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Motor Vehicle Accidents

‘Zoom Zombies’ Behind the Wheel

So much has changed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all been forced to use our phones and computers more, whether for purchasing goods online, virtually visiting friends and relatives, or virtually meeting with business associates and/or clients. Social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions have given rise to Zoom becoming one of the most popular apps.

Could “our dependence on Zoom and other video chat software…be turning us into bad drivers?” (USAToday.com) Increased screen usage and reliance on technology is turning some drivers into “Zoom Zombies”, causing distracted zoning-out.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned that “risky driving and fatal crashes have risen sharply” in the last year, despite Americans driving less. (USAToday.com)

“A new study by Root Insurance found 54 percent of the 1,819 American adult motorists surveyed said they have had trouble concentrating on the road after videoconferences.” (NBCNews.com) This survey was taken between March 12th and March 17th, and involved drivers aged 18 and above. See the online report here.

Russ Rader, an official with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “There’s the risk of cognitive distraction, looking at the road while your thoughts are elsewhere. That zoning out may mean you don’t notice a dangerous situation soon enough to react.” (NBCNews.com)

According to the Root Insurance report, South Carolina has the most distracted drivers out of the 29 states surveyed, with 21.91 distracted driver events per 100 miles. These events can be avoided.

How can you prevent distracted driving?

  • When you get in the driver’s seat, commit to focus fully on driving, and to avoid distractions.
  • Never attempt to multi-task while driving. Ask a passenger for help, or pull over to perform other tasks, like changing a CD or updating directions on the GPS.
  • Silence or store your cell phone out of reach so that you’re not tempted to look at it or use it while driving.
  • Adjust seats, mirrors, headrest, seat belt, etc. before getting on the road.
  • As a passenger, discourage distracted driving, and help when needed.

(DefensiveDriving.org)

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information, we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session.

Other online resources used in writing this article:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210406005760/en/Beware-of-the-Zoom-Zombie-54-of-Americans-Who-Drive-After-Video-Chatting-Report-Trouble-Concentrating

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

South Carolina – The Most Dangerous Place to Drive

1.35 million people are killed every year in traffic accidents around the world. In the United States, there were 36,560 deaths resulting from car accidents in 2018. (Reviews.com) Traffic accidents are a leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 through 54. (CDC.gov)

Today’s automobiles are smarter and safer than ever, due to advanced safety technology in the last couple of decades. However, because of increasing driver error and carelessness, traffic fatalities have only decreased by 1% in the last three years.

“According to CNBC, ‘Experts suggest driving hazards such as texting while driving and higher speed limits are offsetting the benefits of safety systems like automatic emergency braking and increased seat belt usage.’” (AutoInsurance.org)

A 2020 AutoInsurance.org study analyzing “the worst states for traffic-related fatalities, the lives lost in each state, and each’s best and worst categories,” reported that South Carolina had the most traffic deaths per 100 million miles driven, of any state in the US for three consecutive years, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Here are the Palmetto State’s traffic death rates for those three years:

2016 – Deaths per 100 million miles: 1.65 (ranked 1st place in the US)

2017 – Deaths per 100 million miles: 1.86 (ranked 1st place in the US)

2018 – Deaths per 100 million miles: 1.86 (ranked 1st place in the US)

Every one of these fatalities could have been prevented. “It’s easy to blame drunk drivers, lax laws, or dangerous roads…but just one mistake made by YOU can” cause a loss of life. (AutoInsurance.org)

“Model safe driving for your family and others on the road around you. Do everything in your power to keep our roads safe and save lives.” (AutoInsurance.org)

For driving safety tips, please go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information, we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session.

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Growing Pedestrian Safety Crisis is Worsening a Health Epidemic

In the United States, 2018 was the deadliest year for pedestrians and cyclists. 6,238 pedestrians were killed. That’s a 28-year high, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “On average, 17 pedestrians and two cyclists were killed each day in traffic crashes in 2018.” (TheNewYorkTimes.com)

The pedestrian safety crisis is “an epidemic of a different kind.”(USAToday.com)

Urban Areas Had Largest Increase

Although the Census Bureau estimates population growth in urban areas only increased by 13% between 2008 and 2017, pedestrian deaths rose 69% in urban areas in the same time-period.

