According to the Anderson County Coroner’s Office, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a Ford F-150 while crossing Civic Center Boulevard in Anderson County, South Carolina. It appears the incident occurred shortly before 7 PM. Early reports suggest the driver of the F-150 was unharmed. This incident is a tragic reminder that both drivers and pedestrians share responsibilities when driving and/or walking on South Carolina public highways. This become particularly true now that we are experiencing less daylight due to the recent time change. Many roads in Anderson County and the Upstate of South Carolina have poor lighting conditions. Furthermore, crosswalks are often far apart, creating an undue burden on pedestrians trying to cross a South Carolina highway. Early reports about the Anderson County incident indicate that the pedestrian may have been crossing the street to get some juice for his family.
Both motorists and pedestrians share competing responsibilities in a situation where a pedestrian is crossing a public highway. Motorists have an absolute duty to yield to pedestrians that are legally in a crosswalk. Additionally, motorists have a duty to keep a proper lookout, maintain control of their vehicle at a safe speed so as not to cause a collision, and be prepared to encounter hazards and other obstacles that they may encounter on the roadways. Natural conditions such as sunlight, darkness, fog, and rain can complicate the situation. Usually, the driver of an automobile must exercise increased caution when the conditions indicate. For example, it may be completely reasonable to travel the posted 55 MPH speed limit on a bright sunny day with great visibility; however, traveling the same speed of 55 MPH under dark or hazardous conditions may be careless or even reckless.
To determine ultimate responsibility in this crash, the authorities will likely look to the South Carolina Motor Vehicle Statutes. South Carolina Code Section 56-5-3230 states: “Notwithstanding other provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.” However, South Carolina law also states that “pedestrians shall yield the right of way to oncoming traffic if the pedestrian is not crossing at a crosswalk.” See Dawson v. S.C. Power Co., 220 S.C. 26, 35–36, 66 S.E.2d 322, 326 (1951)
In the Dawson case the South Carolina Supreme Court stated: “While a driver of a motor vehicle is not required to anticipate that a pedestrian seen in a place of safety will leave it and get in the danger zone until some demonstration or movement on his part reasonably indicates that fact, he must give warning to one on the highway or in close proximity to it, and not on a sidewalk, who is apparently oblivious of the approach of the car or one whom the driver in the exercise of ordinary care may reasonably anticipate will come into his way.” Dawson at 35-36. Furthermore, the Court opined, “It is his duty to sound his horn in order that a pedestrian unaware of his approach may have timely warning. If it appears that the pedestrian is oblivious for the moment of the nearness of the car and of the speed at which it is approaching, ordinary care requires him to blow his horn, slow down, and, if necessary, stop to avoid inflicting injury.” Dawson v. S.C. Power Co., 220 S.C. 26, 35–36, 66 S.E.2d 322, 326 (1951).
Additionally, as discussed in an earlier blog post, the State of South Carolina follows the rule of Comparative Negligence for all incidents occurring after 1991. The tragic case occurring in Anderson County is likely a case in which the doctrine of Comparative Negligence will be applied and an ultimate decision on fault will be rendered by a Civil Jury in Anderson County.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of everyone involved in this tragic case. Please know that all references to this Anderson County motor vehicle collision are derived from secondhand sources. No inferences or conclusions about the parties responsible or involved should be drawn from this article. This article should not be substituted for legal advice. If you, or a loved one, have been involved in a motor vehicle collision as either a driver or pedestrian, please call the attorneys at Pracht Injury Lawyers at our Anderson, South Carolina office today.