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Red-light running deaths are up by 30% since 2012

The vast majority of the drivers recently polled by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that running through a red light is extremely dangerous. However, almost one in three of them admitted to doing just that in the previous 30 days. This kind of cognitive dissonance is not uncommon in traffic safety studies. In fact, analysts suspect that it's one of the reasons why the number of fatal accidents involving red-light runners has recently surged in South Carolina and across the U.S.

Accidents involving red-light running claimed 989 lives in 2017, according to government crash data. In 65% of these cases, the road user killed was struck by the offending driver. The annual red-light running death toll has risen by a worrying 30% since 2012, and many senior police officials believe that distraction and cellphone use are largely responsible. Cars going over 45 mph cover a distance of about 100 yards in just a few seconds, which is why looking at a cellphone screen instead of the road is so dangerous.

Insurify puts Subaru Crosstrek at top of most crash-prone cars

Using a database of more than 1.6 million insurance quotes, Insurify has been able to identify 10 newer vehicles that are involved in the most at-fault crashes in South Carolina and across the U.S. The auto insurance comparison site found that accidents affect 13.64% of these 10 models altogether. At number one, with a percentage of 25.81%, was the Subaru Crosstrek.

Interestingly enough, the 2019 Crosstrek was awarded the highest possible safety rating for crash avoidance and crashworthiness by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. Though accidents are frequent, both drivers and passengers are able to walk away without major injuries in most cases. That the Crosstrek is affordable and fuel-efficient may offset some concerns that the readers of Insurify might feel.

Cognitive bias may play a role in wrongful convictions

In some cases, police or prosecutors in South Carolina and other states will engage in misconduct that wrongfully sends a defendant to prison. However, researchers from Texas State University say that defendants are wrongfully convicted based on a variety of other factors. For instance, police may develop tunnel vision after identifying the individual who they believe likely committed the crime. Instead of objectively viewing the evidence, authorities may try to make it fit their narrative.

If a case is featured prominently in the news, authorities may have a greater incentive to show that they have found whoever committed the crime in question. In one case, a teenager spent 16 years in prison after police got him to falsely confess to committing rape. In 2006, he was freed after DNA evidence cleared him of the crime. According to a member of the Innocence Project, this was an example of how the goal of a typical interrogation is to get someone to admit to a crime.

Boating and drinking laws in South Carolina

Enjoying some time out on the water in South Carolina is a favorite activity for residents and tourists alike. Milder temperatures and plenty of access to water make it a fun way to spend a day with friends and family.

However, amidst all the fun, tragedy can strike. Consuming drugs or alcohol and operating a boat is illegal and rightfully so – it is the leading cause of accidents. Become familiar with the laws and potential consequences of enjoying a few cold ones while out on the water.

IIHS study raises questions about rear-seat safety

South Carolina requires all passenger vehicle occupants to remain properly restrained at all times, but a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that seat belts may not provide adequate protection for rear-seat passengers. The road safety advocacy group says that auto makers should install the same kind of safety features in the rear of their vehicles as they do in the front, and the organization also wants federal crash tests to be revised so that more attention is paid to the injuries suffered by rear-seat passengers.

According to the IIHS, injuries suffered by rear-seat passengers are often more severe than they could be because rear seat belts rarely feature force limiters and rear airbags are far less effective than driver and front-seat passenger airbags. Force limiters reduce the severity of whiplash injuries by relaxing slightly as they cinch up in a crash. However, young children are likely safer in the back because the force of a front airbag deployment could injure them.

Poor punished for not paying citation fees, court fines

For years, politicians in South Carolina who have promised citizens to not raise taxes have been forced to increase fines and court fees as a means of running the state. Unfortunately, many of these fines and court fees result in jail time and probation when they can't be paid. Many people believe that these policies end up hurting members of the lower class.

For example, a 38-year-old man was punished by the state of Tennessee in 1999 for habitual truancy at school by not being allowed to drive. When the then-teenager drove anyway, he received two citations and more than $1,000 in fines. He couldn't pay and ended up serving time in prison. After prison, he was forced to pay a monthly visitation fee to a probation officer. Because he can't afford the fees, he has chosen not to drive, which makes working at a job difficult.

The Fourth of July is America's deadliest drunk driving holiday

South Carolina residents who plan to celebrate the upcoming Independence Day holiday by visiting friends or family members should drive with extreme caution. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration makes data about deadly car accidents available to researchers through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and the figures reveal that more fatal drunk driving crashes take place on the Fourth of July than on any other federal holiday.

Accidents involving drunk drivers claimed 1,192 lives during Fourth of July festivities between 2010 and 2017, which is 87 more deaths than the number killed over the Memorial Day weekend. The FARS data also suggests that the chances of being struck by a drunk driver are 57% higher on Independence Day than they are on other summer days. Labor Day and New Year's Day are the third and fourth most fatal holidays for drunk driving accidents.

Few federal cases actually go to trial

In fiscal year 2018, there were roughly 80,000 defendants from South Carolina and other states who were charged with federal crimes. Of those defendants, only 2% decided to take their cases to trial, and another 8% had their cases dismissed according to the Pew Research Center. That means that in 90% of cases, defendants chose to plead guilty instead of taking their cases to trial. Of those who chose to go to trial, only 320 were acquitted by a judge or a jury.

Defendants were more likely to get a better outcome in their cases if they opted for a bench trial. A bench trial allows a judge to decide a defendant's fate as opposed to a jury of his or her peers. The number of federal cases that are going to trial are decreasing while the volume of federal cases has increased since 1998.

Parking lots can be home to unexpected dangers

When people park in a South Carolina lot, they may not expect to leave with an injury. However, parking lots can be surprisingly dangerous places, especially if they are poorly maintained by the property owner. Businesses have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their employees, guests and customers. This includes working to make sure that the lot is safe. There are a number of issues that can affect people in parking lots; every year, there are over 50,000 car crashes that take place there. In addition, slip-and-fall accidents, criminal attacks and other incidents can also pose serious concerns.

In general, safer parking lots are those that are designed to prevent unnecessary accidents. It should be clear which way traffic should proceed in the lot, with signage or arrows pointing vehicles in the right direction. Many of the parking lot accidents happen because traffic is moving inconsistently or in different directions in the same space. In addition, parking lots should be sufficiently lighted. Business owners can sometimes be held accountable for outside criminal attacks if they failed to provide a safe, well-lighted space. Areas with a lack of lighting can become attractive for criminal activity.

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.

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