A two-car crash on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (SC), sent six people to hospitals with injuries. One needed to be flown from the scene for lifesaving medical treatment. The nearly head-on collision happened on the flyover to the bridge on U.S. 278 on the morning of April 4, 2017.
According to police reports, the wreck happened after an eastbound driver lost control of his vehicle and crossed the median to his left. He reportedly swerved to avoid an object in the roadway but was traveling too fast to stay on his side of the highway.
The at-fault driver and two passengers in his car, including a 1-year-old strapped into a safety seat, sustained “incapacitating injuries.” Hospital personnel cited privacy considerations in not releasing information on the nature of the injuries suffered by the people in the westbound car hit by the out-of-control vehicle.
Following more than a full day of investigations, police cited the man who drove across the highway median with driving too fast for conditions. According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, that charge applies when a person operates “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”
Section 56-5-1520 of the state’s statutes further state that
Speed must be so controlled to avoid colliding with a person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of a person to use care. … The driver of a vehicle shall drive … at an appropriate reduced speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, approaching a hillcrest, when traveling upon any narrow bridge, narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
The shorter version is that drivers have a legal duty to slow down below the posted speed limit when doing so is necessary to avoid an accident. Neglecting that duty too often proves fatal. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “In 2015, speeding was a factor in 27 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2005. Speeding was defined to include crashes in which the driver was issued a traffic citation for speeding or in which driver-related factors included driving too fast for conditions, racing or exceeding the posted speed limit.”
While no one lost his or her life in this wreck on the bridge to Hilton Head Island, law enforcement authorities did determine that driving at an unsafe speed created a situation that left half a dozen people, including a very young child, badly injured. Consulting with an experienced Carolina personal injury lawyer would help the innocent victims of the speed-related crash file and collect on insurance claims against the negligent driver.