In December 2022 there were multiple motorcycle collisions in and around Charleston, SC, including two deaths resulting from motorcycle crashes and one person who was seriously injured after fleeing law enforcement on a motorcycle. 

Below, we will also consider whether SC needs harsher penalties for failure to yield – probably the most common traffic violation that leads to death or serious injuries in motorcycle crashes. 

Motorcycle Fatality on I-26 in Charleston, SC

A motorcyclist was killed in a crash on I-26 near Aviation Avenue last month when they collided with a Ford pick-up truck:

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A deadly crash involving a motorcycle caused significant delays on I-26 eastbound during the Thursday morning rush hour.

The crash happened just before 6:00 a.m. on I-26 near Aviation Avenue, according to Lance Cpl. Nick Pye with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

A Ford pick-up truck and a Yamaha motorcycle were both headed east on I-26 when both motorists collided.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead in the crash, Pye said. The driver of the Ford truck was not injured. 

SCDOT cameras showed an extensive traffic backup through College Park Road (mile marker 203). That crash was clear shortly before 9:00 a.m.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office later identified the victim as 43-year-old Paul Kline of Goose Creek.

Deadly Three-Vehicle Motorcycle Crash in Ravenel, SC

A three-vehicle accident in Ravenel, SC resulted in the death of a motorcyclist last month:

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) —One person is dead following a crash involving a motorcycle and two other vehicles on Savannah Highway in Ravenel Wednesday afternoon, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say a man on a motorcycle was traveling north in the median of Savannah Highway attempting to pass traffic when an SUV drove into the median near Overhill Street to head south on Savannah Highway.

The motorcycle struck the SUV, skidded across the southbound lanes and collided with a pickup truck, according to CCSO.

The motorcyclist was transported to MUSC, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries. No other injuries were reported.

Motorcyclist Charged After Fleeing from Deputies, Crashing in Ladson, SC

A motorcyclist allegedly fled from law enforcement hear Hwy 78 and Von Ohsen Road in Ladson last month before crashing into a food truck:

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) – The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office says a motorcyclist crashed into an SUV and a food truck Sunday while fleeing from deputies.

Deputies say they attempted to stop the motorcycle for traveling recklessly near Highway 78 and Von Ohsen Road in Ladson around 12:15 p.m.

The motorcyclist continued to College Park Road at “high speed” before striking an SUV and a parked food truck, deputies said.

The sheriff’s office says the motorcyclist was taken to a hospital for injuries and is expected to face charges.

The operator of the food truck suffered minor injuries.

College Park Road was closed for several hours Sunday afternoon and later reopened.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol has been requested to investigate the crash.

Do We Need Harsher Penalties for Failure to Yield? 

Do we need more severe penalties for failure to yield in SC? Will that reduce the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities? 

The mother of a motorcyclist who was killed last year when another driver failed to yield the right-of-way (and was fined $232) thinks so:

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – The mother of a motorcyclist killed in a failure to yield collision is working on a campaign to raise awareness and make harsher penalties for the crashes.

Robert Fiaccato was killed last April when he was hit while driving his motorcycle.

The driver was cited for failure to yield right-of-way on a left turn and fined $232. For Fiaccato’s mom Cheryl Magoc, the penalty was not nearly enough.

“The people I talk to they’re like why didn’t they get manslaughter?” Magoc said. “Why aren’t they in jail? Why didn’t they lose their license? Because there’s no law, there’s no law.”

Since then, she’s been working on a campaign called “Gone Too Soon,” working with motorcycle rights organization ABATE to make videos with testimonies from parents who’ve lost loved ones to spread awareness about these collisions. She hopes the videos will start being played in schools, educating young people about the importance of paying attention on the roads. In the new year, they’ll be taking their campaign to the statehouse, in hopes of getting a new failure to yield law passed with more penalties.

Are harsher penalties for failure to yield tickets the answer, though? 

Most people do not pause while driving to consider the potential penalties before failing to yield the right-of-way. They don’t think about it at all – this is why it is considered negligence and not an intentional act

Usually, we do not put people in jail for negligence, although there are exceptions for extreme criminal negligence. If you cause a motorcycle crash while you are intoxicated, for example, the criminal penalties for felony DUI resulting in death or great bodily injury are severe. 

If you cause a motorcycle collision because you were speeding, rolled through a stop sign, or failed to look (and so failed to yield the right-of-way), however, the criminal penalties are minor – usually a fine. 

Do I think we should charge people with manslaughter or a more serious criminal offense for failing to yield the right-of-way? 

No… 

A conviction for failure to yield is evidence of negligence per-se, however, that allows the victim or the victim’s family to recover full and fair compensation from the negligent driver, and, when the defendant’s conduct amounted to gross negligence or intentional conduct, the jury can also award punitive damages

What is helpful? 

Possibly a requirement for additional training on motorcycle awareness as a part of driver education classes, defensive driving classes, and driver’s license exams? 

Awareness campaigns – like what the mother quoted above is doing right now – may also help. People do not stop to think, “What does the SC Code say the penalty is for failing to yield?” before making that turn, but a constant drumbeat for motorcycle awareness and public education might help people develop the habit of stopping and looking twice. 

Look twice, save a life. 

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Charleston, SC

The motorcycle accident lawyers at the Boles Law Firm can help you investigate your crash, gather the evidence you will need in court, negotiate with the insurance companies, and recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to for your injuries under the facts of your case and SC law.

Call us at 843-576-5775 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at our North Charleston or Walterboro offices or send us a message through our website.

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