Minnesota Cracks Down on Distracted Driving

distracted driving

Minnesota Authorities Hand Out 550 Distracted Driving Tickets in 10 Days

distracted drivingBetween April 11th and April 20th, Minnesota law enforcement agencies cited 550 drivers for distracted driving, especially texting and driving, as part of an education campaign.

According to the preliminary information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the 10-day distracted driving education campaign included:

1,394 citations for not wearing seat belts

25 citations for not using child restraints

417 actions (378 citations and 39 arrests) taken against driving after revocation, driving after suspension, or driving after cancellation

15 DWI arrests.

“The number of citations made in just those 10 days shows that far too many drivers still make poor choices behind the wheel,” said Donna Berger, OTS director. “Law enforcement officers across the state will continue to enforce distracted driving laws. Drivers can and will be ticketed at any time for texting while driving, not just during an enhanced enforcement campaign.”

According to the OTS, between 2009 and 2013, more than 86,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving. The statistics also suggest that 60 fatalities and 8,000 injuries in the Minnesota area are caused by distracted driving each year.

It is illegal in Minnesota for drivers to read, compose, or send texts or emails on a wireless device. It is also illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone or smart phone for any reason while driving. However, distracted driving goes beyond just texting and driving; it can include day-dreaming, fiddling with a GPS or radio, eating or drinking, or grooming.

Distracted Driving in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The statistics on distracted driving nationwide are staggering:

20 percent of crashes which resulted in an injury involved a report of distracted driving of the deaths in distracted related driving accidents, 995 involved a report that the driver was using a cell phone in 2009, 5,474 people were killed on US roadways and an estimated additional 448, 000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

SC Senate Votes For Texting and Driving Ban

texting and driving

SC Senate Passes Texting and Driving Ban, House Votes on Separate Bill

texting and drivingSouth Carolina is one of the few states left in the US that does not have a statewide texting and driving ban. However, both the Senate and the House recently passed legislation to ban texting and driving across the Palmetto State.

“People back home are baffled why we don’t have a law banning texting and driving,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said during the committee hearing.

On Wednesday, April 9th, the SC Senate passed a ban on texting and driving 38-2. The bill would levy fines against drivers starting at $75 – more lenient than several local bans passed across the state – and would penalize drivers with one point from their licenses. The legislation also bans texting and driving as well as other cell phone use from drivers with a learner’s permit or a restricted license.

Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), who sponsored the bill, defended the ban on texting and driving specifically.

“The bill is not perfect,” he said. “There are many forms of distracted driving. This is not addressing all of them. It is addressing one of the more prevalent forms of distracted driving. What we were really trying to do is trying to narrow the focus and make this as simple as possible.”

The state House of Representatives passed a different piece of texting and driving legislation 97-16. The texting and driving ban would fine drivers only $25 for the first offense and would not remove any points from the driver’s license.

Both texting and driving bills prohibit police from searching or confiscating cell phones.

“We wanted to make it matter,” said state Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield. “(Texting) is “more akin to driving under the influence of alcohol than not wearing seat belts.”

“We need to pass a state law where everyone knows what the rules are,” said Senate Judiciary chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens.

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and Driving, in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod
  • texting or writing emails
  • checking social media

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

Beaufort Texting and Driving Ban Is Mostly Warnings

texting and driving

Beaufort’s Texting and Driving Ban Focuses on Warning Drivers, Not Ticketing Them

texting and drivingLocal governments across the state of South Carolina have issued bans on texting and driving in the last year. One local government, Beaufort County, has had a texting and driving ban in place for about a year and a half, but the “ban” has focused on warning drivers, rather than ticketing them.

Law enforcement officers in the county have focused on educating drivers about the texting and driving ban, since there is no state law yet. Since the texting and driving ban was adopted in January 2013, only 11 citations against the distracted driving practice have been issued by the Beaufort Police Department. However, 36 warnings about texting and driving have been issued to drivers in order to educate those that drive through the county.

