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Myrtle Beach Legal Blog

Breahtalyzer may give false positive for drivers on keto diet

When a South Carolina driver is accused of drunk driving, the authorities may use a breathalyzer device to determine his or her blood alcohol concentration. However, these devices are not always accurate, potentially leading to a false positive that could result in a person being unnecessarily arrested and charged.

One attorney located in Houston, Texas, had a strange case where a driver who was charged with a DUI after taking a breathalyzer test was found not to be over the limit at all. It turns out that the driver was on the keto diet, which may have led the breathalyzer to give a false positive. The keto diet causes the liver to break down fat to turn into fuel instead of carbohydrates, creating acetone as a by-product in the body. Some of this acetone is released through the breath as isopropyl alcohol, which may be read as ethanol alcohol by breathalyzers.

Trampoline park goers more likely to suffer fracture than at home

Trampoline parks are becoming a popular attraction in South Carolina, as elsewhere in the U.S., but experts don't know how safe they really are. In January 2019, the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons published the results of a study comparing the rate of severe injuries, mainly dislocations and fractures, at trampoline parks and on home trampolines.

Researchers analyzed 439 patients with trampoline-related injuries. In general, 66% were injured on home trampolines and 34% at trampoline parks. However, this included all injuries in general. When considering severe injuries, 55% were incurred at trampoline parks compared to 44% at home. Among children, the fracture rate was 59% for the parks and 47% for home trampolines; among adults, the rates were 45% and 17%, respectively.

Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in South Carolina?

Motorcycle helmet laws are a controversial topic among bikers. Some believe the laws are protective, whereas others believe they infringe on personal rights. There is no federal law on the matter. Each state sets its own regulations concerning helmet use.

With many motorcycle rallies happening in South Carolina, it is important you become familiar with the state's laws on motorcycle helmets before you visit.

Study reveals worrying distracted driving trends

A recently released study from an auto insurance company reveals that motorists in South Carolina and around the country who routinely use their cellphones while driving are quick to criticize others for doing the same thing. The study, which was conducted by a research firm in Virginia on behalf of Root Insurance, discovered that American drivers use their smartphones while behind the wheel for approximately 13 minutes each day. However, 89% of the motorists polled claimed that they would give an Uber or Lyft driver a poor rating for behaving in the same way.

Prior research into the problem of distracted driving suggests that this cognitive dissonance is largely the product of the inflated view that most drivers have of their skills. When asked to compare their driving abilities to Uber or Lyft operators, 90% told researchers that they were safer and more talented drivers. This could explain why almost 40% of the motorists polled said that they continue to use their phones even when they notice a police car.

The Weather Channel sued over fatal storm chaser crash

South Carolina readers might be interested to learn that The Weather Channel is being sued by the family of a man who was killed during a high-speed tornado chase involving the stars of the TV show "Storm Wranglers." The accident was livestreamed by the pair, who were also killed in the crash.

According to authorities, celebrity storm chasers Kelley Williamson and Randy Yarnall were pursuing a tornado near Spur, Texas, on March 28, 2017, when they allegedly drove through a stop sign and smashed into a vehicle driven by a 25-year-old storm watcher spotter employed by the National Weather Service. The spotter, Williamson and Yarnall were all killed in the collision.

State lawmakers tackle distracted driving

The most severe penalty a driver can face in South Carolina for texting behind the wheel is a $25 fine. An epidemic of cellphone use by motorists and a worrying rise in distracted driving accidents have prompted many lawmakers in Columbia to back a bill that would sharply increase this penalty and introduce the new law of driving while under the influence of an electronic device. That bill was read on Jan. 8 and is now being scrutinized by a House committee, but lawmakers in Nevada are taking a different approach.

The penalties for distracted driving are only applied when motorists are caught, but, unlike drunk driving, distraction leaves no obvious clues for police officers. Nevada lawmakers are considering addressing this law enforcement impediment by issuing peace officers with innovative new devices. Textalyzers plug into cellphones and reveal how the devices were used during the previous few minutes.

Changing clocks for Daylight Savings may increase crash risk

Daylight Savings Time requires people in South Carolina to spring their watches forward one hour in March, costing them at least one hour of sleep that night in the process. According to the Foundation for Traffic Safety, operated by AAA, missing one or two hours of the recommended sleep time in a single period of 24 hours may as much as double the person's risk of a car accident. Typically, drivers require seven hours of sleep each night in order to drive safely.

According to the director of the Foundation for Traffic Safety, research indicates that people who have slept for less than five hours the night before have a risk of crash comparable to a person who is driving drunk. They cannot fail to get enough sleep and still be expected to safely operate a motor vehicle, he said. In a survey of drivers, 95 percent said they think drowsy driving is completely unacceptable and a serious safety threat. At the same time, almost 30 percent of respondents said they had driven so tired they had trouble keeping their eyes open in the previous month.

South Carolina man accused of causing 4-car drunk driving crash

A 45-year-old South Carolina man who police believe caused a four-car accident in Horry County on the night of Feb. 16 has been charged with felony DUI and drug possession. Two individuals suffered what news reports describe as life-threatening injuries in the crash, which took place near the intersection of 29th Avenue North and U.S. Route 17 in Myrtle Beach at approximately 8:00 p.m. Initial accounts do not reveal if any other road users were injured.

According to a Myrtle Beach Police Department report, officers at the accident scene detected the odor of alcohol on the man's breath. The man is said to have asked to speak with an attorney after refusing to submit to a breath test. After obtaining a search warrant, officers transported the man to a nearby medical facility for a blood draw.

The factors behind automobile accidents

For South Carolina residents, automobile accidents are an all-too-common occurrence. Often, when people pass an automobile accident, they wonder why it happened. Law enforcement officials are interested in the same question. They want to know who or what caused the accident as this will influence to whom they give a ticket. Insurance companies are also interested in this question because identifying who is at fault will determine which insurance company will have to pay for the accident. It can also determine who receives compensation and how much that compensation will be.

A number of automobile accidents are caused by people driving under the influence. It could be that they're under the influence of alcohol or drugs or even prescription medication. When a person is under the influence of a substance, be it legal or illegal, they do not have a clear mind. As a result, they do not make the best decisions, thereby increasing their risk of an accident.

3 tips for avoiding distracted driving

Lawmakers in South Carolina are ready to crack down on drivers who use their cell phones while behind the wheel. Some have proposed legislation that would outlaw even touching a phone outside a single touch to end a phone call. 

Even without laws, drivers need to be aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. It greatly increases the driver's chances of being in a car accident, putting other people's safety at risk, as well. However, distracted driving encompasses more than texting and driving. Here are other ways you can be a safer driver. 

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