Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Wayne Sarasua

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela Murray-Tuite

Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer Ogle


South Carolina consistently ranks in the top-10 in fatal crashes per 100,000 capita and 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This thesis summarizes an analysis of contributing factors for fatal crashes in South Carolina. A primary objective of this thesis is to investigate differences in contributing factors for fatal crashes as compared to all crashes in South Carolina. 2018 South Carolina fatal crashes (N=970) and all crashes (N=152,973) were analyzed and compared using classic Venn diagrams to compare differences in contributing factors between fatal crashes and all crashes. Fatal, non-fatal, and all crashes were aggregated into one of seven possible contributing categories based on crash contributing factor assignment as either driver, environment, vehicle, or a combination thereof. The data showed that the driver contributes to 94.9% of all crashes, which is like findings from earlier studies. An interesting finding of this research is that only 83.6% of fatal crashes had a driver contribution. Even more interesting, the contribution from environmental factors increased from 18.1% in all crashes to 49.6% in fatal crashes. Odds Ratios were used to quantify the strength of associations between fatal crashes and non-fatal crashes for specific contributing factors associated with the aggregated contributing factor categories. From these Odds Ratios, it was found that non-motorist contributing factors have a disproportionate association with fatal crashes compared to non-fatal crashes. Fixed objected related crashes were also found to have significant odds ratios values as well. Also, 2020 South Carolina fatal crash data (N=960) and all-crash data (N=133,189) were analyzed to compute Odds Ratios in comparison to 2018 South Carolina crash data to quantify the changes in fatal crash contributing factors considering the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings will be useful to South Carolina officials as statewide countermeasure plans are developed and implemented to ultimately help achieve the mission of “Target Zero,” which is to eliminate fatalities on South Carolina’s roadways.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.