When you are injured in a car accident because of another person’s negligence, you should hire an experienced car accident attorney in Aiken, SC, to recover the damages you deserve.
Many car accidents in Aiken, South Carolina, occur at the intersections of:
- Whiskey Road and East Pine Log Road
- Whiskey Road and East Gate Drive
- University Parkway and Richland Avenue
- Whiskey Road and Dougherty Road
- Pine Log Road and Silver Bluff Road
These are the top five intersections for motor vehicle accidents in the city of Aiken for nearly a decade or longer. The most recent data from the Aiken Department of Public Safety shows that these five intersections account for 136 of the 5,660 accidents that happened in the city that year.
The Aiken Department of Public Safety uses monthly reports to direct its car accident mitigation efforts. The reports tell officials which intersections to focus on. The top five intersections are consistently among the top 10 locations for crashes in the city, though specific ranking may change from month to month.
Many Issues Lead to Car Accidents in Aiken, SC
While public safety officials have attributed the number of collisions at the intersections to the density of traffic, residents in the Aiken community point to other issues. The roads’ design (particularly circular intersections like Laurens Street and Richland Avenue downtown) and traffic signal execution may contribute. Residents also note that driving in Aiken is often confusing.
Visitors to the area often get confused about how to use circular intersections, which allow drivers to go in a certain direction depending on the flow of traffic. Meanwhile, local drivers get impatient and frustrated with confused visitors, leading to road rage, reckless driving, and other risky behaviors.
Whiskey Road and Other Intersections in Aiken
Further, the notoriously dangerous Whiskey Road lacks traffic signals at various intersections throughout the corridor. Drivers have noted a lack of left turn arrows. To fix the problems, Aiken County is developing a project to improve Whiskey Road. The infamous street is the subject of an ongoing feasibility study aimed at creating a safety plan to enhance the 4.5-mile stretch of Whiskey Road from Powderhouse Road to Eagle Road.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has already begun a project to improve the intersection at Whiskey and Eagle roads with traffic lights and other enhancements. Additional changes to Whiskey Road will consider findings from the feasibility study, existing traffic data, and input from the Aiken, SC, community.
Aiken Law Enforcement Efforts to Reduce Traffic Collisions
A recent report shows that Aiken saw 266 traffic injuries and two traffic fatalities last year. Locally, the city is known for its very congested and accident-prone intersections. That reputation is not surprising for the county seat of its namesake Aiken County, which is ranked among the top 11 counties for car accidents. The state has 46 counties.
The city of Aiken received a grant from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety and the Office of Highway Safety and Justice programs to reduce motor vehicle crashes. The grant is a part of a larger effort by the state to curtail motor vehicle crashes in its top 20 priority counties through funding traffic enforcement and education projects.
In Aiken (and statewide), the projects focus on:
- Speed enforcement
- Drunk driving enforcement
- Occupant protection enforcement (such as the use of seatbelts)
- Public information, awareness, and education on traffic issues
Aiken, SC, officials created a dedicated two-officer traffic enforcement unit to lead the efforts within the city. Activities include checkpoints and speed traps on roads identified with speeding problems.
When Do Most Car Accidents Occur?
Time is a crucial factor affecting the frequency of car crashes. The number of accidents in Aiken, SC varies based on the time of day, day of the week, or month. In addition, holidays and special occasions affect car accident rates. The most recent Traffic Collision Fact Book from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety provides insight into motor vehicle accidents across the state.
While more collisions occur Monday to Thursday, the greatest number of car accidents happen on Fridays, and the highest number of traffic deaths occurs on Saturdays. Overall, about half of traffic fatalities occur from Friday to Sunday and half from Monday to Thursday.
Many Collisions Happen After 3 p.m.
Peak hours for motor vehicle accidents in South Carolina are from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the period of time just preceding and following the start of rush hour. However, more fatal collisions tend to occur from the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight.
The uptick in crashes at night could be attributed to decreased visibility, driver exhaustion, and alcohol impairment. Of the latter factor, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed in its most recent report that fatal drunk driving crashes are 3.1 times higher at night than during the day.
Drivers Most Likely to Get into a Car Accident
Men are generally more likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions than women. The data from the Fact Book indicates that 72 percent of drivers in fatal crashes were male, while 24 percent were female. For the remaining 4 percent, gender was unknown.
Regarding age, young people have the highest frequency of car accidents.
The three leading age groups for collisions in order are:
- Ages 20 to 24: Drivers in this age group made up 12.7 percent of the total drivers in traffic accidents in the year the data was reported.
- Ages 25 to 29: Here, drivers accounted for 11 percent of all accident-involved drivers.
- Ages 15 to 19: Teenage drivers comprised 9 percent of the drivers involved in collisions.
Drivers in the 30 to 34 age group (along with those ages 35 to 39) round out the top five age groups for motor vehicle crashes as a whole.
