It’s a time when many people are taking a forced hiatus from their normally fast-paced lives. We’re staying home waiting to be recalled to jobs, working from home, having necessities delivered, and making minimal trips to pick up groceries. School and even vacations have been canceled amidst stay-at-home orders and the need to socially distance ourselves. With fewer people out and about, how is it that we’ve seen such an uptick in speeding tickets and fatalities?
Traffic deaths can occur for many reasons, such as driving under the influence (DUI). Even when alcohol isn’t involved, speeding and recklessness kills. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, we have had 250 fatal crashes this year; by this time last year, South Carolina had 332 fatal crashes. That’s 82 fewer deaths, which is good news – except given the shutdown order, those numbers should be significantly lower.
According to Master Trooper Brian Lee, the sad fact is that with roadways seeing less traffic, it gives those who are still driving the room to speed to their destinations. Speeding makes it much more difficult to maneuver when there’s an obstacle in your lane, which is leading to traffic deaths. It’s a conundrum to think that traffic appears to save lives.
Drag racing isn’t just for movies
Another speeding-related problem is occurring on our streets: drag racing. While this is a recurring problem, Covid-19 has thinned out traffic making the streets even more accessible to illegal racing, especially after dark. Drag racing is popular among younger males, which means the age group most likely to experience injury or death – or arrests – while engaging in this activity are those between the ages of 16 to 24.
On May 11, a 26 year old Blythewood resident died following reports of a drag race in the 12th Street Extension located in West Columbia. Police gave chase intending to apprehend and arrest the racers when the young man sped off, losing control of his vehicle and crashing into some trees, reportedly dying at the scene.
Racing on public roads is illegal in South Carolina
Even when the roads are wide open, it’s still illegal to speed, and it’s still illegal to race. Under SC Code § 56-5-1590 (2019):
It shall be unlawful to engage in a motor vehicle race or contest for speed on any public road, street or highway in this State or to aid, abet or assist in any manner whatsoever in any such race or contest. Altering, changing, tampering with or “souping up” a motor vehicle for the purpose of racing or speeding on any public road, street or highway in this State shall be considered as aiding, abetting or assisting….
If you are convicted of racing you face fines of $200 to $600, and/or imprisonment for two to six months. You can also have your license revoked for a year. If you are charged with assisting in racing, you could lose your license and your registration for up to three months, and face up to $100 in fines and/or 30 days in jail.
At Holland Law, LLC, we want everyone to be safe out on the roads for not only yourself, but for those around you. If you are facing serious consequences from a traffic violation, Tom Holland is the criminal defense attorney you want on your side. Contact the firm in Fort Mill or Rock Hill by calling 803-219-2630, or through our contact page.