Articles Posted in Drunk Driving

A North Carolina man was killed in a recent drunk driving accident in University City, and authorities say the driver has a prior drunk driving conviction on her record. In fact, the 31-year-old woman from Huntsville was still on supervised probation after being found guilty of driving while impaired in 2014. She had served her community service and had regained her driver’s license, but with accident

According to the Charlotte Observer, the suspected drunk driver made a sudden lane change on North Tryon Street from the right to the left lane. Then, the front of her Honda Accord slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer, which was stopped at a red light at the intersection of J.M. Keynes Boulevard. Her 52-year-old front-seat passenger was pronounced dead after being transported to a local hospital. The driver was charged with aggravated felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, having an open container of alcohol in her vehicle, and violating her driver’s license restriction to have no more than 0.04 blood-alcohol concentration.

These kinds of collisions are wholly preventable, and yet far too common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released its latest report on alcohol-impaired driving and revealed there were 10,265 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2015. That averages out to one person dying in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes in this country.

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South Carolina senators voted 7-4 to reject medical marijuana legislation that would have made the drug available for those with debilitating or chronic illnesses. Calling it a “pathway to recreational use,” senators say the negatives outweigh the positives. marijuana1

However, this is unlikely to be the last we will hear of this issue in the Carolinas. And while the drug is still technically illegal, it’s still one of the most widely-used substances in the U.S. Further, even proponents of legalization for medical/ recreational purposes concede the drug is an intoxicating substance that can serve to impair drivers.

So what does this mean for those who share the road with marijuana users? In many ways, marijuana use is treated the same as alcohol use. That is, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired. Specifically, S.C. Code Ann. 56-5-2930(A) prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or any drugs that would impair a person’s normal faculties to the point it is unsafe to drive a vehicle.  Continue reading

A civil lawsuit filed by the family of one of three youths killed in a deadly DUI accident in Anderson late last year names not only the alleged drunk driver, but also the establishment that reportedly served him alcohol.
The 17-year-old crash victim was killed in the November 2014 wreck, along with a 22-year-old man from Greenville and a 20-year-old woman from Iva. Additionally, the 12-year-old sister of the 17-year-old decedent was critically injured.

The families of the other victims have also joined the lawsuit, which alleges at least two bars served alcohol to the suspect driver in the hours before the fatal crash. Relying on the Dram Shop law, plaintiffs alleged the bars violated state law when they served alcohol to a person who was clearly intoxicated.
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In areas with warmer climates, golf carts are an enjoyable, easy way to get around the neighborhood or the resort, along the beach or in small communities. While golf carts can be fun on and off the course, it is important to remember golf cart safety. After a recent golf cart accident and death in South Carolina, drivers and passengers should be reminded of the importance of driving and riding safely.

Golf carts are not as fast as cars, but they are definitely not toys. Every year, tragic accidents cause serious injuries and take the lives of drivers, passengers and bystanders. Our Asheville personal injury attorneys are experienced in golf car accidents and will help victims and their families protect their rights. As experienced attorneys, we are committed to public wellness and to keeping North and South Carolina residents safe for tourists and residents.


According to reports, authorities are still investigating the death of a man following a fatal golf cart accident. The 77-year-old victim was driving his golf cart on a road in Sun City Hilton Head. Police indicated that the golf cart veered off the road, struck a car and then a small tree. The Highway Patrol found the victim next to the golf cart following the accident. The golf cart driver and victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he died the next day. An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.
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April is an appropriate month for national alcohol danger awareness, particularly for teens, on the heels of spring break and as we approach a steady stream of prom festivities and graduation parties.
Our Anderson personal injury lawyers know that a huge portion of the cases that are brought to us involve alcohol either directly or indirectly, most often involving alcohol consumption by someone operating a motor vehicle.

Teens are more at risk, especially this time of year, because they are less experienced behind the wheel, less likely to know their limits with alcohol, have more opportunities and are under a greater amount of peer pressure to drink toward the end of the school year.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving notes that when compared to classmates who don’t drink, high schoolers who imbibe are more likely to die in a car crash, become pregnant, fail out of school, be a victim of sexual assault, become addicted to alcohol and to commit suicide.

