Fatal Reckless Driving Accident Leads to Prison Time

fatal reckless driving

Summerville Teen Faces 4 Years in Prison for Fatal Reckless Driving Accident

fatal reckless drivingA year after a terrible accident caused by one now 18-year-old’s fatal reckless driving in South Carolina, a conviction has been secured.

Cullen Dupree, who should be a senior in high school this year, was sentenced to 4 years in prison-practically a college career- for reckless homicide and causing a hit-and-run accident, which killed 21-year-old Amanda Carey.

There were no drugs or alcohol involved in the South Carolina reckless driving accident. Witnesses said they saw Dupree “brake checking” drivers in an attempt to run them off the road. He swerved to block the Jeep Cherokee containing Carey and her friend and driver, Taylor Watkins, as they tried to pass him on the high way, which caused the serious accident. Worse, Dupree did not stop at the scene of the accident – instead, he took two passengers in his vehicle home before returning to the scene, leading to the hit-and-run charges.

Dupree told police at the scene, when he returned, an elaborate story about how the fatal reckless driving accident occurred. At one time, Watkins was charged with a DUI when officers found an open container in the car, and he admitted to drinking earlier in the day, but a volunteer blood test showed no signs of intoxication.

Eventually, Dupree’s three passengers admitted what was going on in the car that led to the fatal reckless driving accident.

The prosecution asked for the maximum sentence for Dupree, due to his lack of remorse for his reckless driving which caused the death of another driver, which stunned the Carey family in the court room. Dupree could have faced 10 years in prison for the homicide charge, and 25 years in prison for the hit and run; however, the judge sentenced him to 8 years in prison, with 4 suspended on probation.

“It’s really a story of some teenagers fooling around on the road,” the prosecution said. “It’s just a tragedy all around.”

Reckless Driving and Other Traffic Offenses in South Carolina

Common South Carolina Traffic Offenses Include:

  • speeding,
  • following too closely,
  • driving with a suspended license, DUS
  • DUI,
  • driving without insurance,
  • careless driving, and
  • reckless driving.

In SC, if you accumulate a total of 12 points your license may be suspended.  Your license may also be suspended if you fail to pay your traffic ticket within 12 months of the day it is issued.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Car Accident Injury and Wrongful Death 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 as a result of a South Carolina reckless driving 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

SC Auto Accident Victim: Now What?

SC Auto Accident Victim

South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Fighting For Justice for Injured Victims

SC Auto Accident VictimWhether you are t-boned coming back from a USC basketball game, injured in a hit and run on I-26, or involved in a rush hour fender bender on your way into downtown, Columbia, SC, car accidents occur every day.  Knowing what to do immediately after a Columbia, SC car accident can ensure that your rights are protected.

As a SC auto accident victim, there’s a flurry of activity immediately following an accident.  Having a checklist in mind can help ensure that you do not overlook anything.  With this in mind, our SC Car accident attorneys offer you the following 5 tips to maximize the likelihood of recovery:

1.  Report the Accident:

If there are injuries, call 911 immediately.

2.  Seek Medical Attention Immediately:

If you or anyone else is injured and sustained accident related injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately. Do not move a victim if they have a spinal cord injury unless leaving them creates a danger. Make sure that when you meet with the doctor you report all of your symptoms and problems

3.  Document the Scene:

Take pictures of the damage at the scene: If you are safely able, make notes and take pictures of all of the important details of the scene. If anything is damaged in your car such as a computer, cell phone, etc, make sure you document the damage.

4. Get the Other Driver’s Information:

Secure contact information, including name, address, phone number and car insurance coverage for the other driver.  Identify and secure contact information for any witnesses; note the make, model, color of the other car or cars involved.

5.  Be Careful What you Say.

Do not volunteer any information regarding who is at fault.

Saying that you are sorry or admitting that you were distracted may be used against you later as an admission of fault.

6.  Don’t Talk to the Insurance Adjuster:

While you may be required to issue a statement at some point during the claims process, don’t talk to the adjuster until you have had the opportunity to speak with one of our Columbia, SC attorneys.

Our Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorneys are here to help navigate you through the claims process.

7. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice:

While the demands of every day life will continue after a car accident, make sure that you follow any medical restrictions and your doctor’s recommended course of treatment.

8. Call a Columbia, South Carolina car accident attorney.

Take advantage of a free consultation. Centrally located in Columbia, South Carolina, our car accident lawyers are here to help.  We fight for fair compensation for SC auto accident victims. Let us deal with the insurance company while you focus on getting better.

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.

Va Suspends Fraternity Activity After Personal Injury Incident

fraternity

West Virginia Suspends Fraternity Activities After Serious Personal Injury

fraternityWest Virginia University has suspended all fraternity and sorority activity after a freshman on campus suffered a “catastrophic medical emergency,” and had to be hospitalized. The personal injury could lead to claims of negligence or premises liability.

Nolan Burch, 18, from New York state, was found unresponsive on the floor without a pulse on November 12th, in the university’s Kappa Sigma house. Police arrived just before midnight and found an unnamed individual performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on Burch. He was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, where he remains in intensive care.

W. Va has not disclosed what occurred at the frat house that led to Burch’s severe personal injury, but activities involving on-campus frats and sororities have been suspended in response to the accident.

“This is pretty grave, and so, we’re just taking a step back … Let’s take a look at where we’re going and is this the right direction, the right reputation we want to have,” WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris said.

West Virginia University is just the latest in a series of universities and colleges cracking down on frat and sorority behavior, because everything from binge drinking to hazing rituals associated with the groups has caused serious personal injury and in some cases, even death, to students pledging to the groups.

According to Bloomberg data, more than 60 people have died after sustaining personal injuries in fraternity-related events since 2005. In 2011, Cornell University banned pledging after the binge drinking death of a 19-year-old student. Johns Hopkins banned open frat parties after a 16-year-old girl – who did not attend the university – was raped. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology banned frat gatherings of 50 or more people after a woman fell from an MIT fraternity house window during a party. After a reported assault in a frat house, Emory University suspended Greek organizations’ social activities. In September, Clemson University suspended frat activities after the drowning death of a 19-year-old student in a nearby lake.

“I think it’s really clear why schools are starting to get more aggressive here,” said Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. “With colleges concerned about Title IX compliance and getting messages from the Department of Education that these kinds of issues related to sexual assault and harassment need to be dealt with, the climate is changing. And colleges are responding to these changes.”

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Personal Injury Lawsuits

Although the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm are based in Columbia, SC, we are also licensed to practice in Georgia and New York. We handle a variety of personal injury cases including:

  • automobile accidents,
  • burn injuries,
  • brain injuries,
  • motorcycle accidents
  • construction type accidents,
  • defective products arising from medical devices,
  • toys and childrens’ products,
  • medical malpractice claims,
  • nursing home neglect and abuse,
  • slip and fall,
  • wrongful death, as well as
  • injuries sustained while working on the job.
  • premises liability
  • negligence of an individual

If you or a loved one suffered serious personal injury, you may be entitled to compensation. The Strom Law Firm offers free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury lawsuit, so do not hesitate to contact us. 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.

Study Links Motorcycle Accident Survival to Universal Helmet Laws

universal helmet laws

Universal Helmet Laws Help Prevent Traumatic Brain Injury, Increase Survival In Motorcycle Accidents

universal helmet lawsA new study showed that states with universal helmet laws, which require motorcyclists to wear helmets at all ages, are directly tied to lower rates of traumatic brain injury, severe personal injury, and increased overall motorcycle accident survival when compared to states that only require helmets for motorcyclists younger than 18 or 21.

The study was led by Dr. K. Tinsley Anderson of the University of Arizona. The researchers presented their findings at the 2014 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in San Francisco, CA.

In the United States, 30% of deaths from accidents are caused by traumatic brain injury. In 2010, TBI was the cause of approximately 2.5 million ER visits. A recent study from the CDC confirmed that between 2001 and 2008, about 22% of nonfatal motorcycle accident injuries treated in emergency rooms were to the head and neck, which could lead to at least a concussion, and possibly a traumatic brain injury.

The researchers showed that with regard to motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws  which require the driver and any passenger(s) to wear a helmet regardless of age, victims of motorcycle accidents were 2.5 times less likely to sustain a TBI.

