June 2011 Archives

June 23, 2011

Alcohol and Speeding to Blame for Many Charlotte Car Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released preliminary data on 2009 traffic fatalities. We are reminded that even though the preliminary numbers look good compared with 2008, North Carolina motorists have room to improve when it comes to driver safety and reducing the number of car accidents in Charlotte, Statesville and elsewhere in the state.

Even though the overall statistics show that traffic fatalities are down 10 percent nationwide and 8 percent in North Carolina, drunk driving, distracted driving and speeding still remain the leading causes of car crashes in our state and throughout the country.

The NHTSA reports there were a total of 1,314 traffic fatalities in 2009 in North Carolina, with people dying at a rate of 1.26 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Alarmingly, the percent change from 1975 to 2009 is not all that substantial when compared with other states. In 1975, North Carolina reported 1,506 traffic fatalities, which were only 192 more than reported in 2009. When business was booming between 1995 and 2005, North Carolina reported a 7 percent increase in fatalities.

Alcohol use continues to contribute to fatal crashes, despite all the work over the years by legislative committees and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to pass laws opposing drunk driving. In 2000, 30 percent of fatal crashes in North Carolina were caused by a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. In 2009, 28 percent of fatal crashes were caused by a drunk driver. It was reported that for drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009, 61 percent died in an alcohol-related accident.

In 2009, almost 40 percent of traffic fatalities in North Carolina were caused by speeding. It was reported that 270 of the 517 speed-related fatalities were on non-interstate roadways traveling at a speed of 55 mph.

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, the Governors Highway Safety Association wants to remind drivers to maintain their speed and stay sober. In 2009, 40 percent of crashes that occurred during the Fourth of July holiday period involved a driver over the legal limit, killing 410 people nationally. Driving under the influence affects a number of skills needed to drive safely, including reaction time, visual acuity, coordination, comprehension, concentration and judgment.

Remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving, and drunk driving can destroy lives.

To learn about the Independence Day Impaired Driving Prevention Campaign, click here to view.

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June 21, 2011

Using Cell Phones While Driving Raises Risk of Statesville Car Accidents

As part of a month-long observance to raise awareness about summertime safety in June, the National Safety Council has been highlighting a different topic each week of the month. The final week of June 26-30 is focusing on the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, which is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents in Statesville, Gastonia, Charlotte and elsewhere throughout the state.

Greensboro car accident lawyers know what a temptation cell phones and other hand-held devices can be while driving, but we encourage motorists to put them away to reduce the risk of a serious or fatal accident.

Distracted driving has become a serious public health threat throughout the U.S. the last several years, mostly due to the increased number of cell phone users. CTIA-The Wireless Association reports that in 1995, about 11 percent of the U.S. population were cell phone subscribers. In 2010, the approximate number of subscribers throughout the country grew to 93 percent of the population. In 2008, there were an estimated 110 billion text messages sent every month.

The NSC reports that the popularity of cell phones contributes to dangers on the road. Drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in a car accident. More than 600,000 crashes involving a driver using a cell phone have been reported so far this year. The number grows every 24 seconds.

The NSC offers the following distracted driving prevention tips to improve health and safety on roadways this summer:

-Create a temporary voicemail greeting indicating you are driving and will return all calls at a later time.

-Silence your cell phone before you start the engine.

-Pull over to the side of the road in a safe location if you need to text or talk.

-Employers should set policies and parents should establish rules for their teen drivers that oppose and punish cell phone use while driving.

For more information about understanding the distracted brain, click to view the NSC White Paper.

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June 18, 2011

SUVs Considered Safer in Statesville Car Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 388 rollover accidents in North Carolina in 2009. Our Statesville car accident lawyers know that rollover accidents are typically the most dangerous because passengers can be ejected from the vehicle when it spins out of control.

In the past several years, SUV crash safety ratings have failed in comparison with sedans due to the high center of gravity causing the vehicle to flip over more easily when involved in a crash -- but that may no longer be the case.

Fox News reports that recent data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that drivers of SUVs are half as likely to die in a crash as drivers operating a car. Crash data from 2006 to 2009 show that SUV fatality rates are 50 percent lower than those of other vehicles.

There are a few notable factors that should be mentioned from the study. First, electronic stability control (ESC) has made a tremendous impact on SUV safety. In 2008, ESC became standard equipment in almost all SUVs. The study only examined models made from 2005-2008, so any SUV made prior or without ESC equipment is still deemed unsafe. Luxury vehicles were found to be the safest with the Audi A6 and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class taking the top two spots.

