Motorcyclist Fatalities on the Rise in South Carolina
The number of deadly traffic accidents involving motorcyclists rose in South Carolina in 2019, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. The reasons for the increase are varied, but many officials and motorcycle advocates say distracted and inattentive driving played major roles.
In 2018, a total of 104 motorcyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents on South Carolina roads. By December of 2019, 1,700 motorcycle accidents occurred in South Carolina, causing over 1,400 injuries and 113 tragic fatalities.
In 2019, close to 80 fatalities occurred between May and September, which is not unusual for the state. Historical data shows that motorcycle crashes and fatalities jump during the summer months, when more riders are out on the roads.
Law enforcement officers say that many of the motorcycle accidents in 2019 and in years prior occurred because of distracted driving. South Carolina already has a law in place that makes it illegal to text and drive, but officers say it is extremely difficult to enforce. A $25.00 fine for texting while driving is not much of a deterrent. Making phone calls and using the phone for navigation are still legal, so drivers can simply argue that they were using their phones for one of these reasons to avoid a ticket.
Ahead in 2020, lawmakers in the state plan to keep pushing for passage of a hands-free law that would make it illegal for people to hold their cell phones while driving. Lawmakers worked on a hands-free bill during much of 2019, but it did not pass the necessary hurdles before the year’s end.
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