Cpl. Hope Able of the Beaufort Police Department said that it is often the officer’s discretion about whether to issue a ticket or a warning.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department has similar statistics: officers issued 30 warnings since September last year, when the texting and driving ban first passed local lawmakers. Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the Sheriff’s Office has officially moved past the driver education phase of the ban, but officers are still able to decide whether they issue a warning or a ticket.

“People are being more covert,” Tanner said. “It is not as blatant as it was before. People are taking a good bit more care when they drive. They are using their cellphone less while driving, and the new laws have been a huge deterrent.”

When texting and driving bans do go fully into effect, the tickets will be very similar in many counties. The texting and driving bans in Bluffton, Port Royal, unincorporated Beaufort County, and on Hilton Head come with $100 fines for the first offense; $200 for the second; and $300 for all subsequent offenses. The town of Beaufort’s penalties are lower, at $50 for the first offense and $150 for each subsequent offense.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, February 25th, a Senate judiciary committee passed the latest attempt at a statewide texting and driving ban. The committee recommended, based on the measure, that South Carolinians should be subject to penalties and fines if caught texting and driving. The bill, S. 416, now moves to the Senate floor for a vote.

“People back home are baffled why we don’t have a law banning texting and driving,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said during the committee hearing.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers, Including Texting and Driving

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

US Launches Campaign Against Distracted Driving

distracted driving

Federal Campaign Against Distracted Driving Kicks Off with Awareness Month

distracted drivingApril is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and this year, the US Department of Transportation kicks off the country’s first ever anti-distracted driving advertising campaign.

“This campaign puts distracted driving on par with our efforts to fight drunk driving or to encourage seat belt use,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “Across the country, we’re putting distracted drivers on notice: If you’re caught texting while driving, the message you receive won’t be from your cell phone, but from law enforcement — U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joins the DOT in its efforts.

The $8.5 million campaign will run national advertising to alert drivers to the coinciding national distracted driving crackdown, which will run between April 10th and April 15th. Law enforcement officers will use both traditional and new strategies to bust distracted drivers.

“National campaigns like ‘Click It or Ticket’ and local efforts like ‘Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other’ show that combining good laws with effective enforcement and strong public education campaigns can — and do — change unsafe driving behaviors,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “We will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to urge drivers to put down electronic devices and focus on the task of driving.”

The NHTSA estimates that 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2012 alone.

Currently, 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands all ban distracted driving with phones in some form, especially texting and driving. South Carolina is one of the few states that does not have a statewide ban on texting and driving, although several counties have passed bans locally.

“Sometimes we have to be shocked into recognizing reality. And the reality is distracted driving is not safe,” Foxx said.

Distracted Driving in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

  • talking on a cell phone
  • eating and drinking
  • talking to passengers
  • grooming or putting on makeup
  • reading books, newspapers, or even a map
  • using a PDA or navigation system
  • watching a video or playing on a computer or tablet
  • playing with the radio, a CD or an iPod

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of distracted driving can lead to an accident, resulting in life altering and even deadly consequences.

The statistics on distracted driving nationwide are staggering:

  • 20 percent of crashes which resulted in an injury involved a report of distracted driving
  • of the deaths in distracted related driving accidents, 995 involved a report that the driver was using a cell phone
  • in 2009, 5,474 people were killed on US roadways and an estimated additional 448, 000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

49er’s Culliver Arrested for Bicycle Accident, Criminal Charges

bicycle accident

Cornerback for 49ers Arrested on Criminal Charges for Causing Bicycle Accident

bicycle accidentChris Culliver, the cornerback for the 49ers, was arrested on Friday, March 28th, on criminal charges including causing a bicycle accident.

Culliver, who is currently out of jail after posting bail, was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and reckless driving for causing a bicycle accident.

Reportedly, around 10:30 AM on Friday, Culliver was driving a white Ford Mustang when he hit a cyclist near downtown San Jose, CA. Although the cyclist was not seriously hurt, Culliver attempted to flee the scene. A witness to the bicycle accident followed Culliver and tried to stop him as the football player attempted to flee the scene. Culliver allegedly threatened the witness with an illegal pair of brass knuckles, then attempted to flee the scene again – however, Culliver hit the witness’s vehicle, which kept him at the scene of the bicycle accident until police officers arrived.

