December 2010 Archives

December 30, 2010

Early start with teens can reduce risk of North Carolina car accidents


When an adolescent becomes a teenager they look forward to the fact that they are that much closer to driving. Unfortunately, it still means they are 3-4 years away from driving depending on which state they live in. Knowing that teens are at the highest risk for North Carolina car accidents parents are in no rush for their young teens to start driving.

The leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds are motor vehicle crashes as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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In 2008, drivers between the ages of 15-20 recorded a total of 2,739 deaths and another 228,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Vehicle crashes involving young drivers in North Carolina of this same age group reported a total of 250 fatalities in 2008 which ranked fourth among all states behind, California, Florida, and Texas. There were 175 recorded fatalities when either the driver or the passengers accompanying a young driver were in this 15-20 year old age group.

In preparation for young teens about to begin to drive, Yahoo News put out an article earlier this month that Safe Kids USA is teaming up with General Motors Foundation to promote a new program, Countdown2Drive.

The program features teaching safety methods to kids ages 13-14 so that they convert from passenger to driver more safely when the time comes to get their drivers license. Parents and young teens will be educated and given tools to use to gain knowledge on safe driving behaviors as well as safety as a passenger in the vehicle.

One key aspect of the program that should be utilized features the parent-teen Passenger Agreement. Parents and their 13-14 year old teen can discuss and write down family rules for driving and riding that should be followed as well as the penalties or payoffs if good behavior is failed or achieved. Kids in this age group are eager to learn and often find the challenge of exerting good behavior rewarding in itself. Offering incentive for good behavior can only enhance the benefits of the program in an effort to make young drivers safer on the roadways.

Like everything else, parents need to set a good example by exerting good driving behaviors. Failure to do so teaches young drivers-to-be that behaviors like distracted driving and speeding are permissible which could potentially harm your child once they are of legal age to drive.

Continue reading "Early start with teens can reduce risk of North Carolina car accidents" »

December 29, 2010

Toyota faces record fines for vehicle defects


North Carolina drivers are aware of the dangers of driving this time of year but maybe not so up-to-date on the dangers that a possible defect in their Toyota may bring in being injured by a defective car in North Carolina. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys are happy to report that Toyota is making good financially on the dangers they have placed on drivers with defective parts in their vehicles.

However, the settlement will not cover those who have been injured or killed as the result of an accident with a defective Toyota. That will require the assistance of a personal injury attorney or wrongful death lawyer.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that Toyota Motor Corporation will be paying penalties in the amount of $32.425 million for their lack of communication and recall on two separate defects on certain models. The NHTSA has had Toyota under investigation for almost a year and is "pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty" said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The first investigation resulting in a $16.375 million penalty, was regarding floor mats and their ability to affect the accelerator pedal in certain models of cars like the Camry, Corolla, and Avalon to name a few. The floor mats were causing the gas pedal to be entrapped and forcing the car to speed up rather than being able to stop or slow down. Toyota did recall 55,000 vehicles back in 2007 as a result of this defect but two short years later there was a fatal accident in California involving the gas pedal getting stuck by floor mats meant for another vehicle that forced the NHTSA to look into the matter more seriously.

The investigation that began in February of this year recently determined that Toyota was obligated by law to recall and inform the NHTSA within five business days of knowing about the defect and failed to do so. Though Toyota has recalled over 5 million cars with this problem, the end result is the hefty fine that will be paid to the Treasury Department for the mat defect causing cars to accelerate.

A second investigation involving whether Toyota reported a steering rod defect in certain models was also concluded recently with another large penalty of $16.050 million. Back in 2004, Toyota found Hylux trucks in Japan had a steering wheel defect where the rod was apt to break or crack and could cause loss of steering wheel control. Toyota only found defects in Japan and indicated to NHTSA that no reports for models in the United States were found. This was opposed in 2005 when several consumers reported the same steering rod defect in their United States model. The NHTSA began the investigation as a result and found that Toyota withheld information and didn't recall the vehicle when they found support of the defect in US models.

It's difficult to know what defects, if any, will show up after you purchase a vehicle but it's the responsibility of the automobile maker to report these defects. Failure to do so can lead to more preventable accident causing serious or fatal injuries.