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association says that residents in low-income areas are more likely to walk to work, school, public transportation, or stores, “and their neighborhoods may be more neglected by city agencies, with less clear crosswalk markings and worse traffic signals and signs.”

Larger, Safer Vehicles

Automobiles are being built to keep those inside safer. However, that means those outside the vehicle may be less safe. “More than one-third of traffic fatalities now happen ‘outside the vehicle’.” Because of their height, bigger, stronger vehicles, such as SUV’s are more likely to kill a pedestrian for three reasons:

  1. SUV’s and trucks are more likely to hit a pedestrian above the waste, where vital organs are located. Lower vehicles are more likely to hit a pedestrian in the legs.
  2. It is more difficult for the driver to see a pedestrian outside of the vehicle.
  3. SUV’s and trucks are more likely to run over a pedestrian, instead of throwing them over the hood.

Distracted Driving

Experts agree that distracted driving (using cell phones and other devices) is probably a factor in increased pedestrian deaths. However, because of insufficient police reporting, data proving this is not available.

Speed Causes More Deaths

For pedestrians struck by a vehicle traveling at 40 mph or more, the risk of death is 65%. Vehicles traveling at less than 20 mph, have less than 5% chance of killing a pedestrian.

Most Stop Lights Don’t Allow Enough Time

“Traffic engineers generally program lights to provide enough time for people to cross at a pace of 3.5 feet per second,” according to Angie Schmitt (Former Streetsblog USA writer) in her exposé “Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America”. But according to AARP, many older people walk much slower, closer to 3 feet a second. A 60-foot-wide street would take an older person 24 seconds to cross. “But, they’re typically only given 15 seconds to walk across a road of that width, leaving them stranded in oncoming traffic.”

What is being done in South Carolina to stop the pedestrian safety crisis?

A 2019 study, Dangerous by Design named South Carolina the 10th most dangerous state for pedestrians.  “In the past six years, crashes on South Carolina’s roads and highways have claimed the lives of more than 900 pedestrians and bicyclists.” (PostandCourier.com)

The “Dangerous by Design” study also singled out several cities in SC that have especially troubling statistics. The Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) “is calculated based on the number of people struck and killed by drivers while walking, and it factors in both the number of people who live in the state and the number of people who walk to work.”

Greenville and Charleston had PDI’s twice the national average. Both are more urban areas, which is probably the reason for the higher PDI’s. Florence, however, has a PDI six times the national average, even though it is more rural. Florence’s roads are more designed and oriented for cars. Thus, there aren’t many sidewalks or marked crosswalks. So, it is more dangerous to walk on the rural streets of Florence. It also takes longer for emergency response teams to reach victims.

The implementation of a Complete Streets Law would help lower the PDI in SC. 18 states and Washington, DC have a Complete Streets policy, which “make communities and neighborhoods more livable, by ensuring all road users of all ages and abilities —people walking, bicycling, driving, and catching a bus – can travel safely.” (SCLivableCommunities.org) At this point, the Palmetto State does not. The South Carolina Livable Communities Alliance has been lobbying local and state officials to take the proper steps to fix the dangerous roadways in SC.

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you or someone you care about has been a victim of a pedestrian or cycling traffic accident,  schedule your free consultation by calling the Law Offices of David L. Hood at (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.

We know how difficult it can be to deal with the immediate and long-term effects of a traumatic injury. At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to make things simple for you. After a free case evaluation, if we believe we can help you and your family, Injury Attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put our years of experience to work for you!

Other online resources used in this article:

https://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu/article/view/1512

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Self-Driving Cars May Not Prevent the Most Common Car Accidents

Last year, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk had all intentions of starting to operate a fleet of self-driving robotaxis sometime this year. Now he says he’s hoping “to deploy the system with humans monitoring it in early 2021, depending on regulatory approval.”(WUSA9.com)

In the last several years, other companies have pledged to start a fully-robotic ride share service without human backup drivers as well. However, things were delayed when an Uber self-driving test vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in March of 2018. The car was unable to predict Elaine Herzberg walking her bike across the street in front of the vehicle.(BusinessInsider.com)

Believe it or not, the idea of self-driving cars first came about in 1939! General Motors (GM) introduced an autonomous car into the New York World’s Fair Futurama section (as part of its vision of the future of America in 20 years-time) that year.(Kambria.io)