It is unfortunate that the average American family can't afford these types of luxury vehicles to help keep them safe on American roadways. Small cars like the Chevy Aveo and the Kia Rio are still considered the least safe, according to IIHS. No fatalities were reported during the study for the Nissan Armada and Land Rover LR3, which are considered large SUVs.

USA Today reports the fatality rate for motorists in small cars was 72 per million vehicles for models made between 2005-2008 as compared with a driver death rate of 28 per million SUVs during the same period.

"The rollover risk in SUVs used to outweigh their size/weight advantage, but that's no longer the case," says Anne McCartt, the institute's senior vice president for research.

The generalization is that most families can't afford larger vehicles in this economy. Small cars are not only more affordable, but are also cost-efficient in terms of fuel and money spent at the pump. In many cases, car safety gets thrown out the window for families who are looking for something they can afford. The automobile industry is concerned that government officials will draft new fuel-economy rules that will result in the sale of lighter or smaller vehicles. They also fear that new safety improvements will be mandated for smaller cars to lower the number of crash deaths.

If you have concerns about vehicle safety or are thinking about purchasing a new vehicle, visit the safercar.gov website for the most recent 5-Star Safety Ratings or information about tires and child safety.

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June 16, 2011

Teens at High Risk of Greensboro Car Accidents in Summer

As part of National Safety Month, June 12-18 is drawing attention to teen driving safety and the dangers inexperienced drivers face on roadways.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys know that teens in North Carolina and throughout the country are in the midst of the 100 deadliest days of the year for young drivers and hope they use extra caution during the summer months to avoid a car accident in Greensboro and elsewhere.

A recent tragedy in York County is just another reason we should promote safe driving for young people this time of the year. WISTV reports on a fatal accident involving a teen who had graduated from high school a few days earlier. The teen was driving on SC Highway 160 early in the morning when he spotted a cyclist in his path The teen driver swerved to avoid the bicyclist, ran off the right side of the road and hit a pole and a tree before his vehicle rolled over. The teen driver died at the scene, while the cyclist remained unharmed.

The 100 deadliest days, as we posted on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, is the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In 2009, nine out of the 10 deadliest days for young drivers were between May and August.

The National Safety Council understands the importance of this matter and has dedicated the third week of June to promote safe teen driving. There are more than 15 crashes daily involving a driver between the ages of 15 and 20. Two out of three people who die in teen-related crashes are not the teen driver, but someone else involved in the accident.

Throughout the week, backers like First America and Toyota will sponsor webinars and free online programs to support parents and teens during the early stages of driving.

The Alive at 25 Parent Program is an online interactive course that explains the risks involved and reiterates basic driving skills and the ability to make good decisions while driving.

The second edition of Teen Driver: A Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety is also a helpful tool for parents and teens. This guide takes you through the stages of getting a license and gaining driver experience. It also identifies the risks of making bad choices, like not wearing a seat belt or driving under the influence. The guide offers a driving skills checklist that can be used each time you go out on a supervised driving session with your teen. The checklist can be rated by satisfactory or needs improvement and includes the following items to name a few:

-Driving at night or during the day.

-Distractions occurring inside and outside the vehicle.

-Merging into traffic.

-Passing other vehicles.

-Sharing the road with trucks, motorcycles, other cars and bicyclists.

-Speed used on turns or curves, during poor weather conditions, or congested roadways.

All motorists are at a high risk of car accidents during the summer months, but teen drivers are especially at risk as they spend more time on the road this time of year. Be a safe driver to reduce the risk of a serious or fatal accident in North Carolina this summer.

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June 14, 2011

Phone Apps Warning of DUI Check Points Increase Risks of North Carolina Car Accidents

Summertime presents many opportunities to drink and drive with holiday weekends, family gatherings, pool and beach parties, and barbecues with friends.

Asheville car accident attorneys want to remind motorists to use your head if you have had too much to drink to prevent a drunk driving accident in Statesville, Charlotte, or elsewhere. A decision to get behind the wheel intoxicated could change someone's life forever, including your own.

A recent drunk driving accident involving a Gaffney police officer is a good reminder that we should all think twice before getting behind the wheel under the influence. A man who is paid to enforce the law is being charged with felony DUI with great bodily injury after a recent one-car crash in Cherokee County, reports WYFF 4.