Continue reading "Toyota faces record fines for vehicle defects " »

December 27, 2010

North Carolina car accident lawyers wish you a safe, enjoyable New Year


Each year before the holidays, Mothers Against Drunk Driving begins campaigning the slogan "Tie One on for Safety" across the United States, more specifically in larger North Carolina cities like Charlotte and Greensboro. As the year comes to a close this week, our Carolina personal injury attorneys want to urge you to start the year off right by driving sober.

Charlotte, according to insurance.com, is ranked third worst among larger cities with DUI offenders based on data using census population and insurance quote requests. This could simply because there are more drinkers, fewer public transportation options, or more police officials enforcing the rules.
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In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a total of 3 fatalities on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in North Carolina and South Carolina respectively when the blood alcohol content (BAC) tested positive at .08 and higher. This number is low compared to the 156 fatalities occurring nationwide on these same two days with BAC levels over the legal limit.

However, an untold number of car accident and injuries are caused by drivers who climbed behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Nationwide, and in the Carolinas, New Year's Eve is a particularly dangerous time.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving want to remind you of the consequences you will face if involved in vehicular homicide while driving over the legal BAC level.

North Carolina penalties are broken down into 3 separate felonies. Class E sentences 15-98 months for a felony death by vehicle. Class D offers a sentence of 38-229 months for aggravated death by vehicle. Class B2 sentences 94-480 months for a repeat offender. Former criminal history and extenuating circumstances play a role in the length of sentencing for each felony.

South Carolina offenders are sentenced not less than 12 months and no more than 25 years for vehicular homicide. In addition, a fine can be imposed anywhere between $10,100 and $25,100.

Earlier this month, Charlotte News helped MADD spread the word in making this a safer holiday season. Over 6 million red ribbons will be given out this year in support of "Tie One on for Safety" campaign. Awareness is the first step and is the driving force behind MADD organizations. Make a pledge to keep the roadways safer by not driving if you have been at a party and had too much to drink.

Continue reading "North Carolina car accident lawyers wish you a safe, enjoyable New Year" »

December 24, 2010

North Carolina drunk driving accident decline, still pose substantial threat to motorists


Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford counties in North Carolina have reason to be proud of their three largest cities, Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro respectively. Fatal alcohol related North Carolina car accidents did not increase in 2009 from the previous year. As a matter of fact, they have continually gone down each year since 2005.

Guilford County recorded 8 fatalities (there were 30 in 2005). Wake County had 16 fatalities in 2009 (there were 21 in 2005). Lastly, Mecklenburg reported 20 fatalities (there were 29 in 2005). These are the lowest totals in the past five years as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Statewide, alcohol related fatalities in 2005 were 429 as opposed to a total of 363 in 2009.
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It appears that North Carolina's Booze It & Lose It campaign is working. This initiative was launched on November 17, 2005 to crack down on DWI (Driving While Impaired) violations. It is illegal to drive in North Carolina if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. In addition, it's not permissible to be driving while impaired by drugs, regardless of them being legal or not. Your blood alcohol concentration is determined by a blood or a breathalyzer test.

The cost involved with a DWI conviction is quite staggering. Legal representation can cost several thousand dollars or more. If you commit a violation, fines can be as high as $4,000. Your car insurance premium can go up as much as 400% for the next three years. Though not financial, you lose your driving privileges for a year after the first offense which, for most people, is a high price to pay and can result in job loss and other hardship.

The following are a few suggestions to avoid driving drunk:

-Always have a designated driver if you plan to drink while you are out.

-Use public transportation if that is an option.

-If you have had too much to drink, stay overnight at a friend's. Or call someone to pick you up.

-Don't let anyone convince you that you are OK to drive when you aren't.

Continue reading "North Carolina drunk driving accident decline, still pose substantial threat to motorists" »

December 22, 2010

Crossing the lines could be fatal for North Carolina drivers


Most people, from a very early age, are taught to stay between the lines. From the day we learn to read and write we start to follow or stay within the lines right up to the time we become an adult making choices of which path to follow. North Carolina drivers are finding that these are some of the best lessons in life when it comes to avoiding fatal North Carolina car accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2008 report, the leading cause of North Carolina traffic fatalities is by roadway departures. When a vehicle crosses over a road edge line or center line or when it travels off the road and crashes, there is a substantial risk of being fatally injured.
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From 2005 through 2009 61% of all North Carolina crashes were caused by roadway departures.

