Since our office regularly represents people who have been seriously injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle collision, we are well aware of the tragic frequency at which automobile crashes happen on the highways of South Carolina.
Still, it is with great concern that we review the most recent collection of traffic collision facts published by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
The “Crash Clock”
How often does a traffic collision occur in South Carolina? You might be surprised to learn that, statistically speaking, a wreck happens about every 4.4 minutes. Of course, not every collision results in an injury. Some are just “fender benders,” which is the good news. The bad news is that a collision involving an injury does happen about every 15.4 minutes, and someone is killed in a car accident every 10.6 hours in South Carolina.
Statistics involving particular groups are equally alarming. Teen drivers are involved in accidents every 1.5 hours, and children under six are seriously injured or killed about every 7.9 days. When all is said and done, over 800 people lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents in South Carolina each year, and another 50,000 or so are hurt.
The overall number of collisions in South Carolina has risen steadily over the years, keeping pace with both population increases and the rapidly rising number of hours the average American spends on the road each year. Interestingly, however, the number of fatalities has remained fairly constant over the past 40 years. Some 821 fatalities occurred in 1975, and 823 happened in 2014. (The highest number of fatalities was 1,093 in 2005, and the lowest was 730 in 1982.)
Causes of Car Accidents in South Carolina
By far, the most common contributing factor in both fatal and non-fatal collisions is driver error, followed very distantly by environmental factors, vehicle defects, roadway issues, and non-motorists. Specific contributing factors attributed to drivers themselves include driving under the influence, driving too fast for the conditions, failing to yield the right of way, following too closely, aggressively operating a vehicle, improperly changing lanes, disregarding a sign or traffic signal, and distracted driving.
“Distracted driving” can include texting, the use of a cell phone or another electronic device, eating, grooming, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, and other actions that interfere with the driver’s primary task of operating the automobile safely. Distracting driving accounts for a growing percentage of accidents both in South Carolina and nationally, especially among younger drivers.
How to Get Help if You Have Been in a South Carolina Car Accident
If you are among those unfortunate drivers, passengers, and pedestrians counted in the most recent statistics of South Carolina car accident victims, you should talk to a lawyer about your right to seek compensation from the driver who caused the wreck. If you can prove that the other driver was negligent (or failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner), you may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Law Offices of Patrick E. Knie helps those involved in car accidents in and around Spartanburg and Greenville. Call us at (864) 582-5118 for a free case consultation.
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