Call Us for a Consultation

1-800-868-0400

Fighting for South Carolina Injury Victims Since 1969

Main Causes of Car Accidents in South Carolina

Distraction is one of the many causes of car accidents

Since 1969, the personal injury lawyers of Jebaily Law Firm have worked hard to protect auto accident victims and their families in Florence and throughout South Carolina. Our experience has taught us that driver negligence is the cause of the majority of crashes that occur in our state.

As you can see in the below chart, the S.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS) reports that driver action or inaction accounted for 93 percent of our state’s traffic accidents in one recent year. In other words, driver negligence was the “primary contributing factor” to most crashes.

Contributing factor Collisions Pct.
Motorist action/inaction 100,697 93.0%
Environment 3,900 3.6%
Vehicle defect 1,756 1.6%
Non-motorist action/inaction 1,056 1.0%
Road conditions 852 0.8%
TOTAL 108,261 100%

The DPS reports that the leading types of driver action/inaction were:

Contributing Factors Collisions Injuries Fatalities
Driving too fast for conditions 29,562 13,241 155
Failure to yield right of way 21,258 12,132 94
Distraction/inattention 8,482 3,329 11
Following too closely 8,448 2,985 0
Improper lane use/change 6,650 1,400 11
Driving under the influence 5,513 3,729 244
Disregarding signs/signals 4,788 3,334 26
Making an improper turn 2,246 637 4

Another way to view the common causes of South Carolina car accidents is through these categories:

Aggressive Driving

Speeding, tailgating, racing to beat red lights and making dangerous passes (especially on two-lane, rural highways) all fall into this category. A violation of a traffic law may be used to assert negligence per se. This means that a driver’s negligence is established by his or her violation of the traffic law. It also can serve as evidence of recklessness and willfulness, leading to an award of punitive damages in a personal injury claim.

Impaired Driving

As the above DPS figures show, impaired driving is the leading cause of deadly crashes in our state. Violating South Carolina’s driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) laws can also establish negligence per se and support a claim for punitive damages. Driving under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription drugs is illegal (and highly dangerous) as well.

Distracted Driving

The use of electronic devices by drivers makes our roads dangerous. During a recent year, the DPS reports that talking on cell phones and texting while driving caused 133 crashes and 64 injuries in our state. Accidents happen when drivers take their minds off driving, their eyes off the road and their hands off a steering wheel. Reading a GPS, turning the radio, smoking, eating, drinking, talking to passengers and dealing with pets in a car can also lead to crashes.

Fatigued Driving

A study by French researchers found that driving while drowsy is as dangerous as drunk driving. A lack of sleep impairs one’s mental and physical faculties. It makes it difficult to safely operate a motor vehicle. Fatigue often is a factor in accidents that involve commercial truck drivers.

Inexperienced Driving

South Carolina’s graduated driver’s license program has helped to cut down on crashes by allowing teens to receive needed instruction, supervision and experience. However, as studies show, teens still are prone to risky behaviors. In fact, a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that as many as 60 percent of teen accidents are caused by distractions such as using cell phones or interacting with other passengers.

As you can see in the above DPS chart, driver behavior is not the only cause of auto accidents in South Carolina. The other non-driver causes are:

  • Environment – You may be hurt in a crash that involves hitting an animal like a deer or that is caused by driving in icy, rainy or foggy conditions.
  • Vehicle Defect – DPS data shows that defective tires or wheels frequently lead to crashes. Other automotive defects that commonly cause accidents are faulty brakes and steering systems. In some cases, the design of a car, truck, van or SUV may make the vehicle more likely to roll over or explode in a crash.
  • Non-motorist actions – A wreck may be triggered by the negligence of a person on a motorcycle or scooter or by a pedestrian or bicyclist. For example, a motorcyclist may cross into your lane without signaling, or a pedestrian may illegally cross a road, causing you to swerve into a dangerous situation.
  • Road conditions – Ruts or holes in the road, deteriorating shoulders, missing traffic control devices or carelessly set up work zones can also contribute to crashes.

Talk with a Florence Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is hurt in an auto accident through no fault of your own, the car accident lawyers of Jebaily Law Firm will put their experience to work for you.

We go beyond the police accident report when investigating crashes. We conduct our own investigation studying crash scene evidence.  Depending upon the severity of the matter, our investigation can include:   interviewing witnesses, requesting cell phone records, examining black box data, and consulting with accident reconstruction experts to determine how a crash occurred and who should be held responsible.

We serve clients in Florence and throughout South Carolina. To learn more, simply call us today or connect with us online. We can provide a free case review.

Sources / More Information