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Pee Dee Personal Injury Law Blog

This Thanksgiving, South Carolina drivers reminded not to drink and drive

Next week, people across South Carolina will gather with family members and friends to eat, drink and give thanks. While the many traditions that accompany the annual Thanksgiving holiday may warm our hearts, state residents are reminded to be smart and safe when it comes to drinking and driving.

During 2012, South Carolina ranked seventh in the nation for the highest number of drunk driving-related fatalities. With the approaching holiday season, the non-profit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving is commemorating its 28th annual campaign, Tie One On for Safety.

No one plans to be invovled in a car accident

Many residents in South Carolina drive on a daily basis. For some, the act of driving becomes routine and drivers who commuting to work may essentially go into autopilot mode. In many cases, it isn't until a driver encounters a potentially dangerous situation that he or she realizes the many dangers associated with driving.

At any moment, a driver and his or her passengers could be involved in a car accident. While this fact isn't one that most drivers spend much time thinking about one a daily basis, it's one that likely resonates for the families of the 548 people who, as of September, had been killed in traffic accidents throughout the state this year.

Are you addicted to your cellphone?

While at work, at the gym, walking down the street or eating in a restaurant; nearly everywhere you go these days you're bound to see people talking and texting on their cellphones. Indeed, cellphones and their usage have permeated the lives of U.S. residents. According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 90 percent of U.S. adults have a cellphone and nearly 60 percent have smart phones.

People love their cellphones and many rely upon these expensive gadgets for their entertainment, information and communication needs. An April 2012 report from the Pew Research Center showed that 67 percent of cellphone users routinely checked their phones for messages or alerts and nearly 30 percent indicated they couldn't imagine living without their cellphones.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of a fatal drunk driving accident

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, during 2012 alone, more than 10,300 people in the U.S. were killed in drunk driving-related motor vehicle accidents. For the surviving family members of individuals killed in fatal drunk driving accidents, their extreme grief is often accompanied by a strong desire to prevent other families from suffering a similar tragic loss.

In the wake of a fatal drunk driving car accident, a thorough investigation will be conducted. The driver who chose to drive while under the influence of alcohol will face serious criminal charges. Family members of an individual who is killed due to the negligent acts of a drunk driver may also choose to pursue legal action and file a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

Are in-vehicle voice-activated systems the solutions to distracted driving?

Today, for many people in the U.S., technology permeates nearly every aspect of life. This is especially the case when it comes to how people find information and communicate with one another. The prolific use of personal computers, cellphones and tablets has forever changed how people find and share information and ideas and, for many, the use of these types of devices to complete a variety of daily tasks has become second-nature.

However, mobile devices like cellphones and personal tablets can be highly distracting when used by a driver who is attempting to compose a text message or look up a phone number. In fact, texting while driving has been deemed so dangerous and distracting that 44 states now have anti-texting laws.

When can a wrongful death lawsuit be filed?

In the wake of a loved one's death, family members are likely to feel great sadness. These feelings of sadness are often intensified and accompanied by others including anger and grief when a loved one's death is sudden and the result of a motor vehicle accident. In cases where a loved one is killed in an accident caused by another driver's negligent actions, surviving family members may choose to take legal action.

Family members may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit in cases where a loved one was killed by a drunk driver, a driver who was speeding or a driver who ran a red light. Compensation sought in a wrongful death lawsuit chiefly relates to the financial losses suffered by surviving family members.

The dangers of aggressive driving

Many South Carolina drivers have likely witnessed or perhaps even engaged in a driving behavior that would be classified as being aggressive in nature. While most drivers would likely cite driving behaviors such as running a red light, failing to stop at a stop sign and drunk driving as being extremely dangerous in nature; many fail to acknowledge that speeding, tailgating and failing to signal are also dangerous driving behaviors that frequently contribute to car accidents.

While certain driving behaviors that are classified as being aggressive in nature may be perceived as being more dangerous, approximately one-third of all motor vehicle accident fatalities involve a driver who was speeding. Yet, despite the dangers associated with speeding, the behavior is widely accepted and practiced by drivers throughout the U.S.

South Carolinians and visitors reminded of safe boating practices

With more than 470,000 miles of lakes, rivers and ocean coastline, South Carolina residents readily enjoy boating and swimming. While certainly enjoyable, recreational boating is not without its dangers and last year the state's Department of Natural Resources reported that a total of 28 people died in South Carolina boating accidents.

Alcohol plays a factor in many boating accidents that result in injuries and fatalities. It's legal to have an open container on a boat and boat passengers frequently enjoy sipping an alcoholic beverage while crusing a lake or river. The driver of a boat, however, should not drink alcohol as doing so is illegal and impairs a diver's ability to think clearly and react in emergency situations. 

As drivers age, safety issues should be addressed

As the millions of men and women who make up the baby boomer generation age, many will continue to drive well into their 80s and beyond. For these individuals and their family members, there are certain safety issues that must be discussed and addressed.

Many baby boomers have driven their whole lives and strongly value the freedom and independence that having a car and driver's license affords. There are, however, physical and cognitive signs that may indicate an individual should limit when or where they drive or even give up driving altogether.

The sobering statistics about motorcycle accidents

With no airbags, seatbelts or reinforced steel protective frames; when a car or truck hits a motorcycle the first point of contact is often a motorcyclist's body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2001 to 2008, more than 1.2 million people received emergency medical care after being involved in a motorcycle accident and "more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed" in traffic accidents. 

Today, U.S. drivers drive at higher speeds and are more distracted than drivers of previous decades. These two factors combined make South Carolina roads and highways a dangerous place for motorcyclists. It's important, therefore, that motorcyclists take steps to protect themselves and reduce the likelihood of causing or being involved in a serious or fatal accident.