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Drunk driving suspected cause of South Carolina motorcycle death

Columbia, South Carolina police charged a 26-year-old motorist with the death of a motorcyclist in a car crash at a major intersection. The driver reportedly possessed marijuana and was legally intoxicated at the time of the crash.

The driver was traveling south when he attempted to make a left turn at the intersection. However, he did not yield the right of way to the motorcycle that was traveling north. As a result, the motorcyclist struck the vehicle's right front passenger door, according to a Columbia Police spokesperson. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead after being transported to a nearby hospital.

According to police, the driver left the accident scene but was arrested when he later returned. He was charged with hit and run involving death, driving under suspension second offense, failure to render aid, open container in a motor vehicle and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He is being held at a local correctional facility.

Because motorcyclists are riding relatively unprotected on a small vehicle that can be difficult for even a sober driver to see, impaired drivers pose a heightened threat to motorcycle lovers. Deaths and injuries among motorcyclists, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, are an important public health concern because riding motorcycles is more popular than ever. Violating a motorcyclist's right of way caused two-thirds of motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that a drunk driving crash caused 31 percent of all fatalities and 32 percent of traffic deaths in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and one can speculate that many of these fatalities were because an inebriated driver simply could not or did not see an oncoming motorcycle so as to be able to yield.

A motorcyclist, driver or pedestrian injured in a drunk driving accident should consider seeking advice about how to obtain compensation from an impaired driver or from the establishment that may have Dram shop liability by serving the impaired driver. Accident victims should obtain guidance on their right to compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, wrongful death and other losses.

Source: Columbia Patch, "Police: Motorcyclist killed, driver charged in 2-vehicle collision," Shireese Bell, June 16, 2013

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