Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Across South Carolina, the number of fatal car accidents in overall is decreasing, but the number of deaths in Richland County is rising.
According to the yearly report put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of traffic related deaths from 2008 through the midway point of 2013 has fallen, a News19 analysis shows.
Numbers from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety show the number of deaths in Richalnd County have risen every year since 2010.
"A lot of it has to do with not focusing," said Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Pearson with the department's Traffic Safety Unit. "People seem to be too busy with not driving when they're in their car. It could be eating -- I've seen people down the road and I've seen people with laptops up on their steering wheels driving down the road."
Pearson also said Richland is consistently ranked among the highest populations in the state, and that may have account for the higher number of accidents.
"There's a heavy populace in our infrastructure," Deputy Pearson said. "You know, we've got a lot of interstates in and out of our county, so our population rises during the work week."
Deputy Pearson also points out that for the most recent years in which there is reliable data, the number of DUI related deaths has fallen from 24 in 2010, to 16 in 2011.
The SCDPS website shows 346 people have been killed on state highways and roads through June of this year, down from 426 deaths at the same time in 2012.
Through June of this year, 31 people have lost their lives, opposed to 26 deaths all of 2012.