South Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm Urges Public Action to Prevent the Continued Rise of Needless Traffic Fatalities

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Alarmed by rising traffic fatalities, Columbia, SC law firm Chappell, Smith & Arden calls for distracted driving and helmet laws to protect everyone using South Carolina roads

South Carolina attorney Mark Chappell speaks out for legislation to curb traffic fatalities

South Carolina attorney Mark Chappell speaks out for legislation to curb traffic fatalities

I would rather have lawmakers take steps to protect the public than see one more person killed because a driver took his eyes off the road to send a text message.

South Carolina auto accident attorneys at Chappell, Smith & Arden, PA in Columbia are calling for state legislators to take action to protect the lives of those using the state's roads, prompted by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety's (SCDPS) latest report on rising traffic fatalities. Released Feb. 7, the report announced preliminary figures showing that as of Feb. 4, 2012, 74 people died on state roads compared to 53 deaths in the same period in 2011.

"This is the second year that fatalities on our roads are trending upward," says firm partner Mark D. Chappell. "What makes this especially distressing is that South Carolina is one of the few states where this is happening. Nationally, traffic fatalities have dropped every year for the past decade," the Columbia, SC car accident lawyer explained.

"We are lagging behind other states in passing distracted driving laws against cell phone usage and helmet laws that protect motorcycle riders from fatal head injuries. Statistics in other states show that some of these deaths are preventable," Chappell asserted. "We need to start doing something about it."

According to the SCDPS Feb. 7 report, the 74 fatalities so far in 2012 included 53 motor vehicle occupants, plus 14 pedestrians, a motorcyclist and three bicyclists. In South Carolina, past National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies (1) show that two out of three motorcyclists who die in SC crashes are not wearing helmets. Currently, state law requires only riders under 21 years of age to wear helmets.

Traffic experts agree that distracted driving is a growing cause of traffic accidents and fatalities. But according to the Governors Highway Safety Association 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs (2), South Carolina is behind most states in regulating cell phone use and texting while driving. While most states ban cell phone usage among specific groups such as bus drivers and underage drivers, and almost half states ban all cell phone usage by drivers of every class of vehicle, South Carolina has no such laws on the books, according to the report.
"Our firm represents clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases that often involve traffic accidents, so I know what I am talking about," says Chappell. "I would rather have lawmakers take steps to protect the public than see one more person killed because a driver took his eyes off the road to send a text message. It is just the right thing to do."

About Chappell, Smith & Arden, PA
The Columbia, South Carolina-based law firm of Chappell, Smith & Arden, PA focuses its practice on personal injury and wrongful death cases caused by car, truck and motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, dangerous products, and railroad accidents. The firm also has a significant workers compensation practice.

Founded in 1993 by two partners, the firm now has six attorneys, five offices and a large support staff. Chappell, Smith & Arden, PA has been involved in some of the most prominent South Carolina cases, such as the 2000 Charlotte Motor Speedway pedestrian bridge collapse resulting in a $150 million settlement for injury victims. The firm's practice is not limited to South Carolina, with cases throughout the South.

For more information about the firm, call (888) 513-6908 or visit Chappell, Smith & Arden, PA online.

(1) NHTSA Website Source: nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/STSI/45_SC/2010/45_SC_2010.htm
(2) Website Source: distraction.gov/download/research-pdf/GHSA-2010_distraction.pdf

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