The S.C. Department of Public Safety on April 27 held its memorial service for those killed in 2018 traffic collisions on South Carolina roadways.

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The annual event is a solemn occasion that draws hundreds of family members and friends to remember and grieve with others having suffered similar losses. In 2018, 1,038 motorists lost their lives on South Carolina roadways.

The memorial service, which has taken place annually since 1988, was held at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce and drew hundreds of family members and friends of those killed on South Carolina roadways this past year. People from across South Carolina, as well as other states – including some as far away as Ohio and Florida – attended.

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Senior Pastor Dr. Eddie Coakley of Trinity Baptist delivered the “Message of Hope.” SCDPS Director Leroy Smith also offered words of comfort and condolence to the families.

“Every year, this ceremony stands as a sheer reminder of the pain that highway fatalities cause for the grieving families who have lost loved ones on our state’s roadways,” Smith said. “Our law enforcement officers and first responders must remain vigilant and continue to focus on our mission of Target Zero highway deaths.”

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Tragically, on the very weekend those killed in 2018 were being remembered, 10 more people died on the state’s roadways. The toll brought the South Carolina’s number of traffic deaths to 281 as of April 28. If there is any good news to be found in numbers from SCDPS, it is that deaths are down from this time a year ago, when 305 had been killed.

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But with Memorial Day upcoming and the busy summer driving season ahead, we fear more tragedy is in store. Beyond the pleas for driver responsibility and advice on how to stay safe, there is little to do other than continue warning people that danger on the road is not something to take for granted. Crashes happen – and not just to someone else.

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