4 Passengers File Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Megabus

Megabus

After Megabus Accident, 4 Passengers File Personal Injury Lawsuits

MegabusOn Tuesday morning, October 14th, a Megabus bound for Chicago suffered a severe crash that left at least 26 of the 56 passengers injured, with 6 of those injuries considered serious. A total of 18 people had to be taken to area hospitals after the crash.

Investigators blamed the Megabus accident on driver inattention, and more recently have pinpointed the cause of distraction to be malfunctioning windshield wipers.

On Wednesday, October 15th, four of the passengers on the Chicago-bound Megabus filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company. The passengers filing against Megabus suffered numerous different injuries, including a separated shoulder, lost teeth, and facial cuts requiring stitches.

“The passengers reported hearing the bus driver complain that the windshield wipers were not working, and it was difficult to see the road in the rain,” a prosecutor said in the statement on behalf of the personal injury plaintiffs. “We suspect a malfunction in the windshield wipers prevented the bus driver from adequately seeing the road and contributed to the crash.”

“It’s a very traumatic event for them to wake up from a sleep having the bus turn over, you’re face-down in broken glass and you have bodies flying down on top of you, causing physical injury.”

The plaintiffs claim in their personal injury lawsuit that the driver announced to passengers on the Megabus that the windshield wipers were not working. That distraction, along with driving too fast, and improper driver training, led the passengers to file their personal injury lawsuit against the company.

Investigators with Indiana State Police, who were at the scene of the Megabus accident, said that there did not appear to be any mechanical problems with the bus itself that would have caused the accident.

This is not the first bus accident issue that Megabus has faced. The service has quickly spread across the US and remains popular because of its low cost. However, the company has had several high-profile accidents in the past few years.

In August 2012, for example, a Megabus on route to Chicago blew out a tire which led to dozens of injuries and one death. Although the driver was credited for not reacting in a way that would have caused further severe injuries, the bus itself suffered from lack of maintenance. One week later, however, another Megabus in downtown Chicago struck and killed an elderly woman. The day after that, a Megabus headed to Charlotte, NC caught fire.

“All Megabus.com companies have had a DOT audit within the past 6 months and all have been given the highest rating achievable by the DOT, which is satisfactory,” spokesman Sean Hughes said in a statement. “The trip had two drivers, which is a normal Megabus safety procedure and above the federal requirement for overnight trips. The drivers signed on at 10 pm the night before, and were on duty for a total of 6 and a half hours when the incident occurred.”

Although the company has not suffered an accident this serious in at least two years, Megabus drivers have been cited for 7 traffic violations, and 6 violations of hours of service on the road – meaning the drivers could be tired or poorly trained, which would lead to terrible accidents, personal injury, and death for passengers and drivers alike.

The Strom Law Firm Represents Those Suffering Personal Injury from Road Accidents

If you have suffered a serious personal injury or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, including in a car accident or DUI case, contact our South Carolina Accident Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the facts. 803.252.4800

SC Orders Uber to Halt Services in State

As Uber’s Legal Woes Continue, South Carolina Demands Mobile App Cease and Desist

UberOn Thursday, January 15th, the Public Service Commission of South Carolina ordered popular and infamous ridesharing service Uber to stop its operations in the state.

Uber has faced numerous accusations, including personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, as the mobile app company expands rapidly across the globe. One of the most common accusations has to do with the company’s employee screening process: although Uber company spokespeople have repeatedly claimed that the rideshare startup company screens its potential drivers as thoroughly or even more thoroughly, than state regulations require, many passengers have said they were victimized.  Allegations include assaults, such as sexual assaults and rapes, as well as other types of personal injury, and even wrongful death accidents.  Many believe that these issues have arisen because the drivers are not screened carefully enough to keep passengers and pedestrians safe.