“Self-driving vehicles are cars or trucks in which human drivers are never required to take control to safely operate the vehicle. Also known as autonomous or “driverless” cars, they combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle.” (UCSUSA.org)

“Self-driving car technology has long been lauded for its ability to prevent crashes related to human error.” More studies in the past several years have shown that autonomous vehicles may not be able to prevent all accidents caused by human error. In fact, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that self-driving cars will only stop about one-third of accidents caused by human error. Human error is the cause of about 94% of all U.S. car crashes. “To avoid the other two-thirds, they would need to be specifically programmed to prioritize safety over speed and convenience.” (IIHS.com)

Alexandra Mueller, lead author of the IIHS study says it’s difficult enough to build self-driving cars that drive as well as people drive; but they’d actually have to drive better than humans “to deliver on the promises we’ve all heard.”

The study shows that self-driving cars excel in these instances:

  • the driver is distracted
  • visibility is low
  • a potential hazard is recognized too late
  • the driver is impaired by drugs and/or alcohol

“For self-driving vehicles to live up to their promise of eliminating most crashes, they will have to be designed to focus on safety rather than rider preference when those two are at odds.”

The study imagines a future where all cars on the road are automated. Researchers found that accidents due to sensing and perceiving errors, as well as driver incapacitation would more than likely no longer happen, “because cameras and sensors of fully autonomous vehicles could be expected to monitor the roadway and identify potential hazards better than a human driver and would be incapable of distraction or incapacitation.” However, sensors would have to work perfectly and functions could never malfunction.

For the other two-thirds of accidents, autonomous cars would have to be specifically programmed to avoid these common errors:

  • “Predicting errors, for example, when a driver misjudges a gap in traffic, incorrectly estimates how fast another vehicle is going or makes an incorrect assumption about what another road user is going to do.
  • Planning and deciding errors, for example when a driver is going too fast or too slow for road conditions, driving aggressively or leaving too little following distance from the vehicle ahead.
  • Execution and performance errors, for example inadequate or incorrect evasive maneuvers, overcompensation and other mistakes in controlling the vehicle.”

Those developing autonomous vehicles say it could be 10 years or more before they will be carrying passengers in every city. There are a number of obstacles that they have to conquer first.

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session.

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate Spikes, Despite COVID-19 Lockdown

In March 2020, states across the country implemented stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would make sense that virtually empty roadways would mean less vehicle accidents resulting in less fatalities. In actuality, the roadways became more lethal!

“A new National Safety Council report finds that the number of motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven increased by 14% compared with the March 2019 rate.”(NPR.org) Although there was a drop of 8% in total deaths related to motor vehicle accidents, the number of miles driven also dropped by 18%, because people were staying at home, instead of getting out and about. So, although the roads were emptier, they were riskier.

“The National Safety Council (NSC) analysis counts a fatality as anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident; drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.”

Ken Kosh, manager of statistics at the NSC said what is normally seen during a recession is either a decrease in the number of motor vehicle-related deaths, or the injuries and fatality rate will hold steady or slightly decrease. “The combination of both a dramatic decrease in number of total deaths coupled with a dramatic increase in the fatality rate on our roads…was very surprising.”

Evidence is emerging that many drivers are getting more reckless on the empty roadways, and no traffic means it’s easier to speed. Reports indicate that speeding has significantly increased. “Because speed is the number one predictor of crash severity, the proportion of people dying per collision is on the rise…” (ABC7.com) “Disturbingly, we have open lanes of traffic and an apparent open season on reckless driving,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO.

Martin says we should all take it as our civic duty to drive safely during this global pandemic and crisis. We need to do it for the frontline workers, who need to be concentrating on the many coronavirus patients needing care. They do not need to be overwhelmed by preventable car accidents.

The NSC urges motorists to do the following, especially during this pandemic, to help ensure safe roads:

  • “Follow state and local directives and stay off the roads if officials have directed you do to so; many states are asking drivers to stay home except in emergency situations or for essential errands
  • Obey speed limits, even if roads are clear and traffic is light
  • Be aware of increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic as people turn to walking and biking to get out of the house safely during quarantine; conversely, pedestrians and bicyclists should remember that reduced traffic does not mean no traffic, and be careful when crossing or walking in streets
  • Practice defensive driving: Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions
  • Stay engaged with teen drivers’ habits and practice with them frequently – tips are available at org/DriveitHOME
  • Organizations and employers are encouraged to join the Road to Zero Coalition, a 1,500-member group committed to eliminating roadway deaths by 2050” (ohsonline.com)

Thankfully, South Carolina was one of eight states that had a notable decrease (12%) in the number of roadway deaths between January and March of 2020.