The New York Daily News reported this horrific North Carolina crash involving a family from Queens. There was a family of seven who were traveling from New York to Alabama. It appears about half way through their trip while on I-77 the driver fell asleep, crossed the center median and crashed into two vehicles traveling in the other direction. The result of this roadway departure crash was 4 dead and six injured.

Some of the common causes of roadway departure crashes (listed by leading cause) are:

-Speeding.

-Drowsy or drunk driving.

-Loss of vehicle control due to road conditions (ice).

-Over compensating to avoid a road obstacle (swerving to miss a deer).

-Distractive driving.

-Vehicle malfunction (tire blowout).

"Ride Safe Corridors" is an effort by North Carolina DOT highway engineers to do day and night road inspections to keep roadways safe. These engineers inspect roadways in all kinds of weather to identify dangerous conditions. The types of things they evaluate are shoulder design, road surface issues, road signs, road lighting, and road markings, as wells as rumble strip placement.

Their goal is to keep vehicles in their lanes and on the road. Rumble strips on the edges of travel lanes, warns drivers that they are heading out of their lane. The loud sound and vibration gets the driver's attention. Redesigning shoulders will decrease shoulder drop offs. This will help drivers to avoid steering or over-compensation, which should lead to less rollover accidents. Dangerous curves should be marked well to give drivers enough warning of the direction of the road ahead.

Continue reading "Crossing the lines could be fatal for North Carolina drivers" »

December 20, 2010

Don't let a North Carolina car accident mar your holiday plans


The holiday season is traditionally an enjoyable time of year to spend with family and friends. Holiday work parties and family gatherings give cause for us to overindulge in presents, games, food, and cocktails. Don't let your overindulgence be a cause for a Carolina car accident during the holidays this year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a total of 644 total fatal crashes in 2009 occurring on Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day as displayed by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Of these 644 fatal crashes, North Carolina reported a total of 19. North Carolina also reported a total of 49 fatalities on these three holidays in 2009 compared to the national fatality count of 1,719. New Year's Day had the most fatalities both nationwide and North Carolina.
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Last Christmas, a young man from Winston-Salem was given the gift of his life surviving a near-fatal car crash after leaving his family on Christmas Eve to go visit his girlfriend.

No one really knows what happened to Ryan Fitzgerald that night but the police think that he guided right off the side of the road going the speed limit. In attempt to pull back between the lines he swerved over to oncoming traffic where he collided with another vehicle coming towards him. He remained critical for weeks and finally after four long months he returned home.

Not everyone is as lucky as Ryan was. So this holiday season make sure you drive responsibly and enjoy the holidays responsibly with friends and family. Nominate a designated driver so if you have too much to drink you don't have to drive home. Buckle up your seat belt before you put your car in gear. Don't drive over the speed limit, especially if there is excessive traffic on the roadway.

Don't let the tragedy of a car crash change you or someone else's life forever. Be Safe.

Continue reading "Don't let a North Carolina car accident mar your holiday plans" »

December 15, 2010

Safety survey reveals attitudes about leading risk factors for North Carolina car accidents


The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has issued its third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which offers a glimpse into how well motorists are heeding the warnings when it comes to some of the nation's leading traffic risks.

Our Raleigh, North Carolina injury attorneys frequently post here about the dangers associated with drunk driving, cell phone use by drivers, speeding, aggressive driving and other poor driving habits. Generally, the cultural index shows that drivers understand the risks, even if they ignore them.
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While traffic accidents have declined in recent years, they are still the leading cause of death for those under the age of 34. A staggering 1 million motorists have been killed in traffic accidents in the past 25 years. Or an average of 93 lives a day lost to motor vehicle accidents.

"This third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index again finds that in some regards our society does appear to value safety or at least is concerned about certain safety issues" the Foundation said. "This survey also highlights some aspects of the current traffic safety culture that might be characterized most appropriately as a culture of indifference."

That attitude is most prevalent with the issue of cell phone use and text messaging by drivers, which motorists continue to cite as a leading safety risk and yet continue to drive and use their phones anyway.

Among the findings:

Crash Experience:
Half of Americans have been involved in a serious accident or has a close friend or relative who has.

