A negligent attempt to avoid a rear-end collision resulted in a fatal head-on collision in Anderson County, South Carolina (SC). The deadly wreck west of Greenville happened at 4:45 pm on April 25, 2017, near the intersection of Highway 8/Pelzer Highway and Hunt Road.
Investigators from the State Highway Patrol told reporters that a pickup truck driver caused the fatal crash by swerving across the center line of the highway when he drove up behind a Honda that had stopped to make a legal left turn. The pickup then slammed into a Saturn traveling in the opposite direction, and the person driving the Saturn died at the scene.
The man behind the wheel of the pickup escaped injury, but he faces a preliminary charge of driving too fast for conditions. This is not an offense related to exceeding a posted speed limit, but it does indicate law enforcement’s belief that the driver was not responding appropriately to changes in traffic flow or bad weather. The relevant part of the South Carolina Code of Laws, section 56-5.1520(A), states
A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. 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.
Neglecting one’s duty to maintain a safe speed or to slow down when crash risks arise results in thousands of deaths across the United States each year. According to a recent report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes and at a tremendous cost. NHTSA estimates that the annual economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion. In 2012, speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, and 10,219 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.”
As the fatal head-on in Anderson County shows, merely failing to reduce speed when safety demands can lead to tragedy. My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the friends and family of the innocent Saturn driver who lost his life, and we urge everyone to keep their speed under control.