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Richland County Sheriff's Office warning drivers to watch for kids playing

As summer quickly approaches the Richland Sheriff's Office is trying to make sure kids stay safe near roadways.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County deputies have issued a general reminder on their Facebook page telling residents to watch for kids. As we get closer to the summer months, more kids are expected to be outside playing and the Sheriff's Office wants drivers to be on alert.

Columbia mom, Dorothee Walters says she is glad the Sheriff's Office is taking the time to caution drivers.

"Just keeping an eye on the road, and being mindful and texting maybe later when you get home is really important because you just don't know," Walters said. "There's little guys running around everywhere."

Dorothee has a 5-year-old son and says they spend all summer outside playing. However, she has already had to teach him about watching for cars in their neighborhood.

"The majority of the time we're pretty good as long as we keep an eye out. We're trying to teach him to stop and look both ways and all the safety measures that are needed to be as safe as possible," Walters explained.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 153 people were hit by cars last year, which is a 79 person increase from 2020.

RELATED: Verify: Yes, pedestrian deaths are at a 30-year high

Deputy Josh Hall with Richland County's traffic division says he works many of those accidents and says he does not want to see any pedestrians hit this summer.

In the Briarwood Neighborhood of Columbia, there are several homes with young families. Hall says the Sheriff's Office gets frequent calls about people speeding through the area. 

Deputy Hall shared four suggestions for how to keep kids safe this summer.

  1. Keep a close eye on your children when they are outside.
  2. Only play in the backyard or enclosed areas away from roadways.
  3. Wear bright colors when near a roadway.
  4. Put up signs to warn drivers.

Deputy Hall says the biggest thing he sees is distracted driving and warns people to keep their eyes on the road, or get a ticket.

As for drivers this summer, the Richland County Sheriff's Office recommends keeping your eyes on the road at all times, not swerving to avoid potholes, checking mirrors and turning around to look before you start backing up.

RELATED: City of Columbia releases pedestrian, bicyclist counts

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