Startling rate of Hispanic fatalities

Image by flickr user mlcastleImage by 20080609pedestrian.jpg North Charleston officials have undertaken an aggressive program to reduce Hispanic fatalities when crossing the road.

Five Hispanic pedestrians have been killed on Ashley Phosphate Road since 2006. That's just shy of nine percent of the 57 Hispanic pedestrians that have been killed in the state since 2001.

North Charleston Councilwoman Rhonda Jerome recently addressed the public at a monthly crime and safety meeting at the New Covenant Church of God about the dangers of crossing the road. The Post and Courier quoted her: "No matter what their cultural background, if you look at the statistics, it's going to be a male traveling at night who's had something to drink."

North Charleston traffic officer Pfc. Brian West also offered this advice to those in attendance, according to The Post and Courier: "I can't stress how important it is to use the crosswalks. If you're hit outside the crosswalks, you're at fault."

Regardless of your opinion on whether these deaths are connected to legal or illegal immigration, the expense of medical care and scene investigation by police is starting to make a few bilingual signs look cheap. And, we wonder if it's time area municipalities looked into some jaywalking penalties.

Statewide, Hispanic pedestrians have made up about 8 percent of all pedestrian fatalities, a large number as estimates peg the Hispanic population around 3 to 4 percent of the state total.

If you're interested, we particularly recommend reading The Post and Courier's story for listings of the five Ashley Phosphate Road fatalities and more details.

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