Do South Carolina’s Lax Driver’s Ed Requirements Contribute to the State’s High Rate of Car Accidents?
South Carolina has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the United States. While there are many potential reasons for this, the state’s driver’s education requirements are extraordinarily lax compared to other states. For many drivers, the requirements are non-existent.
Driving a car is a major responsibility. Not only that, but it is also a skill that takes practice. You cannot just get behind the wheel of a car for the first time and know how to drive safely. It takes time not only to learn how to operate the vehicle physically but also to learn all the traffic laws. It stands to reason that absent sufficient training, drivers will make mistakes more often, leading to more car accidents.
South Carolina Driver’s Education Requirement’s
Every state is responsible for issuing driver’s licenses to its citizens. And each state’s driving requirements vary. In most states, regardless of a person’s age, they must first complete a driver’s education program. However, in South Carolina, that is not the case; anyone over 17 can obtain a driver’s license without taking driver’s ed.
For younger drivers, South Carolina law imposes some requirements. South Carolina uses a graduated driver’s license program that allows new drivers to develop their skills while limiting their driving freedom. To obtain a license, a young driver must pass a written test and a practical driving exam. In total, this provides the driver with eight hours of in-class instruction and at least six hours of on-the-road experience. However, for adults—regardless of whether they have licenses in another state—there are no such requirements.
South Carolina Car Accident Statistics
South Carolina is not a particularly large or population-dense state. However, The Palmetto State has one of the highest rates of fatal car accidents in the county, with more than 922 people killed each year in motor vehicle collisions. For every 100,000 people, nearly 20 are killed in car accidents each year. However, the significance of these numbers is hard to discern without context.
For comparison, below is the fatal accident data for a few nearby states:
• 1,373 car accident fatalities
• 13.1 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
• 1,491 car accident fatalities
• 14 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
• 1,135 car accident fatalities
• 16.6 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
• 831 car accident fatalities
• 9.7 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
• 3.183 car accident fatalities
• 14.8 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
While the number of fatalities in many of these states is higher than in South Carolina, the other states have a much higher population. Looking at the fatality rate per 100,000 residents gives a better idea of how dangerous a state’s roads are.
Take Florida, for example, which has a significantly lower rate of fatal accidents. In Florida, all first-time drivers, regardless of age, must complete the First Time Driver/Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course. Similarly, Georgia, another state with a lower accident rate, requires all drivers to pass a written test before obtaining their license. In Virginia, which has the lowest accident rate of all nearby states, drivers must obtain a learner’s permit for 60 days and then complete a behind-the-wheel checklist, which must be certified by another driver who attests to the applicant’s skills.
It is hard to deny that South Carolina’s high rate of car accidents is unrelated to the state’s lax driver’s education requirements.
Recovering Compensation After an Accident with an Inexperienced Driver
While South Carolina does not require driver’s education for adult drivers, state law does allow accident victims to hold negligent drivers financially responsible for the accidents they cause. Through a personal injury lawsuit, accident victims can obtain compensation for their accident-related expenses. While the exact type and amount of damages vary, typically, a damages award will compensate an accident victim for their medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and emotional damage, such as pain and suffering.
Contact the Steinberg Law Firm to Speak With a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a motor vehicle accident that an inexperienced or untrained driver caused, contact the Steinberg Law Firm today. Our knowledgeable South Carolina personal injury lawyers have the skill, dedication, and resources to bring a car accident claim on your behalf effectively. We have over 90 years of experience handling cases against some of the largest and most powerful insurance companies. With our help, you can begin the process of moving on after an accident. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, give the Steinberg Law Firm a call at 843-720-2800. You can also contact us through our online form, and one of our attorneys will get back to you shortly. We represent clients throughout South Carolina, including but not limited to Charleston, West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, Moncks Corner, and Goose Creek.
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