For example, Uber faces a wrongful death lawsuit in San Francisco, in which a driver who was using the mobile app to pick up a fare while operating his vehicle, struck and killed a 6-year-old girl on New Year’s Day 2014. He hit two other members of the family as well, who survived. The driver himself faces criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter and distracted driving, but the family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the ridesharing company because they claim the mobile app nature of the business encourages drivers to use their phones while operating a vehicle.  It’s this mobile nature that can be a deadly combination.

In Chicago, a 22-year-old victim has filed personal injury charges against the company after her Uber driver drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was drunk.

Ridesharing companies like Uber, and its major competitors Lyft and Sidecar, also face accusations that the businesses rely on individual drivers’ personal insurance, which does not provide adequate, if any, coverage for passengers that suffer personal injury in the event of a car crash. These companies recently changed their driver policies to pay for insurance to cover cars while they are working for the rideshare service, but some opponents of the ridesharing services question if the coverage is enough, when these companies still try to dodge responsibility for personal injuries and wrongful deaths, often pointing to the drivers themselves, who are independent contractors with the companies, not full employees.

South Carolina demanded that Uber cease and desist operations in the state because the company refuses to register as a taxi service, which could help customers and drivers in the event of a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

“Consumers benefit from, and deserve choices in, the marketplace,” the directive states. “However, those choices must be consistent with state law intended to protect the public.”

“Despite working closely with the PSC for the past several months on a permanent solution for Uber in South Carolina, today’s actions are unexpected and not reflective of the progress made thus far,” Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said. “We will challenge the order and remain committed to providing South Carolinians with greater opportunity and choice.”

Uber faces similar regulatory questions in its home base, San Francisco, as safety regulators in the city try to decide who can inspect Uber’s vehicles for safety and emissions regulations.

“We believe the vehicle inspections mentors conduct are very rigorous,” said Chelsea Wilson, a Lyft spokeswoman. “They’ve gone through training and have an exhaustive checklist. We very much stand behind the safety of those inspections.”

However, safety inspections for taxis are much more rigorous than the self-appointed inspectors for Uber and Lyft, so many states have raised concerns about vehicular safety.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Victims of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed because of an accident, whether it was caused by distracted driving or DUI, the South Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. 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. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to call us. 803.252.4800

Smart Phones Causing More Distracted Driving

smart phones

Distracted Driving Less from Talking, More from Smart Phones

smart phonesA new survey of distracted driving in the US shows that fewer people are talking on their phones, but more people are texting and driving, writing emails, or checking social media through their smart phones.

State Farm has conducted an annual survey every year since 2009 to measure drivers’ attitudes and behaviors toward various forms of distracted driving, from texting to talking to eating. The number of drivers who report having a conversation using a cell phone has decreased, but the number of drivers who admit to texting, writing emails, taking selfies, or composing social media messages has increased.

According to the survey, 26% of drivers admit to surfing the internet while behind the wheel; 25% admit to reading emails; and 20% admitted to reading messages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

“We’re not sure why (these behaviors) are increasing,” says Chris Mullen, State Farm’s director of technology research. “But they are just as dangerous. People have a perception of what they are able to do with the attention span they have (while driving). They believe they have available attention they can spend on something in addition to driving. They will spend that time with various behaviors.”

However, drivers seem to know that these behaviors are dangerous, and choose to engage in them anyway. The State Farm survey reported that 80% of drivers knew that sending a text was “very distracting,” while 68% responded that reading a text was “very distracting.”

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows just how dangerous distracted driving can be. One-third of all crashes – 36% – occur at intersections, mainly because of driver recognition and decision errors, which includes failure to see potential dangers. Driver decision errors account for 84% of all crashes in the US.

The survey showed that, although most drivers choose to engage in these distracted driving behaviors anyway, some were beginning to self-regulate. State Farm reported that 63% of motorists said they were more likely to check their phone while stopped at a traffic light, then put it down to drive.

These numbers are especially disturbing this holiday season. AAA estimates how many travelers will be driving during the holiday season, and since gas prices are their lowest in years, the automotive agency believes more people will drive to their destinations. This means there will be more stressed out drivers on the roads, trying to coordinate with friends and family, which can lead to more distracted driving accidents.

