Driver Finds Herself Between School Bus And 18-Wheeler, Palmetto State Works To Curb Rising Pedestrian Fatalities

Your lawyers in Charleston at Howell and Christmas have previously posted entries concerning school bus accidents, car accidents, and tractor-trailer accidents. However, none the past entries have involved all three of the said vehicles in a single incident, until today.

Last month in St. Stephan, South Carolina (a community in northern Berkeley County) the driver of a Nissan Maxima found herself wedged between a school bus and a tractor-trailer. The driver came to this precarious position after attempting to pass the school bus carrying students from Timberland High School. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, this attempted pass was made illegally as the roadway was marked with a double-yellow line, which earned the driver a citation for improper passing.

In the attempted pass the 43-year-old St. Stephan woman driving the Maxima struck the back of the bus, was forced to veer left, and was then hit by the tractor-trailer heading in the opposite direction. The driver of the Nissan and one Timberland High student were taken to a local hospital after the tractor-trailer accident, but the Post and Courier article covering the incident failed to report any specific injuries for these particular persons. Thankfully, it was reported that the driver of the tractor-trailer and the other 18 students aboard the bus escaped the auto accident without injury.

It is a recurring theme of the South Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog to advocate safe driving practices along the Palmetto State’s roadways, but it is of especial importance to be mindful of tractor-trailers (a.k.a 18-wheeler or semis) as these behemoths of the road pose a significant danger to everyday drivers. Because of the large weight contrast between semis and everyday passenger vehicles (minivans, sedans, compacts, etc.), the damage and danger of serious injury or death is heightened in accidents involving tractor-trailers.

Keeping public interest and safe driving practices in mind your Charleston lawyers would like bring your attention to a recent traffic-related problem that has raised serious concern for law enforcement agencies across South Carolina; pedestrian accidents. In 2011, statewide pedestrian fatalities reached a five-year high with 105 persons being killed while walking along South Carolina roads. Some law enforcement officers believe the spike from 2010 (84 recorded deaths) can be attributed to a poor economic climate. In a Post and Courier article, one South Carolina Highway Patrol Captain was quoted as saying, “In this tough economy–with repossession, people losing their vehicles and people not having jobs–you’ll see people more apt to walk in order to save on gas.”

To combat this problem of almost epidemic proportions, State Troopers plan to hand out 50,000 wristbands to individuals they see walking along South Carolina roads as a means to make these individuals more visible to drivers, especially at night. Also, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has launched an initiative called “Stop, Educate, Enforce,” which will have officers stop to speak to people walking and tell them about safe travel (using a reflector) or, in cases where the pedestrian is intoxicated, taking them off the road. Not surprisingly, alcohol often plays a major role in pedestrian deaths, as inebriated walkers may stumble into a busy road or make an unsafe decision when attempting to cross a road.

Interestingly, pedestrian accidents are not limited to just urban roads and intersections with high levels of vehicular traffic, often times poorly lit rural state highways are provide the setting for an unfortunate incident to occur. A few quick safety tips for both rural and urban pedestrians include; walk facing traffic on the shoulder of the roadway, wear light-colored clothing, as well as wear something reflective, and use crosswalks where available.

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