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Pee Dee Personal Injury Law Blog

SADD 'Prom Promise' anti-DUI events eye-opening for teen drivers

SADD has been busy helping teens prepare for prom this year. How? By showing them, in gruesome detail, what could happen to them in a drunk driving accident.

The anti-drunk driving group, originally called Students Against Driving Drunk, SADD has been sponsoring events nationwide in the weeks leading up to the big dance. The group has an extensive prom and graduation season campaign on its website, including the "Prom Promise," which urges teen couples to promise each other, in writing, not to drink on prom night.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month tips for non-riders

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It's also Zombie Awareness Month and Scandinavian American Heritage Month, but greater awareness of motorcycles and motorcycle safety is likely to save more lives.

Motorcycles continue to gain popularity, but unfortunately, there are still far too many serious and fatal motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a traffic crash, a motorcyclist is 26 times more likely to die than the occupant of a passenger vehicle.

What if you held a safety recall but nobody bothered to come?

According to the vehicle-history report supplier Carfax, there were approximately 46 million cars on American roads last year that were subject to safety recalls but hadn't been fixed. Automakers had notified the owners, but the owners just didn't bother to do anything.

This is a growing problem in the U.S., just at the time when we're seemingly plagued with the faultiest consumer fleet of cars in history. Last year, more than 60 million cars were recalled for safety defects, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- almost double the previous record of 30.8 million in 2004. 

How long can a driver safely look away from the road?

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which led the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety to release the results of a recent study testing how accurate the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recommendations on driver attention might be. According to the Liberty Mutual, NHTSA recommends that drivers look away from the road for no more than two seconds at 70 mph. But is that really safe?

Consider this: At 70 mph, your car travels about 100 feet per second. So, during those two seconds you've glanced away, your car has gone about 200 feet -- or two-thirds of the length of a football field. Can you afford to look away that long?

Latest NHTSA study shows how much alcohol use increases crash risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just finished the largest-ever study documenting the risks associated with drunk or drugged driving. While the results on alcohol and driving weren't entirely surprising, there was an unexpected result in terms of marijuana's role in traffic accidents.

For the Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk study, researchers interviewed and tested some 9,000 drivers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, over the course of 20 months. More than 3,000 of those drivers had been in car accidents; the others constituted a control group of drivers who had not. The non-crash drivers were chosen because they happened to be driving through the same area at the same time of the day, on the same day of the week, and in the same direction of traffic as those who had been in crashes. All of the drivers were tested for alcohol and drugs, although marijuana was the only drug used commonly enough for the findings to be considered statistically significant.

NTSB issues new warning about instability of 15-passenger vans

The large vans that are popular with nonprofits and church groups are in the news again after a tragedy last week in Florida. According to reports, a group of 18 people were overloaded into a 2000 Dodge Ram Wagon last Monday, headed for a church trip. The 15-passenger van was driven by an experienced school bus driver with a good record. Unfortunately, as they traveled down a dark rural road, the driver apparently missed a stop sign at a T-intersection. Subsequently, the van plunged into a ravine. Eight people were killed, including the driver. Ten others were injured; four of them so seriously that they were still in the hospital as of Friday.

Unfortunately, accidents like this one are all-too-common. While specific data wasn't easily available for South Carolina, the problem is pretty serious nationwide. According to federal data, between 2004 and 2010 there were 521 people killed in accidents involving 15-passenger vans.

The very basics of South Carolina boating safety

We've discussed before how South Carolina stacks up in terms of boating safety -- a mixed bag of good and bad. So, what issues contribute to boating accidents? Alcohol does, of course, and everyone agrees that it's safest to wear a life jacket, even on larger boats where it's not technically required. Also, we should keep overloaded boats and pilot error in mind.

The core issue may simply be that some boaters just don't treat an afternoon out on the boat as seriously as they should. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources provides a list of tips on how to boat more safely -- starting well before your hull hits the water. Here are a few of the top tips:

Do you really know what your teen driver is doing behind the wheel?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, more U.S. teens die from involvement in motor vehicle accidents than from any other cause. For teen drivers, inexperience is a major factor and can result in a teen making unwise and dangerous decisions while driving.

Researchers from Oregon State University recently conducted a study in which they aimed to identify causes of distracted driving among teen drivers and also gauge teens' perceptions about these dangers. While researchers likely expected teens to own up to engaging in distracting behaviors like talking to back seat passengers, tuning the radio and texting; their research yielded some interesting results.

Dangers of drunk driving magnified during St. Patrick's Day celebrations

This weekend thousands of Myrtle Beach residents will celebrate St. Patrick's Day and many more will take part in Irish-themed festivities on Tuesday. When it comes to St. Patrick's Day, everyone becomes Irish and dons their best green attire. For many people who commemorate the holiday, alcohol plays a major role in their celebration.

By now, everyone knows not to drink to and drive. It's illegal to operate a motor vehicle after drinking and individuals who choose to do so many not only face DUI charges, but could also potentially cause or be involved in a motor vehicle accident in which others are injured or killed. Holidays, like St. Patrick's Day, during which alcohol plays a major role, pose special dangers for South Carolina drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Car accidents spike Monday after daylight saving time

As residents across South Carolina prepare to turn their clocks ahead for daylight saving time, many will likely lament losing an hour of precious sleep. While one missed hour of sleep may seem insignificant, research and statistics prove that such disturbances in one's sleep pattern can adversely impact an individual’s ability to process information, focus and stay awake.

According to a survey by the Better Sleep Council, more than 60 percent of U.S. residents reported feeling the ill-effects of DST. One place people seem to especially notice the loss of sleep is when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. According to the Fatal Accident Reporting System, fatal crashes spike 17 percent the Monday following DST. What's more, the lingering effects of DST-induced drowsiness may last for days after the time change.