THE LAW OFFICES OF DAVID L. HOOD – SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session.

Other online resources used for this article:

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Fatalities from Drivers Running Red Lights Hit 10-Year High

Next time you think about running a red light, consider these statistics. In 2017, 939 people were killed when someone plowed through a red light. That is at least two people a day!

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that fatalities in red-light collisions increased in 2017, for the fifth year in a row.

In 2009, there were 715 people killed in accidents involving drivers running a red light. That’s an increase of 31% between 2009 and 2017.

This “study tracks anyone who was killed, including the driver, passengers, people in another vehicle or people outside the vehicle.”(USA Today) The study tracked the numbers back to 2008. Here are a few possible reasons for the increase:

  • Americans are driving more. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the number of miles traveled increased by 5% between 2008 and 2017.
  • Increased distractions on the roads. The recent rise of cell phones and in-vehicle infotainment systems could be contributing to the surge of drivers running red lights. Cell phones could also be the cause of pedestrians walking across the street when a light is red, causing them to be hit by an oncoming car.
  • Drivers intentionally speeding.

People know that driving through a red light is illegal. Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council (NSC) says, “It’s frustrating because it’s so obviously preventable.”(CNN.com)

Who statistically runs red lights?

A 2017 telephone survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that 93% of drivers said it’s unacceptable to run a red light if it’s possible to stop safely, but nearly 1 in 3 drivers surveyed admitted they have run a red light in the past 30 days.

“Among drivers involved in 2017 fatal red light running multiple-vehicle crashes, the red light runners were more likely than other drivers to be male, to be younger, and to have prior crashes or alcohol-impaired driving convictions. The red light runners also were more likely to be speeding or alcohol-impaired at the time of the crash and less likely to have a valid driver’s license.”(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS))

Remedies to help reduce these numbers:

  • Signal timing. Increase yellow signal time, so that drivers have more time to slow down and stop for a red light.
  • More red light cameras. Since police can’t be everywhere, “cameras are connected to the traffic signal and to sensors that monitor traffic flow just before the crosswalk or stop line. The system continuously monitors the traffic signal, and the camera captures any vehicle that doesn’t stop during the red phase.” It is standard practice for these pictures or videos to be reviewed, and tickets are only issued once there is clear evidence that a vehicle actually ran a red light.

What YOU can do to help reduce the number of red light running crashes while driving:

  • Prepare to stop by taking your foot off the accelerator, and being ready to brake when coming to an intersection with a light.
  • Pay close attention. If a light you are approaching has been green awhile, prepare to stop.
  • Tap the brake a couple of times before stopping, to get the attention of the driver behind you, in case they are being distracted.
  • Drive defensively. After stopping for a red light, give a second before proceeding and look both ways, to be sure the cross traffic is stopped.

As a pedestrian, you can:

  • Give a few seconds after the light turns green before proceeding into the intersection.
  • Stay alert. Give your full attention to what is going on, and don’t wear headphones.
  • Be visible. Stay in well-lit areas, and wear bright colors at night.
  • Make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to be sure they see you before crossing in front of them. (AAA.com)

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Serving Car Accident Victims in South Carolina

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session. From that moment until your case is closed, we will stay with you each step of the way in the fight to achieve justice for you and your family.

Other online resources used for this article:

https://www.rideapart.com/articles/368131/red-light-runner-deaths-hit-10-year-high/

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Share the Road: May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

How appropriate that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, during which the Grand Strand features two major motorcycle rallies. This time of year, South Carolina Highway Department (SCDP) responds to more motorcycle wrecks than at any other time of year.

The Grand Strand Medical Center trauma team is getting ready for “bike month”, making sure they are prepared with an increase in staff, operating room availability and supplies needed for an increase in patients. “The trauma center also has extra blood on hand.”(WPDE.com) Trauma Medical Director, Dr. Antonio Pepe said, “Patients are coming in with more severe traumas…We want you to have fun. We want you to enjoy the Myrtle Beach area, we want you to come back year after year, but also think that you do have a family that you need to get back to and to make responsible choices.”