Safety Perception:
17 percent fewer motorists feel safe than just a year ago. More than half feel less safe than five years ago. Most cite distracted driving as the primary reason.

Drinking and Driving: Virtually all drivers view drinking and driving as a serious threat. Fewer than 2 percent admit to doing so in the last month. Nearly all drivers favor ignition interlock requirements for repeat DUI offenders, while two-thirds favor requiring the devices for first-time offenders.

Cell phone use and text messaging:
More than two-thirds of all drivers acknowledge talking on their cell phone while behind the wheel during the last month. One-third do so regularly. Most view texting and e-mailing as a serious threat to safety, however 1 in 4 admit to doing so anyway. Two-thirds support restricting hand-held cell phone use by drivers.

Speeding:
Nearly half of all drivers admit to driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit on the freeway in the last month -- one-third consider it okay to do so. Far fewer would speed on a residential street.

Red-light Running:
Most view red-light running as dangerous, yet one-third admit to doing so in the last month.

Drowsy Driving: Most view it as extremely hazardous. Yet 1 in 4 admit to driving in the last month while so tired they could barely keep their eyes open.

Seat belt use:
Three-quarters of motorists report wearing seat belts at all times. Two-thirds support law enforcement efforts to ticket drivers who do not buckle up.

Continue reading "Safety survey reveals attitudes about leading risk factors for North Carolina car accidents" »

December 12, 2010

Safety group calls for nationwide ban on cell phone use by drivers - fewer North Carolina traffic accidents would result


The National Safety Council has launched a push for a nationwide cell phone ban, saying two-thirds of motorists in a recent poll would support prohibiting all drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel.

Our North Carolina injury lawyers have reported on the patchwork of state and local laws that authorities worry are too confusing for motorists, particularly during peak travel periods. The Governor's Highway Safety Association reports North Carolina bans cell phone use by school bus drivers, as well as by teenagers and other new drivers. All drivers are prohibited from text messaging in an effort to reduce North Carolina car accidents caused by distracted driving. No such restrictions exist in South Carolina.
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Here is a list of state laws regarding cell phone use and text messaging for holiday travelers.

Only eight states ban hand-held cell phones by drives. No state band hands-free devices, which safety advocates claim are not a safe alternative.

The NSC reports that a recent survey found that two-thirds would support a nationwide ban on cell phone use by drivers and half though it would increase highway safety "a great deal."

"The public is fed up with their safety being jeopardized because of phone calls," said David Teater, senior director of Transportation Initiatives for NSC. "It is our hope that elected officials realize the strong public support for laws, and that they are quickly passed to protect motorists and others on our roadways."

The government has conducted pilot enforcement efforts in Hartford Conn. and Syracuse, New York, and found drivers respond to a cell phone ban in much the way seat belt campaigns like "Click it or Ticket" have increased seat belt use. The year-long enforcement efforts increased compliance with the cell phone bans in those communities by as much as 50 percent.

Continue reading "Safety group calls for nationwide ban on cell phone use by drivers - fewer North Carolina traffic accidents would result" »

December 9, 2010

More older drivers on the road, fewer North Carolina car accidents involving senior drivers


By 2030, one in five Americans will be at least 65 years old and there will be nearly 10 million U.S. residents 85 or older. Of those, an estimated 90 percent will be licensed to drive, the AAA Foundation reports. To encourage families to speak with older adults about the importance of safe driving, our North Carolina Car Accident attorneys are promoting "Older Driver Safety Awareness Week", which runs through Dec. 10.

The week-long campaign hopes to help families take that first step in talking about driving-and-aging issues. "The issue of senior driver safety and mobility touches millions of families," said AAA spokesman, Jake Nelson. "Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity for families to start a conversation about safe mobility and address any real and perceived challenges associated with driving and aging."
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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that while there are more senior drivers (aged 70 and up) on the road today than in 1997, the number of fatal or serious car accidents involving senior drivers has dropped significantly. Previously IIHS officials were concerned that with an anticipated spike in the number of older drivers on the road - the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is aged 65 and older - so would the number of fatal or serious car accidents involving seniors increase.

With that said, an IIHS 2010 status report found that while the number of Americans 70 and older with driver's licenses increased from 73 percent of the 24.4 million in 1997 to 78 percent of the 28 million in 2008, fatal car accidents for this age group dropped about 37 percent.