At least 44 states have, so far, passed some form of distracted driving legislation. This year, South Carolina passed a statewide ban on texting and driving, although other forms of distracted driving are legal.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving 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.

App Solutions Offered for Distracted Driving

distracted driving

Some Apps Offer Solutions to Prevent Distracted Driving

distracted drivingState Farm recently released information from its distracted driving survey, which found that fewer people talk on the phone while driving, but the advent of smartphone technology has led many drivers to read, text, Tweet, and chat message while driving.

A writer for TechCrunch laments the “Pavlovian response” drivers have to their smartphones. She wrote that she has deal-finding apps downloaded to her iPhone, and they consistently make noise when she drives past stores and malls. She suggested built-in apps on the phone that would automatically silence app and text alert noises, even if the user forgets to put the phone on silent. Some third-party phone apps already discourage distracted driving by disabling texting or count the number of times you text while driving – which is illegal in most states.

The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis recently looked at distracted driving data and found that 1.6 billion vehicle accidents per year were the result of texting or messaging while driving. These accidents kill 11 teenagers per day, according to the research, and are as dangerous as driving after consuming four beers. The number of deaths caused by distracted driving from mobile phone use is higher than the number of deaths caused by running red lights. Worst of all, distracted driving is completely preventable – but drivers have to want to stop, so companies find they might need encouragement.

Automobile manufacturers are also looking at ways to prevent distracted driving. Many of these same companies have begun to build in touch screens and wireless connections so that the driver can hook their phone into their car, and talk or access apps while on the go. One automotive manufacturer, Ford, has recognized that this technology boom can encourage distracted driving even further, and the company says it has now partnered with mobile app developer Life360 to build in not just the GPS feature of the original app – which allows friends and family to track each other based on the phone’s GPS signal – but also to develop a “Driving Mode” for the vehicle version, which would text all the driver’s contacts when the car is on and inform them not to text while the vehicle is in motion. When the driver arrives at their destination and parks the car, the app would alert friends and family that the driver is available again – hopefully preventing the bemoaned Pavlovian response to phone noises by asking for community support against distracted driving.

At least 44 states have, so far, passed some form of distracted driving legislation. This year, South Carolina passed a statewide ban on texting and driving, although other forms of distracted driving are legal.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving 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.

New Hands-Free Technology Leads to Distracted Driving

hands-free technology

In-Car, Hands-Free Technology Can Cause Distracted Driving

hands-free technologyTwo new studies show that hands-free technology, as well as built-in technology in many modern cars, can cause distracted driving.

A study conducted by AAA and the University of Utah, which looked at hands-free and voice-activated controls, found that even those devices can cause distracted driving, which increases the risk of a car accident. Many distracted driving laws allow drivers to use blue tooth headsets or speaker phones to make phone calls, and many vehicles have systems that can link to your phone so you can use an in-car program to make phone calls to friends or restaurants.

A companion study also investigated voice-activated smart phone features, particularly Apple’s popular Siri, and found that those programs can also lead to distracted driving issues. In fact, two participants in the study caused virtual crashes while dealing with Siri in a driving simulator.

“Common voice tasks are generally more demanding than natural conversations, listening to the radio, or listening to a book on tape,” the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety researchers wrote.

“We already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies,” said Bob Darbelnet, chief executive of AAA. “We now understand that current shortcomings in these products, intended as safety features, may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction.”

“In the situations where you have a system that’s very difficult to use, is extremely frustrating to use, then, yes, you’ll be paying attention to that and not paying attention to traffic lights and pedestrians and other cars,” David Strayer of the University of Utah explained. In his study, a driver requested the name of a restaurant on Siri, but because voice-prompt technology is new and flawed, Siri’s response was, “Sorry, I didn’t get that. Please select a restaurant.” The driver, in her frustration, missed a prompt that measured her attention to the road.

Both studies measured “cognitive distraction,” or the mental workload caused by dealing with multitasking. Many previous distracted driving studies examined visual distraction, such as texting and driving or GPS navigation, in which the driver took his or her eyes off the road.

