As personal injury lawyers in Rock Hill, South Carolina, we know that the summer months’ warm weather and students (college, in particular) on the loose can be a dangerous combination. Although most summertime outdoor activities carry some degree of risk, some are more dangerous than others. Outdoor recreation and sporting activities cause thousands of injuries each summer, from cuts and burns to broken bones. You can reduce the risk of accidents this summer and avoid a trip to the emergency room by using common sense. In this article, we will explain some of the most common summer injuries in South Carolina.
WHAT ARE COMMON SUMMERTIME INJURIES IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
In South Carolina, we are fortunate to have access to myriad summer activities. Boating, hiking, cycling, and sports are some of the most popular summertime activities but they can be fraught with the potential for injury. Not surprisingly, the CDC, reported that emergency room visits spike drastically during the summer.
Most summertime injuries can be avoided by using common sense. The most common injuries during the summer months include:
Vehicles. The statistics for summertime vehicle injuries in South Carolina are eye-opening.
- One person killed every 8.2 hours
- One person injured or killed in a DUI every 2.1 hours
- One fatal or injury crash with a driver 19 years old or under every hour.
- One unrestrained child killed every 17.9 hours
- One BICYCLIST killed every 17.4 days
- One MOTORCYCLIST killed every 3.0 days
- One PEDESTRIAN killed every 3.4 days
- One CHILD UNDER 6 seriously injured or killed
every 10.5 days
The Post and Courier reported,
Charleston County totaled 44 traffic deaths on South Carolina highways in 2016, according to preliminary numbers released Tuesday by the S.C. Department of Public Safety.
All told, there were 975 traffic deaths statewide last year — a small drop from the 979 deaths in 2015, but significantly higher than the 823 deaths in 2014 and the 767 in 2013.
Alcohol. South Carolina once again finds itself at the top of a “worst of” list. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, South Carolina is the worst in the nation in regard to the percentage of traffic deaths involving drunk driving.
Of the 767 traffic deaths reported in 2016, 44% of those were attributable to drunk driving, which is well above the national average of 31%.
A drunk driver is 15x more likely to be involved in a crash and to be fatally injured than a sober driver. Nearly 48%of all traffic fatalities involve an intoxicated person. Avoidable.
Fatigue. Drivers between the ages of 18-24 are at special risk with over 56% of fatal crashes involving fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel. It is difficult to determine crashes to sleepiness because there is no test to determine its presence as there is for intoxication such as a breathalyzer.
A driver who is impaired by drowsiness is just as dangerous as a driver who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. A tired driver, like a drunk driver, has a slowed reaction time, little coordination, and an inability to use proper judgment. Avoidable.
Speed. When intoxicated, some feel the need for speed. The faster your car is moving, the more distance and time it takes to stop which, in turn, reduces the amount of time a driver has to react and the ability to safely negotiate the road. Avoidable.
Boating. Summertime means boating for many South Carolinians. More people are heading out for a long day of sun and a cooler packed with food and beverages, some of which is for adult consumption.
If a boat is operated improperly, it could lead to serious injury or death for the crew as well as other boaters or swimmers in the area. Most boating accidents involve capsizing, falls overboard, and collisions. Avoidable.
The South Carolina Legislature outlines boating infraction in S.C. Code Ann. § 50-21-112.
(A) A person who operates any water device in such a manner as to indicate either a wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless operation.
(B) Reckless operation includes, but is not limited to, weaving through congested vessel traffic at more than idle speed; or jumping the wake of another vessel within two hundred feet of that vessel; or crossing the path or wake of another vessel when the visibility around the other vessel is obstructed; or maintaining a collision course with another vessel or object and swerving away in close proximity to the other vessel or object.
(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.
(D) A person convicted of reckless operation, in addition to any other penalties, shall be required by the department to attend and complete a boating safety education program approved by the department. The person required to attend the program shall reimburse the department for the expense of the program. A person’s privilege to operate a water device within this State shall be suspended until successful completion of the required program.
A person’s privilege to operate a water device within this State shall be suspended by the department for a period of ninety days upon conviction of a second offense of reckless operation of a water device within a five-year period. Following the ninety-day suspension, the person’s privilege shall remain suspended until successful completion of a boating safety education program approved by the department. The person required to attend the program shall reimburse the department for the expense of the program.
Animals. During this time of year, more people are walking their dogs. While most dog owners are responsible, there are always a few that allow their dog to roam the neighborhood. In South Carolina, the owner of a dog that bites you is strictly liable under the law as long as you were either in a public place or lawfully on private property, including the dog owners’ property. To read more about South Carolina’s dog owners’ responsibilities, please refer to our article entitled, “WHAT IS SOUTH CAROLINA’S DOG BITE LAW?”
Summertime in South Carolina is something that should be experienced…safely. If you are injured through no fault of your own, let the Lewis Law Firm help get you the compensation you deserve.