Despite a spate of recent traffic fatalities in Aiken County, the total number so far this year is less than that of a year ago over the first eight months.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol reported 21 fatal accidents in Aiken County from January to Aug. 11. There were 22 last year.
The most recent fatality occurred Aug. 1 when an 18 year-old North Augusta teen was killed after she was ejected from her 2016 Nissan following a crash in the 900 block of Edgefield Road.
Last month officials from Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia State Patrol and the South Carolina Highway Patrol introduced a weeklong initiative to help reduce the number of fatal accidents in each state. As part of the initiative, law enforcement officers monitored interstates, highways and roads for speeders and for reckless drivers and motorists who were not using their blinkers.
In a previous interview with The Augusta Chronicle — after an announcement of the initiative — Lance Cpl. Judd Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said that most of the fatal traffic accidents in Aiken County happened on secondary roads.
Jones said Wednesday that three of those involved passengers being thrown from their vehicles.
“We typically look at the various fatalities that happen and the causes,” he said. “A lot of these causes are that people are not wearing any seat belt so we try to make sure we enforce our seat belt law.”
He listed driving under the influence and speeding as additional factors that contribute to the incidents being fatal.
“Alcohol played a part in some of them and that’s why we continue to stress not drinking and driving under influence of anything,” Jones said. “Plus speed. So those are the top three things that remain consistent not just this year but over the years.”
Jones said the office increased its patrolling on days that most accidents happen — which, for motorists in Aiken County, is Saturday.
“We tend to concentrate our efforts on the things that are causing our fatalities and we look at our crash data where the wrecks are happening, or what time of day it’s happening and we try to gear our enforcement toward those days,” Jones said. “Saturday so far has been the leading day.”