Traffic laws may differ from state to state, but a well-accepted concept is the right-of-way. The right-of-way allows others—particularly pedestrians, cyclists and those waiting to make a turn—priority to pass on the road.
Last June, motorist Glen Sloan failed to yield the right-of-way in Highway 278. South Carolina Highway Patrol cited Sloan for causing a traffic accident involving four vehicles after a Mack truck slammed into Sloan’s Mercedes and led to the overturning of an SUV. The accident resulted in one fatality and five injuries. This week, Sloan was charged for his involvement in June’s tragedy.
Sloan’s failure to yield involved four vehicles but a right-of-way accident can happen with just one vehicle. It only takes one vehicle, one driver and one other person for a failure of right-of-way incident to lead to an accident or fatality.
Pedestrian Accidents and Fatalities
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles states that any person on foot—including those pushing strollers, using a skateboard or roller skates, or a person with a disability using a wheelchair and other assistive devices—are pedestrians. All motorists should be prepared to slow down and be on alert not only for other vehicles but pedestrians and ready to yield the right-of-way.
According to the DMV, the most common victims of pedestrian fatalities are children, older individuals and those who have been drinking. All motorists should be aware of the possibility of a child that may dart into traffic who is too young to appreciate its dangers or an older person who may have diminished senses or unable to react and move as fast. Inebriated pedestrians may also suffer from impaired judgment and senses—motorists should be alert for the possibility of these individuals swerving into traffic.
Although a motorist involved in a pedestrian accident or fatality may argue that the pedestrian should have been more careful or aware, it is important to note that a higher burden is placed on the motorist because of traffic laws and the fact that injuries incurred from a vehicle are more severe than can be incurred from a wheelchair or a skateboard. The DMV warns that a common cause of pedestrian fatalities is when a pedestrian walks from behind a parked car. Both motorists and pedestrians should be alert of this danger—a driver may not be able to spot a small child behind a parked car and a tragedy can occur in a heartbeat.
Obeying Traffic Laws Helps Everyone
Last June’s tragedy could have been avoided if Sloan had yielded the right-of-way to other motorists. Pedestrian accidents and fatalities could be avoided if motorists are alert to these dangers and yield the right-of-way. Motorists who properly follow traffic laws bolster their defense in case of an accident, but, like pedestrians, they would also benefit from representation by an experienced and understanding attorney. It’s important to remember that when we’re on the road, we must follow traffic laws because we are all in this together.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.