Fatal crash statistics for the state reflect the same age groups in the top five, albeit in a different order. More drivers ages 25 to 29 have died in fatal crashes than any other group, followed by drivers aged 30 to 34 and drivers aged 20 to 24 years old.
Factors That Contribute to Motor Vehicle Accidents
There are numerous reasons car accidents occur, including driver-related factors, environmental factors, vehicle-related factors, and non-motorist factors.
Driver-Related Contributing Factors
Human error is the number one cause of car accidents. Ninety-four percent of primary contributing factors are driver-related, according to the Fact Book.
Driver-related contributing factors include:
- Driving too fast for roadway conditions
- Driving under the influence
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Disregarding traffic signs and signals
- Failing to yield to the right-of-way
- Distraction and inattention
- Fatigue/falling asleep at the wheel
- Improper lane use or change
- Improper turns
- Aggressive driving
Driving too fast for the conditions, failure to yield, and disregarding traffic signals are among the leading causes of collisions.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Aiken and the United States
Alcohol-impaired fatalities account for 30 percent of the total traffic accident fatalities in the state, according to the most recent Fact Book data. In Aiken County, there were 169 non-fatal drunk driving accidents and three drunk driving fatalities in the most recent data year. The country at large experienced 11,654 alcohol-impaired deaths that same year, representing 30 percent of the total 38,824 fatal traffic crashes.
Drunk Driving Laws in Aiken, SC
Drunk driving in Aiken, SC, and around the state is classified in two ways: driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (DUAC).
Driving Under the Influence
A DUI charge in the state means that drivers were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, usually with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. However, an officer can arrest a driver for a DUI with a BAC of less than 0.08 if other evidence indicates they were impaired. “Under the influence” means that the driver’s mental and physical capabilities are compromised and not functioning properly.
Driving With Unlawful Alcohol Concentration
A driver may also be arrested and convicted of driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration in Aiken. It is illegal to have a BAC of 0.08 in every state (a concept known as illegal per se). At that level, a driver is presumed to be under the influence. In this case, officers do not need to consider whether a driver’s faculties are impaired by the alcohol, only that their BAC level reached the legal limit.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Injuries suffered in car accidents typically affect the face, head, lower extremities, and upper extremities. Broken bones, bruises, lacerations, and abrasions are the most common type of injuries overall, while brain injury is the most frequent type of internal injury that car accident victims experience.
In general, car accident victims suffer:
- Contusions (bruises)
- Abrasions (scrapes)
- Lacerations (cuts)
- Leg, arm, and facial fractures
- Crushed extremities
- Brain injuries
- Injuries to the head, skull, and neck
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Abdominal injuries
- Pelvic fractures
- Chest injuries
- Limb amputation
- Damaged internal organs
What to Do in Case of a Car Accident in Aiken, SC?
You may have many concerns after being involved in an Aiken car accident. It’s important that you follow certain steps (if possible) to protect your legal rights. Anything you do after the accident could affect your right to recover damages later.
Again, if possible, you should:
- Remain at the scene. Leaving the scene of a car crash is illegal.
- Render aid to those injured if you can. The law stipulates you must help others injured in a car accident.
- Call 911. If there are injuries (major or minor), you must report them to the police by law. Even if there aren’t any injuries, you should report the accident, so officers can document the crash. You’ll need a crash report to file a claim later.
- Do not admit fault. Any admission of guilt could jeopardize your right to compensation, increase your car insurance premiums, or cancel your policy.
- Document your injuries and property damage. Take clear photos and/or record clear videos of your physical injuries, as well as the damage to your vehicle or other property. Additionally, it’s helpful to snap some photos of the accident scene, as well as damage to other cars and property in the area.
- Exchange information. You must exchange contact, vehicle, and insurance information with the other parties involved in the crash by law. The police may facilitate this as well.
- Seek medical treatment. A medical professional needs to examine and treat your injuries, even if they appear minor. If you feel uninjured, you should still see a doctor to confirm. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. If possible, take the ambulance ride to the hospital from the scene. Medical documentation is crucial to car accident claims.
- Keep all accident-related records. Store bills, receipts, and records related to the car accident in Aiken in a safe location.
- Notify your insurance company. Your auto insurance policy stipulates that you report your accident to your insurer. Failure to do so is a breach of contract. Notify the insurer but don’t go into detail or provide a recorded statement without talking to an attorney.
- Call an Aiken car accident lawyer. A car accident attorney can document your injuries, gather evidence, and help secure compensation for your losses. They can learn why you had a car accident in Aiken, SC, and fight for what you need.
You Have Legal Options Following a Car Accident in Aiken
You may wonder about Aiken’s car accident rate after a crash. If you were in a collision, the law allows you to file a claim or lawsuit to seek damages. Financial recovery could account for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
South Carolina limits how long you have to file a lawsuit after a collision. So, it’s in your best interest to explore your legal options as soon as possible.
A Aiken car accident firm can guide you through the claims process and seek the outcome you deserve.