The man was driving on Union Street when he swerved and crashed into a pole. The passenger in the vehicle was taken to Spartanburg Regional hospital and remains in fair condition.

GoUpstate.com reports the off-duty officer was taken to Upstate Carolina Medical Center for treatment and released to Cherokee County Detention Center. He awaits a court appearance expected in July.

More sobriety checkpoints are set up throughout the state during the summer months to reduce the dangers of drunk drivers on the road. Fox Charlotte recently reported that there are free phone applications available for iPhone and Android users that help report where the DUI checkpoints are located so drunk drivers can avoid them. Some say that the checkpoints take away the freedom of drivers, while others say they are important to keep city streets and highways safe.

Mecklenburg County ranks near the top in DUI deaths, and North Carolina as a whole ranks 10th in the nation for deaths caused by someone driving under the influence. A debate is brewing that a drunk driver who knows how to avoid a sobriety checkpoint by checking their phone app makes streets less safe for other motorists. Alcohol impairs your judgment, so a driver may turn the wrong way on a one-way street, causing an accident -- an accident that most likely wouldn't happen if the driver wasn't trying to avoid a sobriety checkpoint.

BlackBerry pulled the sobriety checkpoint application for phones once it began catching heat from state senators.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Mothers Against Drunk Driving Charlotte recently hosted the annual Walk Like Madd 5K to raise funds and increase awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

If you are the survivor of a drunk driving accident in North Carolina and want to get more involved, visit the www.walklikeMADDnc.com website for more information.

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June 11, 2011

Driver Knowledge Could Reduce Risk of Car Accidents in Winston-Salem, Elsewhere

Winston-Salem drivers have bragging rights when it comes to safe driving, according to a recent article in the Winston-Salem Journal.

A recent driving knowledge survey conducted by GMAC Insurance indicated that Winston-Salem drivers averaged a score of 78.1, which was slightly above the national average for those who took the test.

One would think that smart drivers on the road would reduce the risk of car accidents in Winston-Salem, but it is often the other driver you have to watch out for. Drivers who neglect the rules of the road are the motorists our North Carolina car accident attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. protect you from. We encourage you to contact an experienced car accident attorney to help get you the compensation you deserve after a severe car crash.

The article revealed that Raleigh drivers averaged a score of 79.3, followed by Winston-Salem at 78.1. Charlotte scores averaged 74.8, and Greensboro drivers scored 73.8. Overall, North Carolina averaged a 77, ranking the state at 36th in driving knowledge throughout the country.

Triangle Business Journal reports North Carolina drivers are more knowledgeable than New York motorists. Alarmingly, one in five motorists (18 percent) who took the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test did not pass. More than 5,100 licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 65 participated in the online survey in March and April. The national average was 77.9. New York, which finished last in 2010, upped its score to 75.3, which ranks 45th among states.

Kansas posted the best scores, averaging 82.9 percent correct on the questions asked. Test results indicated that Wyoming had only one in 20 drivers fail the test, the lowest failure rate posted by any state. A total of 34 percent of drivers failed the test in New York and Washington, D.C., combined.

"All drivers need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road and it begins with education," said Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer for GMAC Insurance. "We're hoping this year's GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results will inspire drivers to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay safe."

A few sample questions included in the Winston-Salem 2011 National Drivers Test include:

-What speed should be driven at when traveling in adverse conditions?

-What does a solid yellow line on your side of the center line mean?

-How many feet in advance should a driver signal when making a right or left-hand turn?

-When is driving off a roadway to pass another vehicle permitted?

-What is a safe distance to follow another vehicle in most driving conditions to avoid a tailgating or other car-related accident?

Each of the 20 questions is multiple-choice. To take the test, click here.

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June 10, 2011

Heavier Truck Loads Could Raise Risk of North Carolina Trucking Accidents

The Citizen-Times recently reported on the efforts of a 23-year veteran of the North Carolina Highway Patrol to keep truck weights from increasing.

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers of Asheville and elsewhere know that raising truck weights could raise the risk of North Carolina trucking accidents.

Trooper Ron Crawford, president of the North Carolina Troopers Association, has seen plenty of horrific accidents involving big rigs. This is why he strongly opposes any changes to the maximum weight requirements. He traveled to Capitol Hill in an attempt to convince North Carolina's members of Congress to reject legislation that would loosen restrictions on the semi trucks. He is scheduled to meet with North Carolina U.S. Reps. Walter Jones, Heath Shuler, Renee Ellmers, Larry Kissell and Howard Coble, along with state Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.