In an accident, motorcycle riders are about 28 times more likely to be killed, than passengers in an automobile. One reason is because they are riding out in the open, without a car’s structural frame to protect them. Therefore, it’s very important to wear the proper protection:

A helmet “meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218” is the most important piece of protection. “Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet…Learn more about choosing the right helmet.”(NHTSA)

Wear leather or heavy denim on arms and legs.

Make sure your ankles are covered by boots or shoes.

Wear gloves for a better grip, and to protect hands in a crash.

Wear brightly-colored clothing, to help you be more visible to other drivers.

It’s important to remember that on the roads, motorcyclists have the same rights as automobile drivers. They also have to obey all signs and signals, just like automobile drivers. However, they face some unique safety challenges: Motorcycles are smaller, which means they are less visible. Motorcyclists have to “downshift and weave to avoid bumps and road hazards.”(NHTSA)

What you can do as an automobile driver, to help motorcycle riders stay safe:

Intersection Dangers

Take intersections extra slow, and proceed with caution. Use your side and rear-view mirrors, ensuring there is no one in your blind spots.

Stay Alert and Watch Closely for Motorcycles

Motorcycles are hard to see, and it is not easy to assess their distance from you. Weather (bright sun, rain, fog), curves in the road, and construction equipment can all make it harder to see a motorcycle on the road.

Weaving with Purpose

You may notice a motorcycle weaving. There are a couple of reasons for this: The driver is making sure you can see him/her, or the driver is dodging a hazard in the road.

Braking Issues

“Motorcyclists often downshift or roll off the throttle to slow down instead of applying their brakes.” Therefore, you will not see any brake lights. Allow more space between your car and motorcycles, so you will have more time to notice when they are slowing down or stopping.(NHTSA)

Other precautions motorcyclists can take to keep themselves safe on the roads:

  • Make sure you have the proper license to ride a motorcycle. All states require you to have a motorcycle license, even if you already have a driver’s license.
  • Get accustomed to the feel of your motorcycle, and practice riding it in a controlled area BEFORE taking it out on the road.
  • Check tire pressure, tread depth, brakes, headlights and signals before you ride.
  • If you’re carrying a passenger, make sure he/she mounts the motorcycle AFTER the engine has started. The passenger should sit directly behind you, with hands on your waist, hips or belt, and feet on the foot rests at all times.
  • Know and obey all traffic laws. Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you, and ride where you are as visible as possible.
  • Stay alcohol and drug-free.

Be safe!

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Serving Car Accident Victims in South Carolina

If you have suffered in an accident on the roads in South Carolina, and hire us, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will work to help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information, we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information here and schedule your free consultation session. From the moment you hire us, we will stay with you each step of the way in the fight to achieve justice for you and your family.

Other online resources used for this article:

https://auto.howstuffworks.com/are-motorcycles-more-dangerous-than-cars.htm

Categories
Bodily Injury Lawyer Motor Vehicle Accidents

SC Ranked 10th Most Dangerous for Pedestrians

Even though Americans are walking less, U.S. pedestrian deaths have risen by 45% since 2010. Cities are encouraging residents to walk and bike, but have not updated city streets (designed largely for motor vehicles) to accommodate pedestrians. Roads have been “engineered for fast-moving and unhindered vehicular traffic, with few pedestrian crossings…” (FastCompany.com)

Where there are pedestrian zones and/or bike lanes, they only extend for short distances, and most drivers have yet to realize that urban streets are to be shared with pedestrians.

“Adding to the dangers are distracted drivers and pedestrians and the introduction of electric scooters. Some observers also believe an epidemic of narcissism is causing more aggressive driving.”

South Carolina was recently ranked number 10 in the U.S. for dangerous places for pedestrians. Last year South Carolina was ranked number 7. While this shows some improvement, being ranked in the top 10 “underscores the profound lack of pedestrian infrastructure in South Carolina.” (PostandCourier.com)

According to South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP), there were 145 pedestrian deaths in 2016 and 1,589 in 2017, in South Carolina. So far this year, one out of every five traffic fatalities in SC has been a pedestrian. That number is higher than last year, per SCHP.