Some three-quarters of teenagers say their parents are their No. 1 influence when it comes to their decision of whether or not to drink alcohol. Consider that 65 percent of eighth-graders reported alcohol was easy to obtain, with 35 percent saying they had consumed alcohol within the last 30 days.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2011, nearly 1 million teens drank alcohol before driving. Car crashes have remained the top cause of death for teens between the ages of 16 and 19, and alcohol is involved in about a third of these crashes. April is one of the deadliest months of the year for teen drivers, for the reasons we stated earlier.

South Carolina is among the worst in this regard, with the CDC reporting that between 11.3 and 14.5 percent of teens 16 and older who reported having driven drunk at some point.

There are many resources that involve how to talk to your teen about alcohol use. The National Institutes of Health recommend starting with a foundation of the following:

  • Establish an open line of communication. You want to make it easy for your teenager to talk to you about anything. This involves initiating conversations, asking open-ended questions and controlling your emotions when you hear something you don’t like. Try to stay away from lecturing; make it a conversation.
  • Make sure your child knows you care. Your counsel isn’t going to mean much if your teen doesn’t believe you care that much in the first place. Spend one-on-one time together in which you provide your loving, undivided attention.
  • Set clear and realistic expectations for behavior. Establish consistent and appropriate consequences for breaking the rules.

MADD says it’s important for parents to drive home the following points:

  • Drinking is illegal for teens;
  • Drinking and driving is illegal for everyone – and there is a very good reason for that;
  • Drinking affects the brain, particularly in terms of good judgement, and a person who is intoxicated is not going to be a good judge of whether they are Ok to get behind the wheel;
  • Discuss ways to resist the intensive peer pressure that might accompany prom and graduation season.

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In the United States, everyone knows that a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher means you are above the legal limit. However, few stop to question how or why the government came up with the .08 number or whether this is really a reasonable way to determine when someone is intoxicated. 806619_tequila_and_flower.jpg

Our Spartanburg accident lawyers know that other countries and locations throughout the world have different ideas when it comes to drunk driving. For example, according to the International Business Times, one Irish town that recently relaxed its drunk driving laws still has tougher laws than those that exist throughout the United States.

Drunk Driving Limits
According to the International Business Times, the local government in Ireland voted in January to permit people in certain isolated areas to drive after they had consumed a couple of drinks of alcohol.

Politicians in favor of loosening the drunk driving laws expressed the belief that rural residents might want to head out to the pub occasionally and, in fact, that doing so could help to prevent mental illnesses. The politicians argue that these rural drivers were not likely to become involved in crashes on deserted country roads and thus advocated loosening the BAC rules for when they would be considered too drunk to drive back home.

This may sound shocking and dangerous, until you consider the fact that their looser laws are still more stringent than the “strict” laws we have in the United States. Under the new laws in Ireland, for example, drivers are now permitted to drive on rural roads if they have a BAC of up to .07. This gives more leeway than the normal rule that indicates a driver is drunk if he has a BAC of .05. Of course, .07 is still below the legal limit of .08 in the United States.

The BAC requirements have changed over time in the U.S., and for decades the limit was between .10 and .15. However, in 1995, a report was published by National Highway Traffic Safety Administrators indicated that the increase in accidents once a driver has a BAC of .08 or higher is significant. In general, the accident risk directly correlates with drunk driving, going up as the BAC level of the driver rises. However, the increase in crashes rises rapidly after the driver has a BAC above .08.

This study, other scientific studies like it and pressure from groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, already brought the BAC limit down from where it was in the past to the current .08 level. When the BAC legislation went into effect and set the bar at .08 to determine illegality, driver deaths in alcohol-related dropped significantly. The exact decline in the number of drunk driving deaths varies from location to location, with a 4 percent reduction in alcohol-related fatality crashes in California as compared with a 40 percent drop in Vermont.

So despite what Ireland is doing with its DUI laws (or may not be doing since the proposition passed by the legal council may actually have no legal status), you can rest assured that the laws in the U.S. have made a difference in keeping people safe. However, a tougher BAC law might do more.
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January has been a deadly month on the roadways of South Carolina. According to The State, there have already been 47 people killed in car accidents in Spartanburg and elsewhere throughout the state. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, Richland County has reported the most deaths so far with eight. Lexington County ranked in at number three with five traffic-related fatalities. Most of the victims were residents of South Carolina, but many others were from Virginia and North Carolina.
“It’s the same thing over and over and over,” said Richland County Trooper Brian Kelly. “It’s the drinking and driving, no seat belts, the speeding.”