“The primary task should be driving. Things that take your attention away make you a poor driver,” Strayer said. “Even though your car may be configured to support social media, texting and phone calls, it doesn’t mean it is safe to do so.”

Although Toyota scored one of the best vehicles to prevent cognitive distraction while driving, a spokesman said that neither study conclusively showed a link between distracted driving and hands-free or voice-activated systems.

“The results actually tell us very little about the relative benefits of in-vehicle versus hand-held systems; or about the relationship between cognitive load and crash risks,” said Mike Michels on behalf of Toyota.

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving 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.

Low Gas Prices Lead to Highest Expected Thanksgiving Travelers Traffic

Thanksgiving Travelers

South Carolina Hopes to Keep Traffic Deaths Low During Busy Thanksgiving Travelers Season

Thanksgiving TravelersEvery holiday season, AAA offers traffic safety and travel tips during busy road travel times, including Thanksgiving travelers. This year, AAA forecasts that the greatest number of Americans will travel on the roads since 2007 – a whopping 46.3 million people driving to and from Thanksgiving celebrations.

The huge increase in holiday traffic has been linked to gas prices being at their lowest in five years. The average national price for gasoline this year is 43 cents lower than last year – $2.85 per gallon, compared to 2013’s $3.28 per gallon.

About 89% of all Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destinations, which is a 4.3% increase over last year’s Thanksgiving traffic forecast.

About 656,000 South Carolinians in particular are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home. About 591,000 of those Thanksgiving travelers will drive.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest holidays for drivers, because many people take off work or school beginning on Wednesday, then return Sunday or Monday. Many people frequently drive either a short distance to visit family on Thanksgiving day itself, or travel a greater distance out of town just before the holiday. Thanksgiving can be a stressful holiday for some, and during the celebrations, many people drink, which can lead to a South Carolina DUI charge, or even worse, a South Carolina car accident. The high number of drivers on the road at any time increases the risk of a car accident, and the added stress can make an accident even more likely.

Traffic safety seems to be improving in South Carolina, just in time for the holiday season. Statewide, there have been 692 deaths in traffic accidents this year, which is down from 707 traffic deaths last year. However, so far 5 people died in South Carlina car accidents just this past weekend alone – the weekend before the holiday – which could signal a rough holiday for South Carolina’s drivers. Last year, a total of 5 people died over the Thanksgiving weekend itself.

Consumer Reports offers driving and traffic safety tips for the Thanksgiving traffic this year:

  1. Be prepared with an emergency kit including water, first aid kit, blanket, and flashlight.
  2. Know the weight capacity of your vehicle and be careful how much you pack in your car. Extra load can put stress on the vehicle’s frame, and could cause it to buckle in the event of an accident.
  3. Be patient during times of heavy traffic.
  4. Don’t be distracted. Do not use cell phones while driving, even just to talk, because you could cause an accident. Hand your phone to someone else in the car, or pull over, if you absolutely must make a call or send a text.
  5. Make sure to wear your seat belt!

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with South Carolina Personal Injury Cases Caused by A Distracted Driving Accident

Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, distracted driving can lead to an accident, causing serious personal injury or even death. If you have been injured by an accident caused by distracted driving, 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. Contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.

Drive-Thru Hamburger Leads to Distracted Driving Charges

Alabama Man Faces Distracted Driving Charges for Eating Hamburger While Driving

distracted driving chargesAn Alabama resident faces distracted driving charges in Cobb County, Georgia, after a police officer pulled him over for eating a hamburger in his vehicle.

Madison Turner says he went through a McDonald’s drive-thru and ordered a double quarter pounder with cheese, which he then – as many of us do with drive-thru fast food – consumed the burger while driving. A police officer in Cobb County then pulled Turner over and ticketed him with “eating while driving,” a specific part of Cobb County’s distracted driving laws.