In part, experts believe a depressed economy plays some role in the decline. After all, going out, even filling up the tank, can be seen as luxuries for someone watching their cash flow. In addition, older drivers are more often self-policing. Deciding independently (or with the gentle nudging of loved ones or the family physician), to restrict or stop driving altogether. A third reason for the decline is linked to state-by-state provisional licensing policies that require older drivers to renew their licenses more frequently and with more rigorous review (i.e., vision and/or road testing).

The IIHS reports that in North Carolina, as of Jan. 01, 2011, all drivers aged 66 and older will be required to renew their driver's license every five years. Regular renewal interim is eight years.

A recent AAA survey found that nearly 9-out-of-10 respondents were "concerned" with an older parent's driving. AAA offers a few suggestions to help families facing this difficult conversation.

~ Don't be afraid to talk about your concerns with other friends or family. Better yet, don't be afraid bring it up with the family physician. With that said, bringing the subject up with the driver in question is another matter and should be handled diplomatically and respectfully and at the appropriate time and place.

~ Be proactive. Twice a year conduct a driving assessment with your driver. Look for changes. Regular observation will help you decide when and how to bring up the subject of driving limitations.

~ Don't leave them stranded. Find other ways for your senior to get around.

Continue reading "More older drivers on the road, fewer North Carolina car accidents involving senior drivers" »

December 7, 2010

Government aims to reduce backover pedestrian accidents in North Carolina


As our Charlotte car accident attorneys noted in an earlier posting to our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers blog, vehicle blind spots contribute to a significant number of tragic pedestrian accidents involving children. Nationwide, more than 40 percent of such accidents involve children aged 5 and younger. Making matters worse, in most cases the driver is a parent, grandparent or family member who inadvertently strikes an out-of-sight child when backing up or pulling forward.

This type of accident has become such a concern that the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed new vehicle safety regulations requiring an expanded field of view for all motor vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds.
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On average, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there are more than 290 fatalities and 18,000 injuries each year as a result of back-over accidents. The NHTSA is urging vehicle manufactures to install rear-mounted video cameras with in-vehicle displays, with 100 percent compliance by 2014.

"The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Strickland further notes that while such changes will help diminish the risk of a back-over accident, "no technology can, or should, replace full attention and vigilance when backing up. Always know where your children are before you start your car and make sure you check that there is no one behind you before you back up."

The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 was named after a two-year-old boy struck and killed by his father in the family driveway. North Carolina Safe Kids offers a simple checklist that all motorists should run through before putting their vehicle in gear.

~ Implement a five-second rule: Before driving off, take five seconds to walk all the way around your vehicle to make sure no pets, children, toys or unseen obstacles are blocking your path.

~ Implement a five-foot rule: Teach children that driveways are not play areas. Create a no-kid "bubble-zone" around your vehicle. Have your kid use chalk or tape to mark off the no-tread area.

~ Implement a safe-spot rule: Designate a "safe spot" in your yard - that is visible to drivers - and teach kids to stand still and wait in that area until they are told the coast is clear. (Waiting until a moving vehicle has stopped moving is not license to leave the safe-spot!)

~ Implement a safe-driveway rule: Never let your kid play in or near a parked car or in a parking lot or driveway. Hold hands when walking to or from a vehicle or when walking through a parking lot. Teach your kids traffic safety and set a good example.

Continue reading "Government aims to reduce backover pedestrian accidents in North Carolina" »

December 4, 2010

Law enforcement aiming to reduce risk of holiday car accidents in North Carolina


Our Charlotte car accident attorneys know that the holiday season can be a hazardous time on the road. To address traffic safety concerns and in an effort to reduce the risk of North Carolina car accidents, law enforcement agencies began a series of traffic enforcement initiatives that will run through the holiday season.

Campaigns span a few days to several weeks and target specific traffic safety issues, namely: speeding, seat belt and child passenger protection, and distracted and impaired driving. In North Carolina speeding is a particularly deadly offense. It is the leading contributor to fatal North Carolina car accidents.
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The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that as of Oct. 31, police statewide have investigated 187,416 North Carolina car accidents that left 1,079 dead and another 88,855 injured. And in 2009, there were more than 1,300 fatalities on North Carolina roads.