When police arrived at the scene of the bicycle accident, they searched Culliver’s car, and booked the football star into Santa Clara County Jail for felony hit-and-run, felony reckless driving with injury, felony possession of brass knuckles, misdemeanor hit-and-run, and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license.

“The 49ers organization is aware of the recent matter involving Chris Culliver,” San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “We will remain in contact with Chris and the local authorities as we continue to gather the facts regarding this situation. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we will reserve further comment at this time.”

South Carolina Bicycle Accident Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, injuries from bicycle accidents are very common.  Negligent drivers send several hundred thousand cyclists to the hospital every year.  Some cyclsits protect themselves by wearing a helmet, using a camera like a GoPro to film potential accidents, and obeying traffic laws, but sometimes that is not enough to prevent serious personal injury from a bicycle accident.

Bicycle accidents most often lead to:

  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head trauma, including traumatic brain injury
  • Road rash
  • And sometimes death

Whether were hit in a crosswalk, intersection, or on the road by a car following too closely, distracted driving, aggressive driving or failure to yield the right of way, the South Carolina personal injury accident lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC will fight to secure fair compensation for your injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Carolina ATV accident or a bike accident, contact the Strom Law Firm today.  The sooner you hire one of our accident lawyers, the sooner we will be able to investigate your case and the stronger your case will be.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Bicycle Accident Personal Injury Cases

If you are unsure of your rights, as a driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, and you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills or lost wages. The experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC, can help. Please contact us for a free consultation regarding your personal injury case. 803.252.4800.

Orangeburg Man Faces Felony Charges in Motorcycle Accident

motorcycle accident

Suspect Arrested on Felony Charges for Manslaughter, DUI After Motorcycle Accident

motorcycle accidentA man from Orangeburg now faces felony charges related to a motorcycle accident that killed the off-road bike’s driver.

The suspect, 41-year-old Shareef Shabazz, may also face criminal charges for possibly beating the driver after hitting the dirt bike.

Shabazz went before a magistrate on Monday, March 31st, on a criminal charge of felony driving under the influence involving death. His bond was set at $75,000.

According to Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle, the victim, 36-year-old Travis Morgan, died from blunt force trauma and internal injuries caused by the motorcycle accident.

Highway patrol investigators say the motorcycle accident occurred around 7 PM on Sunday, March 30th. Shabazz ran his Chrysler into the back of Morgan’s Kawasaki off-road bike. Although Shabazz was not injured in the motorcycle accident, he was taken to a local hospital for examination “because he was beat up after running over the victim.”

Shabazz could face additional criminal charges if the motorcycle accident is ruled intentional. Many of Morgan’s relatives, who live in the area where the accident occurred, think that the felony DUI was intentional. However, investigators are still examining evidence.

Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities

A motorcycle accident typically involves serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries to the driver.  Many times, these accidents are the result of careless conduct by individuals driving automobiles and other larger motor vehicles. The injuries sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident are typically serious, often permanent, and sometimes deadly.

The amount of compensation that a person injured or killed in a motorcycle accident receives depends upon several facts, including the financial losses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

Typical causes of car and motorcycle accidents include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, automobile defect, failed maintenance, failing to be careful, speeding, running stops signs or stop lights, failing to yield the right of way, not paying attention because of using cell phone or PDA, adjusting radio or DVD player, or eating while driving.

If a loved one dies as a result of the negligence, reckless, or intentional conduct of another, you may be entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts a claim against a person who can be held legally responsible for a death.  Surviving family members may be entitled to damages; money that can help with the expenses caused by the loss of their loved one. Common wrongful death claims arise as a result of a:

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Car and Motorcycle Accident Death and Injury Cases

Although many of the people we represent in these cases are from right here in South Carolina, our lawyers routinely take clients from throughout the Southeastern U.S. and, in certain types of product liability or pharmaceutical cases, from across the country as well. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, whether from a defective product or in a car accident, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800