“The officer explained to me that he observed me eating a burger for 2 miles,” Turner said. “He said specifically three times, you can’t just go down the road eating a hamburger.”

“Even though I was not exceeding the speed limit or driving erratically,” Turner continued. “Maybe I was enjoying the burger too much I needed to tone it down. I was certainly willing to do so but I didn’t expect to be fined or punished.”

Distracted driving charges for eating while driving under distracted driving laws are unusual, but eating while driving is a form of distracted driving. Most states are concerned about drivers talking on their phones, or texting or using social media while driving – a practice that kills as many US citizens every year as drunk driving. However, any form of distracted driving should be a concern.

The specific Cobb County law reads, in part: “A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.” Removing one hand from the steering wheel in order to eat, or taking your eyes off the road while consuming food, is a form of distracted driving and can be dangerous.

Distracted Driving Accident Litigation in South Carolina

It is a common occurrence to see distracted drivers cruising down South Carolina and Georgia roads and interstates.  Whether the distraction is eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone, or even just daydreaming, the effects of a S.C. distracted driving accident can result in life altering and even deadly consequences.  If you were in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you need to hire a South Carolina distracted driving attorney to protect your legal rights.

Distracted driving includes:

  • texting and driving
  • 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

The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving 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 Texting and Driving Law In Full Force

SC Texting and Driving Law

Warning Period of SC Texting and Driving Law is Over

SC Texting and Driving LawThis past June, South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill banning texting and driving. To inform drivers that the practice is now illegal, law enforcement spent several months pulling drivers over and issuing warnings about typing on a mobile phone or tablet while driving a moving vehicle. Now, however, the grace period has ended and the SC texting and driving law is in full effect.

Reportedly, police have issued 278 warnings about SC texting and driving laws in the last 6 months.

The first time an officer catches a driver texting and driving, the fine will be $25. Subsequent offenses will lead to a $50 fine. No points will be taken off the driver’s license for texting and driving. Many safety advocates want tougher anti-texting and driving laws in the state.

“I think it’s a good first step, but everything needs to be modified. I think $25 is nothing, that’s like going to McDonald’s with your family,” said Mark Conley, the owner of Beach Driving School, LLC. Many states that ban texting and driving fine drivers $100-$200 and remove points from the driver’s license.

The Centers for Disease Control state that 9 people are killed every day in the US because of a distracted driver, and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety says that 46 people have already been killed as a result of distracted driving in 2014 in South Carolina alone. While many things can distract drivers, such as talking on the phone or changing a radio station, texting and driving is becoming one of the most common offenses, despite legislation in most states that makes the practice illegal.

Camden, SC passed one of the first SC texting and driving laws in the state. City of Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd says that the ordinance helped cut down on traffic accidents in the city.

“What we saw was a tremendous change, as far as compliance with our statute,” Floyd said. “We’ve been very happy with the effects of it.”

Distracted Driving, Including Texting and Driving, in South Carolina

Distracted driving includes:

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

It’s a common occurrence to see distracted driving while 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.

People Understand Dangers of Texting and Driving, Do It Anyway

danger of texting and driving

Study Shows Drivers Understand Danger of Texting and Driving but Chooses to do it Anyway

danger of texting and drivingA new survey shows that 98% of drivers understand the dangers of texting and driving – statistically, it just as dangerous as drinking and driving – but those drivers chose to text and drive regardless of the increased risk of injury or death.

Three-quarters of the people surveyed said they chose texting and driving regardless of the laws or dangers of texting and driving. Many states have passed legislation to ban texting and driving, as well as checking social media or email on a smartphone. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they read text messages while stopped at a stop sign or red light, and over one-quarter said they sent texts while driving.

Over one-quarter of the drivers in the texting and driving survey said they believed they “can easily do several things at once, even while driving.”

The study was conducted by AT&T, as part of their larger anti-texting and driving campaign. The phone company designed the survey with help from David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, who is also a professor at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine.

