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Myrtle Beach Legal Blog

Insurance data reveals that larger vehicles are safer

Motor vehicle accident injuries and fatalities have increased sharply in South Carolina and around the country in recent years despite significant advances in automobile safety features and systems. Auto insurance rates are based on risk, and insurers use the results of federal crash tests and records kept by the Highway Loss Data Institute to set premiums and determine the effectiveness of vehicle safety systems.

Modern cars, trucks and SUVs protect their occupants with up to 10 airbags, and many luxury models feature autonomous electronic systems that take over in emergency situations to avoid a crash. However, even the most effective safety features cannot overcome the laws of physics. Larger and heavier vehicles provide more protection in a crash, and the HLDI figures reveal that the occupants of small sedans are twice as likely to submit medical payment claims. Very large pickup trucks have the lowest number of medical payment claims according to the HLDI.

Businesses responsible for keeping customers safe

When people in Myrtle Beach head to a store, movie theater or other public space, they don't expect to be injured during their trip. However, when business owners do not maintain their properties or clear away hazards, slip-and-fall accidents could pose a major risk. While many think of slip-and-fall accidents as minor problems resulting only in discomfort, people can be seriously injured, especially when falling from a significant distance or onto a hard or rocky surface. In addition, people with pre-existing disabilities may have extra reason to be concerned about the effect of such an accident.

There are a number of ways that people could be hurt in a business. Floors could be left wet and slippery with no warning sign to offer customers some notification of the need to protect themselves. Businesses may not pick up items scattered on the floor, leaving them as obstacles. The weather can also play a role in these types of accidents when a business fails to clear away ice and snow that could lead to slippery surfaces. Escalators and stairs present their own risks, especially if they are not properly maintained with mechanical defects or loose handrails.

Roller coaster derailment injures 9 people

Many South Carolina residents enjoy going to amusement parks and riding on roller coasters. While these rides are mostly safe, accidents sometimes occur. Recently, a roller coaster derailed in Daytona Beach, Florida, causing two people to fall 34 feet to the ground and leaving two others dangling from the ride until they were rescued.

According to news reports, the roller coaster had been inspected on the morning of the accident and passed its inspection. It was inspected a second time after the accident and found to be deficient because of a structural integrity problem. In two previous inspections in May, the roller coaster had failed because of several different deficiencies. However, those issues had been corrected before the accident.

Why drowsy driving isn't safer than drunk driving

It has been reported that 60 percent of adults in the United States have driven while drowsy. While South Carolina residents may not worry about driving while tired, it can be similar to driving while drunk. Those who have been awake for 24 straight hours are just as impaired as someone who has a blood alcohol content of .10 percent. In situations where someone is in a car with a drowsy driver, he or she may want to volunteer to drive.

If that is not possible, the driver should be encouraged to stop the car and take a nap. It can also be beneficial for someone to get a coffee or soda to help him or her perk up temporarily. Key signals that a driver is drowsy include excessive yawning or drifting out of the proper lane. Tired drivers may also have a hard time remembering where they are.

Drunk driving charges for rap celebrity Mac Miller

Myrtle Beach is full of people out to have fun and enjoy a good time, but some unwisely choose to get behind the wheel of a car after an evening at a club or bar. Drunk driving charges can be quite common even if they can carry severe penalties. On May 17, music star Mac Miller was arrested on drunk driving charges in California after he reportedly ran into a utility pole in the San Fernando Valley before driving away.

Miller, a 26-year-old rapper, is accused of driving his Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon into the power pole in the early morning hours. The celebrity performer allegedly drove away from the scene at the time, but he was arrested shortly thereafter at his home. His visible license plates were matched to his home address by the Los Angeles Police Department. After he was taken into custody and charged with drunk driving, he was held on $15,000 bail. After paying the bond, he was released with a scheduled court appearance on June 7.

When a car crash results in a traumatic brain injury

Driving on South Carolina streets and roads can be challenging at times, especially at the height of vacation season. Sadly, car crashes are all too frequent occurrences. While some are minor fender-benders, others can result in catastrophic injuries with lasting consequences.

One of the most frightening injuries you can suffer in an auto accident is a traumatic brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nationwide, over 286,000 people suffer a crash-related TBI annually.

Car accident deaths targeted by safety coalition

Myrtle Beach drivers take their lives in their hands every time they get behind the wheel. One coalition is bringing together government officials, industry leaders and safety advocates in order to reduce the risks of driving and cut roadway fatalities. The Road to Zero Coalition is so named because the coalition aims to achieve the goal of zero traffic deaths in the United States by the year 2050.

Deaths due to car accidents are of particular concern because they are on the rise. In 2016, 37,461 people were killed in vehicle crashes, a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year. This means that every day, over 100 Americans are killed on the roadways. Truck accidents are also a concern: The number of fatal truck crashes rose by 5.4 percent in 2016, killing 4,317 people, including 722 truck drivers. Of the trucks involved in these fatal accidents, 80 percent weighed more than 26,000 pounds.

Southwest engine explosion could lead to multiple lawsuits

South Carolina readers may have heard that a passenger was killed when an engine exploded on a Southwest Airlines flight on April 10. The accident could lead to multiple lawsuits against the airline, which had a spotless fatality record until the incident.

Southwest Flight 1380 was flying from New York to Dallas when one of its engines blew apart and shot shrapnel into a fuselage window, breaking it open. The cabin of the plane then rapidly depressurized and a female passenger was partially sucked out of the window. Other nearby passengers were able to pull the woman back in, but she suffered grave injuries. Meanwhile, with a lost engine, the plane began to quickly descend, making passengers fear for their lives. Luckily, the pilot regained control of the plane and successfully executed an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Distracted driving can leave a trail of mayhem

Distracted driving is a major hazard on South Carolina roadways. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Considering the increasing popularity of smartphone use, the problem could be getting worse.

While distracted driving leads to a large number of deaths, the vast majority of victims escape with injuries. Approximately 391,000 people were injured in 2015 crashes related to distracted driving. Texting while driving is perhaps the most infamous form of distracted driving because its effects can be so severe. When a driver going 55 miles per hour pulls their eyes from the road to text for five seconds, they will drive the length of a football field. On far too many occasions, that distracted period can end in a severe crash.

Learning the common causes of highway deaths

The highways of South Carolina see their fair share of accidents, many of them fatal. Understanding what the most common factors are in these accidents may help drivers be more alert. Some factors may inevitably force drivers to drive more cautiously, such as wet roads. Rain and snow also reduce visibility. Highway designs, when built around certain geographical features, may naturally incorporate tight curves and narrow shoulders. Drivers could also come upon blind intersections.

Most highway fatalities are due to human negligence or recklessness. For instance, drivers can engage in distracted behavior like eating, adjusting the radio, and even putting on makeup. With smartphones and in-car entertainment systems, the temptation to take one's attention from the road is greater than ever. Another factor in fatalities can be anger. Road rage leads many to make irrational and unsafe decisions.

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