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Drunk driving suspected in 2 motorcycle deaths

Motorcyclists have little protection against reckless or negligent drivers except for their helmet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that motorcyclist deaths and injuries are an important public health concern because of the increase in motorcyclists in this country. Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a collision than automobile drivers and passengers. Drivers of other vehicles, in fact, violated the motorcyclists' right of way and caused two-thirds of motorcycle accidents. An alcohol impaired car driver compounds these dangers.

A 21-yer-old motorist from Columbia was driving his 2008 Saturn south on U.S. 21 near Wire Road on Labor Day near 7:00 p.m. He crossed the center line and crashed into two oncoming motorcycles, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

The two motorcyclists were killed in the crash. The SCHP and its Multi-Disciplinary Investigation Team are conducting an investigation of the crash which may be a drunk driving accident. The car driver faces two counts of felony DUI, among other charges, according to SCHP.

This accident also demonstrates the dangers that impaired driving causes to drunk driving victims. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than a third of the drunk driving fatalities are not the impaired drivers. Among the 9,878 drunk driving fatalities in 2011, 11 percent were riding in other vehicles, seven percent were pedestrians or bicyclists and 16 percent were passengers riding with legally-impaired drivers.

A motorist, motorcyclist or pedestrian injured by a drunk driver and their families should promptly seek guidance concerning their rights to compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, wrongful death and other losses. The establishment that served a drunk driver may also have dram shop liability. Evidence should be obtained quickly and time periods may restrict the filing of lawsuits.

Source: WISTV, "Man charged with DUI in double-fatal motorcycle crash," Sept. 3, 2013

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