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database, the researchers looked at 1 million hospital admissions for TBI resulting from a motorcycle accident where the victim was the driver or passenger on the motorcycle. They divided the 598 TBIs into three groups according to state law: universal helmet laws, under-18 helmet laws, and under-21 helmet laws. States with under-18 and under-21 helmet laws showed a TBI rate at 307 per 1,000 motorcycle accidents and 366 per 1,000, respectively. In states with universal helmet laws, the TBI rate was 282 per 1,000.

“Our study is unique because we prove that universal helmet laws save lives and decrease TBIs in the pediatric population as well. I think it’s an important group to look at because they are the least risk-averse group and the most inexperienced rider population, and are more likely to be unprotected in the absence of universal laws,” said Dr. Anderson.

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.

The Strom Law Firm Accident Attorneys Can Help with Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits

The Strom Law Firm’s South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys will carefully analyze all aspects of the sequence of events, road conditions, and mechanical factors which led to the collision. If you have suffered a serious personal injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, call The Strom Law Firm, LLC at 803.252.4800 or contact us in Columbia, South Carolina, for a free consultation.

Midnight Rider Reaches Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

wrongful death lawsuit

Family and “Midnight Rider” Producers Reach Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

wrongful death lawsuitThe family of a woman killed while working on the set of “Midnight Rider” earlier this year settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the producers of the independent film.

On Wednesday, November 19th, 11 defendants, including producers Randall M. Miller and Jody Savin, agreed to a wrongful death lawsuit settlement with the family of Sarah Jones, who worked as a camera assistant on the set of the film. On February 20th, a freight train barreled through the set of the movie, and Jones was killed after being struck by the train.  Unfortunately, train injuries occur more often than you might think.  According to Operation Lifesaver, there were 2087 accidents in 2013, leading to 929 injuries and 251 fatalities.

“While the crew had been told they would have 60 seconds to remove themselves, the equipment, and the hospital bed from the trestle bridge, the train approached with a rapid speed and the crew had less than 60 seconds to react,” the wrongful death lawsuit stated.

“Richard and Elizabeth Jones’ objectives in filing this lawsuit, after the death of their 27-year-old daughter, Sarah, have been clear and unwavering,” the family’s attorney said in a statement. “To find out what happened on the day of their daughter’s death, determine who was responsible, hold those who made bad decisions accountable and ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again on another film set. Today, we are another step closer to fully achieving those objectives.”

The wrongful death lawsuit  claimed that the “Defendants’ negligence actually and proximately caused Sarah’s injuries and death, rendering Defendants liable to Plaintiffs’ for Sarah’s injuries, pain and suffering, the value of her life, and all other elements of damages allowed under the laws of the State of Georgia.”

The terms of the wrongful death settlement have not been disclosed.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits in South Carolina

The unexpected loss of a loved is a very painful experience.  While mourning their loss, surviving family members are often with mounting medical bills, the loss of an income, and sudden expenses such as hospital bills and funeral costs.

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

Depending upon the circumstances, our South Carolina wrongful death attorneys may also assert a claim for punitive damages intended to punish the wrongdoer  and deter others from engaging in such behavior.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with A South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The Columbia, SC wrongful death lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC, will help you during this extremely difficult and emotional time. You do not have to face the emotional and financial pain of a loved one’s wrongful death alone. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed through no fault of your own, contact the South Carolina wrongful death attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, no-cost consultation today. 803.252.4800

Distracted Driving and Tractor Trailers Don’t Mix

tractor trailer

Distracted Driving Leads to Tractor Trailer Accident off Maine Highway

tractor trailerOn Monday, October 27th, a tractor trailer ran off the road and leaked fuel into the mud after crashing. State troopers say the accident was caused by distracted driving.

Reportedly, the driver, Steven Haggan, was unfamiliar with the type of tractor trailer he had been assigned, and became distracted while trying to find the switch to de-fog the side mirrors. The truck, full of wood chips, drifted off the road, but Haggan didn’t notice until he hit the rumble strip. He did not have time to prevent the distracted driving crash by that point, and ran into some trees along the side of the road.

Haggan was not injured, and the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection were called to the scene of the tractor trailer accident to clean up. Haggan has been issued a summons for distracted driving.