To honor the dead and support surviving friends and family, the North Carolina Governors Highway Safety Program is now displaying a "tree of life" on the lawn of the State capital. The tree will remain up through Jan. 3, 2011. The "tree of life" is illuminated with 1,346 multi-colored lights, each light representing a life lost due to a fatal North Carolina car accident.

As we mentioned above, state law enforcement has been and will be cracking down on a host of traffic violations through the holiday season. Enforcement began Nov. 15-28 with a two-week "No Need 2 Speed" campaign that netted 26,870 speeders, with a total of 78,229 traffic and criminal citations written. Cops also recovered 82 stolen cars and booked 873 fugitives.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, deputies are now transitioning to the "Booze It & Lose It" initiative, which is a year-long holiday-based gig that begins with St. Patrick's Day and concludes in early 2011. Data for 2009 includes:

St. Patrick's Day Booze It & Lose It:
Number of patrols and checkpoints: 2,535
Total DWI violations: 836
Seatbelt violations: 1,832
Child passenger safety violation: 194
Speeding violations: 6,224


Booze It & Lose It (Operation Firecracker):
Number of patrols and checkpoints: 4,815
Total DWI violations: 1,340
Seatbelt violations: 4,881
Child passenger safety violation: 729
Speeding violations: 15,293


Labor Day Booze It & Lose It:
Number of patrols and checkpoints: 10,583
Total DWI violations: 3,514
Seatbelt violations: 10,416
Child passenger safety violation: 1,533
Speeding violations: 30,830


Halloween Booze It & Lose It:
Number of patrols and checkpoints: 2,157
Total DWI violations: 816
Seatbelt violations: 1,189
Child passenger safety violation: 252
Speeding violations: 4,975


Holiday Booze It & Lose It
Number of patrols and checkpoints: 14,662
Total DWI violations: 4,293
Seatbelt violations: 8,778
Child passenger safety violation: 1,533
Speeding violations: 48,548

Continue reading "Law enforcement aiming to reduce risk of holiday car accidents in North Carolina" »

December 1, 2010

Government wish-list aims to reduce car accidents in South and North Carolina


The National Traffic Safety Board has again updated its "most wanted" list of driver and traffic safety improvements reviewing several topics of concern our Carolina car accident attorneys regularly address on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog.

Whether the issue is impaired driving, child restraint and seat belt usage or motorcycle safety, the NTSB knows that state governments and state law enforcement officials hold considerable power when it comes to executing Board safety recommendations.

"State governments are in a unique position to effect the most significant improvement in certain areas of transportation safety," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that in 2008, there were 8.8 million registered North Carolina drivers who logged more than 101 billion miles traveling on North Carolina roads. There were 214,226 reported North Carolina car accidents that left 112,348 injured and 1,448 dead. More than 9,700 accidents were alcohol related and claimed the lives of 227 drivers and passengers.

Data collected from the North Carolina "Click It or Ticket" initiative indicates that there is an 89.9 percent compliance rate for seat belt use among North Carolina motorists. With that said, 291 unrestrained children and more than 6,400 restrained child passengers aged 11 or younger were injured, seriously injured or killed in North Carolina car accidents in 2008.

Hersman noted that the Board's "most wanted" list spotlights "states that have made noteworthy progress in better protecting the traveling public - and those that have not." The NTSB recognizes the efforts of the North Carolina legislature and law enforcement in the following areas:

~ child occupant protection: NC requires all child passengers to buckle up. Specifically, state law requires all child occupants aged 8 or younger to be properly restrained in the appropriate safety device - from car seats (rear- and forward-facing) to booster seats.

~ primary seat belt enforcement: NC requires all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt or other age appropriate restraint device. "Primary" enforcement means that law enforcement can stop - and ticket - vehicle occupants solely upon visual confirmation of an unrestrained driver or passenger.

~ motorcycle safety: NC requires both driver and passengers to wear appropriate protective head gear at all times. It is one of 13 states to enact a universal helmet law.

~ distracted driving: NC has enacted some of the strictest laws regarding distracted driving. The state Graduated Drivers License program, passenger restriction limits and fully restrictive wireless communication law each meet with Board recommendations and safety standards.

Continue reading "Government wish-list aims to reduce car accidents in South and North Carolina" »