It’s not a distinction any state wants, but a 2012 survey by Car Insurance Comparison indicated that South Carolina has the most dangerous highways in the nation. Researchers based each state’s danger rating on the following factors:
- Fatalities attributed to interstate speeding for each mile of interstate
- Percentage of drivers who do not use seatbelts
- Number of highway bridges deemed deficient or obsolete
- Highway fatalities in the state for every 1,000 highway miles traveled
- Dollar amount of federal funding
- Death rates posted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
To make matters worse, South Carolina ranked in the bottom half of every category in the survey. The second and third-worst states for driving safety, Florida and Alabama, were nearly 40 points ahead of South Carolina. Unfortunately, little has changed in the last five years. One reason for this is that truck drivers still tend to speed on state highways.
The Dangers of Speeding for Commercial Truck Drivers
Any driver who chooses to speed puts everyone else on the road at risk. However, a commercial truck driver who exceeds the posted speed limit can be especially dangerous. The sheer size of one of these vehicles makes it difficult to control if the driver needs to stop, swerve, or turn quickly. This can easily lead to a rollover situation, a runaway truck, a jackknife accident, or several other types of serious or potentially deadly crashes.
Many states, including South Carolina, have set separate speed limits for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. This is to address the inherent danger in operating an 18-wheel vehicle that weighs several tons. Currently, the speed limit for commercial trucks on rural and urban interstates is 70 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour on other limited access roads. Unfortunately, some truckers choose to travel at the same speed as drivers operating a private vehicle.
Truck drivers may also drive too fast for the current conditions, even though they may not be speeding. The following are common examples of when it may be difficult for a commercial driver to control his or her vehicle even when driving at or below the posted speed limit:
- Adverse weather conditions, including fog, heavy rain, and freezing rain
- Congested traffic
- Obstacles in the road
- Sharp curves
- Slow traffic
- Steep hills
- Uneven pavement
- Other road hazards
Sadly, a passenger car is no match for an 18-wheel commercial truck and the consequences of a crash can be devastating.
Challenges of Bringing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Commercial Truck Driver
Any motor vehicle accident is stressful, especially if you suffer from injuries because of it. However, it is much easier to collect damages in a timely manner when you get into an accident with another driver of a private vehicle. That is because you know who caused the accident and who is ultimately responsible for your injuries. Things aren’t as straightforward when you crash with a commercial trucker. While it might seem obvious to you that he or she should take the blame, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Several other parties may also share responsibility, including:
- The truck driver’s employer who required him or her to drive on little sleep or with knowledge of another condition that could negatively impact safety
- The people responsible for the maintenance of the commercial truck who may have ignored needed repairs or acted in another negligent manner
- The manufacturer of the vehicle
- The loader or shipper of the truck’s cargo if faulty loading played a role in the accident
At Peake & Fowler, our experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys will use every resource at their disposal to determine liability in your accident case. Because cases like this can become quite complex, we recommend that you engage the services of a South Carolina personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Under South Carolina Code section 15-3-530, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim (two years if the defendant is a government agency) for personal injury or property damage. If you’re filing a wrongful death case on behalf of a family member, the clock starts from the date of death.
Contact Peake & Fowler to Schedule a Free Consultation
At Peake & Fowler we are pleased to offer a free consultation for all new clients. We will review your case and recommend whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for your injuries. Peake & Fowler is located in Columbia, South Carolina, and we serve all surrounding communities. Our skilled South Carolina accident injury attorneys can be reached at (803) 788-4370 or online.