"Our message is all about keeping the citizens of North Carolina safe," said Crawford, who is assigned to Madison County. "The last thing we need on our roads is heavier, larger trucks."

Federal law prohibits on most federal highways loaded trucks heavier than 80,000 pounds and longer than 53 feet. Bills pending in the House and Senate would give states the option to increase the weight limit to 97,000 pounds. Trucks would also be able to have up to three trailers hitched together. This is part of the first Highway Reauthorization package in more than six years. The American Trucking Association is a big supporter of the bills, saying bigger loads would increase the efficiency of transporting goods and decrease truck traffic on the roads.

"Many shippers hit the 30-year-old federal weight limit with significant space left in their rigs and must use more truckloads, fuel and vehicle miles than necessary to get products to market," said John Runyan, director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity.

Those opposed to heavier trucks counter that taxpayers will be paying for road repairs, the potential for damage to bridges will rise, and the heavier and larger trucks present a great risk to motorists. Crawford told the story of a tractor trailer rounding a curve on U.S. 19, barely missing a school bus. The truck crashed to miss the bus, but if the truck had been heavier and harder to maneuver, the outcome could have been tragically different.

"Allowing heavier weights would only increase the likelihood of a collision like that happening in the future," Crawford said, adding that bigger loads increase stopping distances. "We have a lot of truck wrecks out there anyway. This will only make it more unsafe."

A competing bill - Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act - aims to leave truck weights and sizes alone.

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June 8, 2011

Flying Debris from Dump Trucks Increases the Risks of North Carolina Car Accident

Debris flying off dump trucks is a growing concern and drivers need to know who is responsible, reports NBC17.

Our North Carolina car accident attorneys in Gastonia know that falling debris is a serious risk on our roadways. An object hitting your windshield is not only frightening but can obstruct your view and cause a serious Charlotte car accident.

Most road debris accidents are caused by motorists panicking and swerving to miss the object. This often leads to deadly accidents. Drivers can also be injured when debris smashes through a windshield.

Do you know who is responsible when objects fly off trucks and damage your vehicle? You may think the truck is not responsible when clearly written on the back is the warning, "Stay back. Not responsible for windshield damage." But this is not true. North Carolina law clearly states that trucks are responsible for keeping their cargo inside their vehicle. A truck's load cannot fall, drop, sift, leak, blow, or otherwise escape. North Carolina Highway Patrol authorities see accidents weekly caused by debris flying off dump trucks. They report that most drivers think they are responsible for the damage because the signs on the trucks indicate the truck driver is not at fault. If your car is damaged by flying debris from a truck, get as much information as possible from the truck so you can file a report, authorities advise. Regulating signs on dump trucks will be reviewed by Transportation Chair Rep. Frank Iler.

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that objects unintentionally ejected from vehicles onto the roadway cause more than 25,000 crashes per year in North America, resulting in 80 to 90 deaths.

"Although vehicle-related road debris (VRRD) crashes are generally less severe than other crashes, individual incidents can be catastrophic," says Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "Moreover, many of the estimated 25,000 VRRD crashes can be prevented if truckers and motorists secure their loads properly and report debris that they encounter on the road."

A survey of road crews in the U.S. and Canada showed the three most common forms of VRRD include garbage from waste haulers, tire treads, and lumber and construction materials.

Recommendations to prevent VRRD crashes and minimize impact when they occur:

-Teach motorists to report unsafe vehicles, road debris and unsecured loads.

-Teach motorists defensive driving techniques in the event of a tire and wheel separation.

-Teach fleet maintenance personnel how to prevent wheel separations.

-Commercial vehicle drivers should periodically check their vehicles and cargo.

-Train law enforcement on vehicle load securement and safety and enact harsher laws on load securement.

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June 6, 2011

North Carolina Bus Company Forced Out of Service Following Fatal Bus Crash

A tour bus heading from Greensboro to New York City flipped over on I-95 in Virginia, killing four women and sending 54 other passengers to the hospital for injuries, reports USA Today. The bus driver, employed by Sky Express from Charlotte, has been charged with reckless driving. Investigators have said driver fatigue caused the crash. Bus accidents in Charlotte and throughout the state are especially dangerous because of the number of occupants they hold.

Greensboro bus accident lawyers know that driver fatigue is a common cause of bus accidents, but the charter company has the responsibility to employ responsible drivers who can keep passengers safe during their travels. Driver fatigue is an act of negligence, so contact an experienced attorney to get compensation you deserve if you have been injured in a bus accident.