Horry County Statistics:

In Horry County, between January 2018 and January 2019, 107 pedestrian accidents occurred, with 17of those being fatal.

Cpl. Sonny Collins with SCHP says drivers and pedestrians can work together to minimize these accidents in the future. He says pedestrians should wear bright-colored clothes or reflective gear, to make them stand out. “…anything that a motorist can see you and identify where you are.” (WMBFNews.com)

Collins also says most pedestrian accidents happen at night. If you’re driving 55 mph, by the time you see something in front of you, there’s no way to stop in time. Drivers should slow down at night, and keep a close eye out for pedestrians.

Trooper Joe Hovis, SCHP spokesman, suggests pedestrians face traffic when there is no sidewalk, and NOT to walk at all if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. (The Greenville News)

Charleston Area Statistics:

According to a 2018 study by the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, the Charleston area “…accounted for more than 20 percent of bicycle and pedestrian crashes between 2009 and 2017.”

The city of Charleston’s transportation director, Keith Benjamin says SCDOT has designed roads in such a way to move vehicles from one place to another as quickly as possible, with no accommodation for pedestrians. Slower speed limits are safer for pedestrians, but under current road designs, that’s not possible. (PostandCourier.com)

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government (COG) has formed a new committee, the CHATS Safety Improvement Committee, to work with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) on ways to reduce traffic deaths.

Katie Zimmerman of the mobility nonprofit Charleston Moves serves on this committee. She said the main way to fix the problem, is to “build streets that are ‘complete’, which means they are safe and connected for people to not only drive, but also bike and walk and wait for the bus.” She wants to make sure the committee focuses on making the roads safer for all, instead of on what pedestrians and bikers need to do differently.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Serving Car Accident Victims in South Carolina

If you have suffered in an accident on the roads in South Carolina, and hire us, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will work to help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information, we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information here and schedule your free consultation session. From the moment you hire us, we will stay with you each step of the way in the fight to achieve justice for you and your family.

Other online references used in this article:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90294569/the-number-of-pedestrians-killed-by-cars-keeps-going-up

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents Wrongful Death Attorney

West Columbia Drug Clinic at Fault in Fatal Crash

Columbia Metro Treatment Center in West Columbia, and its chain owner, Colonial Management Group will pay $10.5 million to settle two wrongful death lawsuits after one of its patients, under the influence of drugs, killed an elderly couple and their grandson in a 2015 auto accident.

The order says that this lawsuit settlement almost exhausts the Orlando-based company’s available insurance coverage. Because this was a confidential settlement, the case won’t go to trial, and the public will never hear details of the allegations or the company’s responses.

The driver, 62-year-old Robert Moore Jr. had been a patient of the clinic, receiving treatment for addiction to opiates. According to the lawsuits and the company’s internet site, “Drug addicts go to the Columbia Metro Treatment Center to get regular doses of methadone, which reduces their craving for opioids, including OxyContin.” (The State Newspaper)

The lawsuit alleged that Columbia Metro Treatment Center irresponsibly prescribed Methadone to Moore, who mixed it with other drugs. Moore left the clinic on November 20, 2015 heading west on U.S. 375. He veered into eastbound traffic on U.S. 378, striking two vehicles, and then slammed into an SUV head-on. The SUV burst into flames.

Harry Gunnells, 73, his wife Barbara, and their grandson, Cooper Gunnells, were in the SUV, and were killed in the accident. “Their estates sued the drug-treatment center and its owner.”

Harry and Barbara were killed instantly, but Cooper, “who suffered from spina bifida, was pinned in the wreckage and was “burned by the flames and suffocated by the smoke,” according to one of the lawsuits.”

Moore survived the crash, but died soon thereafter.

A little over five years prior, Moore had become addicted to pain-killing drugs after a back injury. In that five years, the clinic had never tried to detox Mr. Moore, or wean him from the “addictive substances for which he initially sought treatment, the lawsuits alleged.”

A week before the fatal crash, Columbia Metro had drug-tested Moore, who tested positive for methadone, amphetamines, Xanax and OxyContin. Moore was under the influence of methadone, Xanax, and Adderall on the day of the crash, an autopsy showed. Xanax and Methadone have a side effect of sleepiness. Adderall can cause seizures.

