2008 to 2012 there were 17,503 fatal and severe injury collisions in South Carolina; over one-fourth (25.8%, or 4,521) involved an impaired driver. In 2009, the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities decreased to 374, a decline of 6.5%. The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased in 2012, to 348 fatalities, a 15.9% increase from the previous year (2011). Despite this increase in 2012, the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities remains 10.5% less than it was in 2008. The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2012 was 3.1% lower than the average of the previous four years (359 from 2008 to 2011). From 2008 to 2012, 1,848 people were killed in alcohol- impaired driving crashes in South Carolina, and 3,759 were severely injured. According to NHTSA, 348 persons died in alcohol-impaired driving collisions during 2012, making up 40.3% of the total number of fatalities for the year. This represents an increase from 2011, when 309 (37.3% of the total) persons were killed in alcohol-impaired driving collisions. Unless otherwise stated, the data presented in this section was obtained from the state traffic collision master file.
South Carolina has one of the highest alcohol-impaired driving fatality rates (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) in the country. The average rate from 2008 to 2010 for South Carolina was more than twice that of the national average. Males in the 20-29 age group continue to be over-represented in fatal and severe injury impaired driver-related crashes. While it may be plainly evident that the most frequently reported cause of impaired driver-related collisions was driving under the influence, the second- and third- highest contributing factors were speeding and roadway departure. In fact, DUI was the leading cause of roadway departure collisions from 2008 to 2012.
Almost half of the people killed and severely injured in impaired driver-related fatal collisions were aged 15-34. Seven out of ten impaired drivers in fatal crashes were male.
Nineteen counties accounted for almost half (49.2%) of the impaired driving-related fatal and severe injury collisions. Greenville County had the highest percentage of impaired driver-related fatal and severe injury collisions (8.1%), followed by Horry (6.9%), Lexington (6.0%), Richland (5.8%), Spartanburg (5.3%), Anderson (4.8%), and Charleston Counties (4.4%).