Our South Carolina car accident lawyers understand that officers have grown weary of the irresponsible driving habits of those in the state. Earlier in the month, Lexington County Sheriff James Metts held a news conference to discuss the latest trend in fatal traffic accidents. Throughout the conference he waived his fist in the air and shouted “Enough is enough!” He announced that State Highway Patrol officers will be increasing their enforcement efforts in the coming months and throughout the year to help to reduce the number of fatal accidents. Within these enforcement efforts is a plan for officer to stop pedestrians who they believe are endangering themselves on our roadways.

Just last week, there were four people killed during an accident in Columbia on George Rogers Boulevard.

The trend continued throughout the weekend, losing the lives of six people on our roadways. Two of the fatalities were pedestrians and one was a moped rider. The other three killed over the weekend were motorists who were not wearing a seat belt.

Additionally, there were 35 people killed in accidents across the state so far in January while riding in trucks and cars. More than half of the fatalities in these accidents were victims who were not wearing a seat belt. The rest were bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

Kelly says that we are seeing more pedestrian accidents because of the struggling economy – people can’t afford to drive cars like they used to. Kelly asks motorists to keep an eye out for pedestrians and travelers using other non-traditions modes of transportation. Pay attention, he adds.

According to 2005 statistics from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety:

-Someone is killed in a traffic-related accident in the state every 8 hours.

-Someone is injured every on our roadways 10.6 minutes.

-Alcohol-related traffic accidents injure or kill someone every 2 hours.

-Traffic accidents involving a teenage driver injure or kill someone every 1.2 hours.

-A bicyclist is killed every 21 and a half days.

-A motorcyclist is killed every 3.9 days.

-A pedestrian is killed every 3.7 days.

-There is a traffic accident every 4.7 minutes.

If we don’t start paying more attention and practicing safer driving habits on our state’s roadways, these statistics are sure to get much worse. The number of fatalities is increasing significantly already in 2012. Start now and make a change for safer roadways by being more careful and cautious while traveling.
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A recent drunk driving accident in Charlotte that cost a pedestrian her life has caused quite a stir with local business establishments and members of the community.

WSOCTV reports a woman was hit by a drunk driver in an SUV as she was crossing the street. A witness reported the young woman had made it across safely but was hit when she turned around. Local merchants are petitioning the city to have a crosswalk put in at the intersection because it is so difficult to get across safely with the heavy flow of traffic.

The closest nearby crosswalk to the scene of the accident is nearly a block away. The alleged drunk driver who is charged with causing the accident was arrested on counts of DWI, felony involuntary manslaughter and a violation for license restriction.
Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers know that the holidays are fast approaching which is cause for celebration but please be responsible by choosing not to drive under the influence. We hope for the safety of all roadway users to keep drunk drivers off the streets so everyone can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season this year.

WCNC reports that neighbors within the community are also expressing their concern about the dangerous but popular party spot. Though the pedestrian accident was a tragedy, members of the community fear it will happen again. One posed problem is the convenience of parking near bars and restaurants in the area.

A merchant parking lot is located nearby which requires crossing the street with no crosswalk as opposed to parking up on the corner which would require using three crosswalks to get to the same popular bar and restaurant area.

Several neighbors spoke of previous near-misses which are good indicators that this is a dangerous area waiting for more accidents to happen. The last accident at this spot occurred in August 2010 when three pedestrians were hit by a drunk driver but no one was killed.

In the news since the accident is a bar owner taking matters into his own hands by launching an online petition to get safety features added in front of his business where the pedestrian was killed. The Charlotte Observer reports the owner of Jackelope Jack’s has petitioned the city to install flashing lights and speed limit curfews.

The victim was a regular patron at the establishment and had left there right before the accident occurred. The owner stated that Jackelope Jack’s would contribute financially to installing the requested safety measures to help keep patrons safe as they head home.

The transportation department in Charlotte is waiting for police to complete their investigation before they send out a team for a field investigation. An investigative team will then conduct an engineering study to see what measures can be taken to improve pedestrian safety.