These four deaths could have been prevented by Columbia Metro cutting off Moore’s access to Methadone. In the complaint, Cooper’s attorney said, “The fatal injury and conscious pain and suffering … was the direct, proximate, result of Columbia Metro’s negligent, grossly negligent and reckless conduct.”

Contact the Law Offices of David L. Hood for a Free Wrongful Death Consultation

If someone you care about has died due to someone else’s negligence, please schedule your free consultation by calling the Law Offices of David L. Hood at (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.

We know how difficult it can be to deal with the immediate and long-term effects of a wrongful death. At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to make things simple for you. After a free case evaluation, if we believe we can help you and your family, Wrongful Death Attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put our years of experience to work for you!

*Clients are not liable for any expenses, unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses.

Other online references used for this article:

South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, https://sclawyersweekly.com/news/2018/12/10/methadone-clinic-settles-fatal-crash-suit-for-10-5m/

Categories
Motor Vehicle Accidents

Drowsy Driving Comparable to Drunk Driving

The holidays are quickly approaching, and there will be many travelers on the roads, many driving after a long day at work. Some will be driving after getting virtually no sleep.

Our busy lives can make the roads a dangerous place, especially when so many are on the roads. Fatigue can be caused by many factors: a new baby keeping you awake at night, work, staying out late with friends, or a long, monotonous drive.

Living in a 24/7 society makes it hard to get the sleep we need, due to long work hours, longer commutes, and “exponential advancement of technology.” Scientists have found that driving after getting less than four hours of sleep a night is like “driving with a blood alcohol concentration roughly 1.5 times the legal limit.” (HealthDay, https://consumer.healthday.com/sleep-disorder-information-33/misc-sleep-problems-news-626/drowsy-driving-as-risky-as-drunk-driving-737834.html)

Police and hospital reports are used by NHTSA to determine the number of drowsy-driving crashes. In 2015, police reported over 72,000 crashes involving drowsy drivers. These accidents caused 41,000 injuries and 824 deaths.

A study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examining data on 5,470 crashes, found that an estimated 7% of U.S. car accidents and 16% of all fatal collisions involve sleepy drivers.

Unfortunately, determining an exact number of crashes, injuries and fatalities due to drowsy-driving is not possible. “Crash investigators can look for clues that drowsiness contributed to a crash, but these clues are not always identifiable or conclusive.” (NHTSA, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving)

Research shows that those who get less than seven hours of sleep at night are not only more likely to be in a car accident, but to actually cause the crash. Although experts say adults need seven to nine hours of sleep at night, surveys show that 20% of Americans fall short of this recommendation.

Being awake also does not mean you’re alert. “Sleep-deprived drivers are still at increased risk of making mistakes – like failing to notice something important, or misjudging a gap in traffic – which can have tragic consequences.”

Tips to Avoid Driving Drowsy

  • Getting seven to nine hours of sleep on a daily basis is the best way to avoid driving drowsy. For more information on healthy sleep, see the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the start of a long family car trip.
  • Advise teens to delay driving until they’re well-rested. Teens need more sleep than they realize.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before driving. Alcohol consumption increases sleepiness and impairment.
  • Check prescriptions and over-the-counter labels on medicines you take to be sure drowsiness is not a side-effect. If so, use public transportation when possible.
  • Avoid driving during peak sleepiness periods (midnight to 6:00AM and late afternoon).

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Serving Car Accident Victims in South Carolina

If you have suffered a collision in South Carolina, the legal team at the Law Offices of David L. Hood will help you navigate the situation professionally. We have years of experience in helping people involved in serious accidents figure out the legal requirements and details needed to move forward after an accident. After gathering all the necessary information we will pour our efforts into building your case to get a fair settlement or take it to court if the need arises.

Our entire team has years of experience representing various clients and car accident victims in South Carolina. Having a passion to help, we offer a free initial consultation where we provide candid legal advice on what options you may have. If you choose to work with us, we promise a contingent-fee based case, where you don’t pay unless we get a recovery in your case.

You can find our contact information on the page here and schedule your free consultation session. From that moment until your case is closed, we will stay with you each step of the way in the fight to achieve justice for you and your family.

Other online references used in this article: Safety and Health, https://www.lds.org/callings/church-safety-and-health/training-and-video-resources/drowsy-driving?lang=eng