BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — So far car crashes have killed five people in Bluffton. Bluffton Police say distracted driving is one of the leading causes of the crashes.
“Even if the radio is up a little too loud I’ll turn it down just so I can focus and my children used to laugh and me and say ‘Why are you turning it down to see you’re hearing but the little distractions it can, anything can happen in the blink of an eye,” said Lola Norman, Bluffton resident.
Most recently on Aug. 6, a motorcyclist was killed on Highway 278. Police charged 39-year-old Carlos Acosta-Galvez with a felony DUI for that crash.
The town is on pace to reach 1,800 crashes this year which is 400 more than the average. Bluffton Police Chief Joe Babkiewicz said drivers with their eyes on their phones and not on the roads is one of the main causes.
“Whether somebody is on their phone, on their radio, or trying to change the radio or even just something as combing their hair, they’re distracted,” Babkiewicz said. “They’re being distracted from what they should be doing, which is paying attention to the roadway.”
The department is working to make roads safer but Babkiewicz said he needs your help. He said after the August deadly crash, he saw concern from locals on social media. That’s what made him start a series of public meetings to remind people how to drive safely.
He’s asking drivers to pledge to be safer and care for one another when they hit the roads.
“Not just distracted driving, but making a pledge to slow down when they’re going somewhere when their light turns green, maybe stop for 2 seconds, scan the roadway, make sure it’s safe, and then proceed forward,” Babkiewicz said. “You know, just taking a few extra seconds to be safe and be a defensive driver should help prevent a lot of these accidents.”
His message is simple, keep your eyes on the road and don’t be in a rush.
“Just pay attention as you’re driving to and from. Leave earlier if you have to see you’re not in a rush to somewhere. So you’re not running a red light, so you’re not speeding,” Babkiewicz said. “Try to take your time to get there. I’d rather you get there a little bit late and not get there at all.”