Drunk drivers kill more than 10,000 people annually. Don’t let this year end in tragedy by getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Be responsible for your own actions and don’t let friends drive drunk.
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The second topic of our “Most Wanted Safety Improvement” series is drunk driving accidents. So much has been done to improve awareness over the years but drunk driving accidents in Charlotte, Asheville and elsewhere continue to be a serious threat to the welfare of all motorists.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released a most wanted list emphasizing areas of improvement that need to be addressed in order to progress the safety of all Americans.
Other topics we will be hitting on in a four-part series are motorcycle accidents, teen safe driving, and bus accidents. Our Asheville personal injury lawyers find it almost unfathomable that someone dies every 48 minutes in the United States from a drunk driving accident.

Approximately a third of highway deaths in 2009 were at the hands of a drunk driver, causing 10,839 deaths nationwide. The number of overall traffic fatalities has decreased in recent years but drunk driving crashes have continued to be the cause of approximately 30 percent or more fatalities each year in the last 10 years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is estimated that an impaired driver gets behind the wheel 88 times before being arrested for driving under the influence. This equates to 88 opportunities of putting another motorist’s life in danger because the impaired driver may veer left of the center line, miss a stop sign, or speed past another vehicle and cause a collision. This doesn’t begin to cover the number of times an impaired driver gets behind the wheel following an arrest.

Over the years, stricter laws have been mandated statewide. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Students Against Drunk Driving, and International Drunk Driving Prevention Association have continued to create awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Yet motorists still continue to make poor decisions when choosing to get behind the wheel impaired. The NTSB considers the issue quite complex and thinks the answer is to treat every case individually and know that no single countermeasure will effectively work across the board.

Sobriety checkpoints and revoking an impaired driver’s license are programs that can help discourage drinking and driving. The problem is habitual drunk drivers are just that; they have formed a habit of making bad choices to get behind the wheel to operate a vehicle while under the influence. Reducing the option to plea bargain, requiring a habitual offender to seek treatment, and holding an impaired driver responsible to make a behavior change are all standards to be considered in the future.

We posted previously on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that new technology currently in the developmental stages could be the answer to eliminating habitual drunk driving in the future.

Advocates opposed to drunk driving are optimistic that the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is an important step to saving lives and eliminating the risk of drunk drivers by having a device installed by automakers that would not allow an impaired driver to start the vehicle. Making the DADSS device standard in all vehicles will likely keep drunk drivers off the streets and keep motorists safer.
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Lake Norman is growing vastly more popular with each passing day, which can only mean the risk of a boating accident in North Carolina is also increasing every day. Charlotte accident attorneys want to remind boaters to use caution on overcrowded waterways in order to prevent a collision.

Fox Charlotte reports that North Carolina is ranked in the Top 10 when it comes to boating accidents and fatalities each year. More than 75 million Americans went boating throughout the country in 2010. North Carolina ranks ninth in boating accidents, ninth in boating injuries and seventh in boating fatalities.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission reported more than 368,000 registered boaters in 2009. There were 154 boating accidents and 21 fatalities in our state in 2009. The 21 deaths marked the second highest year since 2005. From 2000 to 2009, the average number of boating accidents in North Carolina each year was 177.

Operating under the influence of alcohol, lack of training and speeding are primary causes of boating accidents. It is estimated that half of all boating accidents are alcohol-related. Boat patrols will be in full force during the summer months to help reduce the number of incidents that occur from alcohol or driving too fast. There are six law enforcement agencies that patrol Lake Norman, including two full-time officers from Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

North Carolina Wildlife Officers have the prerogative to stop a vessel at any time for violations or safety checks as authorized by N.C.G.S. 75A. Patrol officers scan over 5,000 square miles of water bodies in North Carolina in order to preserve the safety of all who participate in watercraft activities.

NCWRC offers the following safety requirements and reminders to boaters this summer:

-Don’t drink and drive on the road or on the water. The legal limit for driver intoxication on both the roads and water is .08.

-Boater fatigue can increase the effects of alcohol up to three times in some individuals. The causes of boater fatigue include vibrations, wind, heat, motor noise, waves and sun glare.

-Enroll and pass a boater’s safety course in order to obtain a certification card. The WRC provides the course for free. Boating safety education requirements must be met by anyone younger than 26 driving a 10-horsepower or greater motor boat on a public waterway.

-U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests must be worn by children 12 and under when riding on a moving vessel. Type I, II, or III personal flotation devices are required by both state and federal law to be on board a recreational vessel.

-Provide a Float Plan to a reliable person before pushing away from shore.

-Check your vessel and do routine maintenance checks before each boat excursion.

To enroll or check availability for boating safety education courses, click to view or call 1-919-707-0031.
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