Tractor Trailer Spills Frozen French Fries After Distracted Driving Leads to Accident

Another distracted driving accident in Maine, which occurred over the weekend, involved a tractor trailer carrying frozen French fries.

Charles O’Halloran was driving the refrigerated truck near Bangor, when he reportedly became distracted by a water bottle in the cab, which caused him to run over the side of the road and into a stand of trees, spilling the fries across the road.

The Maine Department of Agriculture officially condemned the thousands of pounds of spilled fries, which were then hauled to the local dump.

Distracted Driving Accidents and Injuries in South Carolina

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, 421,000 people were injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver; 3,300 of those people died from their injuries. Research from the University of Buffalo suggests that as much as 10% of pedestrian visits to the emergency room are caused by distracted drivers. The Department of Transportation estimates that, despite multiple reports of how deadly distracted driving can be, as many as 660,000 Americans are on their phones in some form while driving, every single day.

Distracted driving includes:

  • texting and driving
  • talking on or playing with a cell phone
  • eating or 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 a South Carolina distracted driving accident can result in life altering and even deadly consequences.

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.

Distracted Driving Caused Train-Truck Accident

train-truck accident

Baltimore Train-Truck Accident Caused by Distracted Driving, Investigators Find

train-truck accidentA year and a half ago, a truck collided with a train, causing a serious crash and train derailment. Now, a report from Baltimore-area investigators shows that the truck driver was at fault in the accident, because of distracted driving.

The National Transportation and Safety Board released their final report regarding the train-truck accident that occurred on May 28th, 2013, and their investigators determined that the driver, 51-year-old John Alban, Jr, failed to make sure the train tracks were clear before crossing. However, the board also said that Alban was talking on a phone or hands-free device when the crash occurred.

The train-truck accident led to the derailment of 15 train cars on a 45-car train, which was carrying hazardous chemicals. Explosions on the train injured five people, and caused millions of dollars in property damage.

“An alert driver would have heard the train horn even with the windows closed,” acting NTSB chairman Christopher A. Hart said in a statement on Wednesday, blaming Alban’s use of his hands-free device for distracting him.

Alban was charged with several misdemeanor traffic violations related to the truck accident, but the investigation concluded that he also committed distracted driving violations. Although most states allow drivers, including commercial truck drivers, to use hands-free devices, the laws do not inherently mean that talking on a phone while driving is safe – and many studies show that it is not.

“Current laws may mislead people to believe that hands-free is as safe as not using a phone at all,'” acting NTSB chairman Christopher Hart said. “Auditory testing done by our investigators found that an alert driver would have heard the train horn even with the windows closed on the approach to the crossing. Time and again, our investigators find that operator distraction is at the heart of accidents throughout transportation in all modes.”

The report called for a ban on any cell phone use, including hands-free devices, for commercial drivers. It further stated that Alban’s trucking company did not have adequate federal oversight which allowed for “a consistent and serious pattern of noncompliance” with federal trucking safety regulations. Commercial drivers were banned from talking on cell phones or texting and driving in 2011, but using hands-free devices remains acceptable.

“Whenever you’re using a hands-free device or any item that can cause a distraction, there is a level of personal responsibility and accountability,” said Louis Campion, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association. “A driver has to use discretion to determine whether they are in an area where they can use a communication system safely.”

However, Champion added that hands-free devices are an important way for drivers to communicate with their overseeing companies. Talking to companies while driving allows drivers to stay informed of traffic accidents in their immediate paths, or areas of congestion that could lead to dangerous scenarios for trucks drivers and the traffic around them.

“We recognize that this is certainly a conversation that needs to be had, as our research indicates that hands-free does not mean risk-free,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, a spokeswoman for driver advocacy group AAA Mid-Atlantic. “We welcome further discussion, which this recommendation from the NTSB will likely generate.”

Trucking Accidents Can Cause Serious Injury and Wrongful Death

Accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles such as semi tractor trailers, flatbed or tanker trucks, buses, or construction accidents can often result in a serious injury or death. Accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles can cause:

  • traumatic brain injury,
  • paralysis,
  • severe disability, and
  • even death.

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