BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — Police say there are around 1,400 crashes in Bluffton every year.
Police say they’ve noticed a more concerning trend, this year’s rise in deadly crashes. It’s making it more dangerous for people who drive the roads every day.

“I’m mindful of myself but also other drivers as well. I try to leave early enough not to rush,” said Lola Norman, a Bluffton resident who says she sat in traffic last month for an hour and a half.

So far this year, car crashes have killed five people in Bluffton. Most recently, on Aug. 6, a motorcyclist died on Highway 278.

The Bluffton Police Department wants to do something about it but Police Chief Joe Babkiewicz said the whole community needs to help.

“Distracted driving – from driving under the influence to cell phone use – is the main cause of tragic collisions,” Babkiewicz told News 3 in a statement. “We need our community to partner with BPD about being more mindful drivers and I hope, together, we can work on this reducing collisions and these senseless loss of lives.”

Some residents I talked to said they get caught in traffic a lot. One told News 3 she’s always got her eyes on the road because anything can happen in a split second.

“Any little distractions, I know I used to and I still do it 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,” Norman said.

On Monday Babkiewicz is hosting a public meeting to remind people how to drive safely. He says after the August deadly crash he saw concern from locals on social media.

“Due to the numerous comments on social media after the recent fatality on Highway 278 last Sunday, I thought a public discussion was necessary to educate our community about the ways Bluffton officers are proactively attempting to reduce collisions,” Babkiewicz said. “However, this is a group effort. Everyone must be a part of the solution.”

Norman said if drivers looked out for each other there would be less crashes that tragically end lives.

“The little distractions, it can be anything. It can be something that you see out of the corner of your eye, you turn your head,” Norman said. “As long as your paying attention, there’s no distractions. Don’t tailgate, don’t rush, I think it would be less accidents.”

That public meeting is at the Bluffton Police Department at 6 p.m. on Monday. The chief will lay out the police’s plans on how they want to reduce crashes. Also, they’ll ask locals to sign a pledge to be more mindful drivers.