It was reported that Sky Express has one of the overall worst safety ratings, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Of all U.S. motorcoach carriers, Sky Express ranked near the bottom in driver fitness for repeated violations based on inspections conducted in the past two years. Inspectors from FMCSA found 24 fitness violations, ordering drivers to get off the roads until the problems were fixed. Sky Express also received a poor record in driver fatigue over the last two years of inspections. The tour bus company was handed 46 violations for drivers being behind the wheel too long and keeping inaccurate travel records.

As a result, FMCSA recently issued Sky Express an Unsatisfactory Safety Rating and has placed the motor coach company out-of-service for violating several federal safety regulations. Sky Express is no longer permitted to operate in interstate transportation services, effective immediately.

"FMCSA will not tolerate passenger bus companies that endanger public safety," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "Working side-by-side with our North Carolina state law enforcement partners, we took strong action to shut down this unsafe bus company."

During the month of May, FMCSA inspectors and state law enforcement partners throughout the United States cracked down on charter bus companies. More than 3,000 surprise carrier safety inspections were conducted over a two-week period. Results from the inspections cited 442 unsafe buses and drivers to be removed from roadways (315 buses and 127 drivers).

Also in May, a new final rule was issued by the Department of Transportation that requires those interested in obtaining a commercial driver's license to first obtain a learner's permit. State licensing agencies are also now required to use a standardized CDL testing system.

If you are planning a bus trip, view the FMCSA Safety Checklist before you make your reservations. This site is designed to help consumers research a charter bus company's safety record and safety rating.

To report a complaint about a bus company, call the hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT or visit the FMCSA complaint website.

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June 6, 2011

Technology Features Aimed at Reducing North Carolina Car Accidents and Fatalities

Vehicle crash safety has come a long way since 1961, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began studying deaths that occur in motor vehicles. Improving how vehicles are manufactured has made a tremendous difference in decreasing Asheville car accidents and elsewhere throughout the country.

North Carolina car accident attorneys know that car safety is important, but there is no method more full-proof to reducing crash deaths and injuries than a driver using caution on roadways. Unsafe drivers are negligent in their oath to be a good driver and should compensate for damages when they cause a car crash.

Adrian Lund, President of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), recently gave a presentation on the progress we have made in the last 50 years and where we go from here at the Edmunds' Safety Conference in Washington, DC.

Key points:

-In 1961, the motor vehicle crash death rate was 49.2 per billion miles traveled on roadways. In 1966, the crash death rate reached an all-time high of 55 deaths per billion miles of travel. In 2009, the death rate fell to 11.3 deaths per billion miles traveled.

-In 1966, Congress of the National Highway Safety Bureau was formed, in which we now refer to as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

-In 1967 and 1968, the first safety standards were issued for motor vehicles.

-Seat belt laws became effective from state to state starting in the mid-1980s.

-Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving started originating in the mid-1980s, which was the start of the anti-drunk driving revolution. The goal was to increase awareness about driving under the influence and to get drunk drivers off the streets and highways by executing stricter laws from state to state.

-The mid-1990s improved teen driver crash statistics with the implementation of graduated licensing laws.

-Slower speed zones and economic downturns are among many other factors that have played a role in lowering fatality rates over the years.

It is believed that improving vehicle safety is one of the best movements made in decreasing fatality rates and crash statistics throughout the country. Making safety belts and energy-absorbing steering columns standard in vehicles have helped tremendously, as well as installing airbags throughout vehicles for occupant protection.

Safercar.gov has made it possible for consumers to make an informed decision on purchasing a car based on crash test results and overall safety. Public knowledge of vehicle crash-worthiness has given consumers some relief in knowing what vehicles are the safest to drive, especially if small children are riding in the car.

Where do we go from here? According to the IIHS, improving technology continues to be a top priority. Technology will continue to take us into the future, but it will never replace basic driving skills. No amount of technology can replace safe driving behavior on North Carolina roadways.

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June 4, 2011

National Safety Month Aimed at Reducing Driver Inattention Accidents in Greensboro

The National Safety Council has announced that June is National Safety Month. As an annual month-long observance, the NSC wants Americans to keep safety in mind to avoid preventable deaths occurring throughout the United States every day. This includes motorists who must practice safer driving habits in order to avoid a car accident in Greensboro or elsewhere in the country.