“We compulsively check our phones because every time we get an update through text, email or social media, we experience an elevation of dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that makes us feel happy,” said Dr. Greenfield. “If that desire for a dopamine fix leads us to check our phones while we’re driving, a simple text can turn deadly.”

AT&T is offering a free app for smartphones that will silence text and other message alerts while the phone owner is driving, to help prevent the temptation to text and drive.

The survey asked more specific questions about why drivers were texting and driving. They found that 28% said they were afraid they would miss out on something important if they did not immediately answer the message; ¼ believed that their driving was not impaired by reading or responding to texts; also ¼ of respondents felt pressure to respond right away because it was expected of them; 6% said they thought they might be addicted to texting; 14% admitted they became anxious if they did not respond to a message right away; and 17% said they felt a “sense of satisfaction” when they can read and respond to a text message.

Texting and driving has surfaced as one of the leading causes of death among teenagers and young adults, higher even than drunk driving. The distracted driving practice also has as high a mortality rate for the general population as drunk driving, according to studies. South Carolina recently passed texting and driving legislation, making it the last Southern state to do so.

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 Distracted Driving 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 caused by distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.

Trucking Companies Must Help Stop Distracted Driving

distracted driving

Distracted Driving is a Huge Safety Problem for Trucking Companies

distracted drivingDistracted driving is becoming one of the biggest road safety hazards in the United States. Numerous studies have shown that modern technology poses a huge temptation to drivers – hands-free phones, smart watches or other wearable tech, Bluetooth headsets, and even simple texting and driving. One study, conducted by AT&T, showed that three-quarters of drivers chose to text and drive, regardless of the dangers. Another recent study showed that distracted driving, especially texting and driving, is just as deadly as driving under the influence (DUI).

But too many drivers succumb to the temptation, including truck drivers – and that becomes a liability for trucking companies.

“What we don’t want is that truck driver holding that phone up to his ear,” said Michael J. Riley, president of the Motor Transport Association of CT. “That’s distracted driving. That’s dangerous.”

Trucking companies are some of the most vocal advocates for tougher distracted driving laws. Currently, each state varies in its laws and penalties, although most states now have laws against texting and driving.

“We have a lot of stake here,” said Riley. “There’s a moral commitment to doing things safely, there’s an economic component to it all, and we’re proud of what we do and we don’t want to do it in a way that jeopardizes anybody’s safety.”

Enforcement of distracted driving laws can be difficult, due to the prevalence of the harmful practice. One way that states combat the problem is to set up checkpoints, cameras, and police cruisers to catch those breaking the law, especially truck drivers.

“There are studies that say the more proactive we are about enforcing it, the greater it does reduce it,” said Lt. Donald Bridge, a Connecticut DMV Inspector. “The trucks provide a higher platform for the driver so it’s harder to see in there, so we have to take vantage points where we’re up above that and looking down into the cabs.”

“As traffic approaches, we’re looking at everything,” Sgt. Aaron Reimer of the Ohio State Patrol said.

However, Sgt. Reimer says there’s a larger problem with issuing tickets: “The drivers aren’t taking it seriously enough.”

Federal law says that talking on a cell phone is illegal for truck drivers, because it not only causes distracted driving, but the driver takes one hand off the wheel, which means he or she could lose control of the truck. However, because federal law is so strict against truck drivers, thousands of distracted driving accidents involving commercial trucks are actually caused by the other driver.

“Two-thirds of accidents involving commercial vehicles are actually caused by a vehicle other than the commercial vehicle,” Bill Graves with the American Trucking Association said. In Ohio in 2013, there were 10,000 commercial trucks on the roads, and 2,000 distracted driving accidents involving the trucks.

Still, distracted driving catches up to truck drivers too often. “We found that truck drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in one of these safety critical events compared to when they weren’t texting,” said Jeff Hickman, a researcher with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Trucking Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury and Wrongful Death

If you or a loved one has been such a victim, contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC South Carolina trucking accident lawyers. Whether you were injured in a bus accident, tractor trailer accident, or any other commercial vehicle accident, we can help. Contact us today at 803.252.4800.