Statesville car accident lawyers know that preventable deaths are common, but even as we do our part to be safe drivers, it is often other motorists who are negligent and cause a serious or fatal accident. If you have been seriously injured in a distracted or drunk driving accident in North Carolina, contact an experienced car accident attorney to help get you the compensation you deserve.

As part of a month long series, our first topic is on summertime safety. Summer is a prime time for unintentional deaths. In 2009, there were an estimated 128,200 unintentional deaths - almost 2,500 more than the 2008 unintentional death count. The 2009 estimate is the highest on record.

Cell phones are the leading cause of distraction for driver inattention, causing serious or fatal accidents. The NSC offers the following distracted driving fact sheet:

-There are more than 270 million cell phone subscribers. In 2008, the monthly average of text messages sent was estimated at 110 billion.

-81 percent of motorists admit to talking on a cell phone while driving in a Nationwide Insurance public opinion poll.

-The likelihood of a crash for drivers on using a cell phone is four times more likely than someone not talking while driving.

-There is a high level of cognitive distraction for both handheld and hands-free cell phone devices.

-Simulated studies have shown cell phone users have a slower reaction time than drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08. This includes the ability to stop quickly to avoid vehicles braking in front of them.

-A study that took pictures of the brain while a driver listened to sentences found that the driver had a 37 percent decrease in spatial awareness, which contributed to a cognitive distraction.

-Talking to passengers in the vehicle is only found safer than talking on a cell phone in the sense that passengers can alert drivers to unsafe road conditions and can stop a conversation if they see an accident about to happen. Conversations with passengers are still considered to be a form of distraction when motorists are behind the wheel.

The NSC offers a full list of health safety fact sheets about on the road or school bus safety. Some of the tips include: driving defensively, drowsy driving, pedestrian safety and driving at night. For a full list of on the road tips and what to do in certain driving situations click here to view.

Households average $5,900 in medical costs each year for unintentional injuries. In most cases, families suffer both physically and financially trying to recover from preventable injuries and deaths. Driver inattention can lead to preventable injuries and deaths, so motorists should practice safe driving skills during the month of June and beyond.

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June 2, 2011

Yellow Dot Program Could Reduce Fatalities in North Carolina Car Accidents

Drivers in some states are benefiting from the Yellow Dot car program, a service that helps first responders treat car accident victims faster. North Carolina is not currently one of the states participating in the program. Asheville car accident attorneys are hopeful that North Carolina car accident victims will soon reap the benefits knowing that the first 60 minutes following a Charlotte car accident are the most crucial in saving or losing a life.

USA Today reports that nine states are currently using the Yellow Dot car program - Connecticut, Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Virginia. The program began in 2002 in Connecticut. Alabama joined in 2009 and by June of 2011, the state will have a total of 27 counties and about 40,000 users authorized and profiting from the quick response program when involved in a car crash.

The Yellow Dot program makes it easier for first responders to treat crash victims who can't communicate or relay important information needed to treat the patient at the scene. For example, a crash victim who is allergic to morphine but in too much pain to speak can have the information relayed to the rescue worker from information in the yellow folder. The program is simple and easy. It works as follows:

-State residents sign up for the Yellow Dot kit usually found at full-time fire departments, police departments or a sheriff's office.

-Once signed up, they receive a kit that includes a yellow dot sticker, a yellow sleeve envelope and medical information record sheet.

-Adhere the yellow dot to the rear window of your vehicle.

-Complete the medical information sheet for the yellow envelope to be placed in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Place a photo in the yellow envelope along with medical history, medications prescribed by doctors, allergies to medications, contact phone numbers of both doctors and family members, and hospital emergency room preference.

-First responders arrive on the scene, look for the yellow dot and check for the corresponding yellow sleeve in the glove compartment.

-Victims are then treated accordingly with very little effort to communicate important information to the rescue worker.

-Keep the medical record updated as needed.

Though it was originally geared toward older individuals, the Yellow Dot Program can benefit any driver with special medical conditions like diabetes or a pacemaker. It can also help determine which medications can be given right at the scene of the accident.

"Actually, this is one of the goals of automated crash notification systems. Eventually, when there is a crash, these key data such as medication needed will automatically be available to EMTs, etc. The Yellow Dot program may be a system that can be helpful in the meantime," says Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Advocates for the program are hopeful that each state will adopt the efficient and fast approach to treating crash victims at the scene. Saving a life can be expedited with the Yellow Dot program.

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