June 24, 2013

Allergy Medications Can Make for Dangerous Driving


The summer and fall are prime allergy season, with everything from pollen to ragweed filling the air and making you cope with sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose. Many people turn to allergy medicines in order to try to relieve symptoms and avoid the discomfort of allergy issues. This is an understandable desire, but unfortunately all of these allergy meds can make for some very dangerous driving. 1060098_dandelion_clock.jpg

Our Spartanburg, accident lawyers know that medications can make you drowsy and unable to drive in a safe and effective way. Recently, the FDA has issued a reminder about this fact, cautioning drivers that their allergy meds may make them too sleepy to be safe behind the wheel.

FDA Warns Drivers About Allergy Medications and Driving Dangers

According to CBS News, the FDA has issued a Consumer Update on the issue of dangerous driving and allergy medications.

Dr. Jane File, a medical officer at the FDA's Division of Nonprescription Regulation Department, cautioned that the reactions people have to allergy medicine can both negatively interfere with driving and also can negatively interfere with the operation of heavy machinery.

Allergy medications work by blocking histamines, which are chemicals that cause your nose tissue to swell up. The production of the histamine chemicals may be triggered by exposure to an allergen, but antihistamines stop this production and thus reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Antihistamines do more than just stop histamines from being produced though. The FDA cautions that Antihistamines can cause you to feel unfocused and can reduce your reaction times significantly. The FDA also warns that extreme drowsiness can be caused by many of the popular histamines on the market, including Benadryl.

One Lenox Hill Hospital physician indicated that a particular active ingredient in allergy medicine- diphenhydramine- is often administered to patients in the hospital who are having difficulty sleeping. A medication that is effective at encouraging drowsiness is not one that anyone should ever take and then drive. Unfortunately, because the pills containing this active ingredient are billed not as sleeping pills but instead as allergy medications, many drivers may not even be aware of how drowsy their allergy pills can make them.

Some specific medications in addition to Benadryl that can cause the type of extreme drowsiness that can be very dangerous include Claritin (which contains loratadine); and Zyrtec (which contains cetirizine). Each of these active ingredients has also been linked to drowsiness and can make a person too sleepy to operate a vehicle.

Allergy meds will usually warn when they can cause drowsiness and it is important to read these warning labels and make a determination about whether your medication would put you at risk of a drowsy driving accident. If it would, then you should skip driving after you've taken the drug in order to protect yourself and to protect others on the roads.

The FDA also cautions that different medications have different doses of antihistamines, so you should be watchful to ensure that you are taking only the dose that you expect if you switch to a different brand or type of medication. You could have a brand you trust that doesn't make you very drowsy and have a completely different- and much more dangerous- experience with a slightly different brand if it contains slightly more of the same medication.

Continue reading "Allergy Medications Can Make for Dangerous Driving" »

June 21, 2013

DUI Allegations in Fatal Crash a Tragic Reminder of Risk for Teens


A teen from Columbia is now facing charges of felony DUI following a fatal traffic accident that killed his 16-year-old brother. According to WLTX and officials with the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the accident happened shortly after 2:00 a.m. in Columbia along Shallow Brooke Drive. The 18-year-old driver was heading west when he hit a vehicle that was reportedly illegally parked. He was thrown off the right side of the road and slammed into a number of trees.
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According to accident reports, all three of the vehicle occupants were wearing their seat belts when the accident happened. All three were taken to Palmetto Health. Unfortunately, the 16-year-old motorist was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Our Columbia car accident lawyers understand that it's that time of the year when our teens face some serious risks for car accidents. It's actually the most dangerous time of the year for them. With the summer, teens across the state are let out on break from school. During this time, they're spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Unfortunately, their need for speed and their inexperience behind the wheel serves up deadly risks for accidents.

According to The Century Council, there were close to 315 people killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2011 in South Carolina. Of those fatalities, more than 40 of these were of drivers who were drinking and were under the age of 21.

And don't think it's getting any better. According to reports, the number of teens consuming alcohol is on the rise. Where it was less than 14 percent in 2010, it's now more than 22 percent in 2011.

Many of these young drivers are getting busted for it. In 2011, there were close to 110 drivers under the age of 18 who were arrested for driving under the influence.

Before letting your teen hit the road, make sure you discuss safe driving rules, regulations and laws with them. By doing so, you can help to save their life.

Talk with them about the following:

-Keep passengers to a minimum. Passengers serve as some of the most dangerous distractions for a driver.

-Never consume alcohol and get behind the wheel.

-Stay in touch with parents. Make sure they know where you are, where you're headed, who you're with and when they'll be home.

-Make sure that a seat belt requirement is enacted within your home.

-Be sure to that your teen knows that they can call you whenever they have a problem or need help.

-Be sure they're following their curfew. The later it is, the higher the risks are for an accident.

And don't be afraid to hop in the car with them. Make sure you're providing them with plenty of supervised driving time. This is the best way to see how their driver development is progressing and to help make the proper adjustments.

Continue reading "DUI Allegations in Fatal Crash a Tragic Reminder of Risk for Teens" »

June 18, 2013

Bicyclist Struck and Killed in Carolina Forest Accident


Officials with the South Carolina Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal accident that killed a bicyclist in Carolina Forest. According to News13, the accident happened just before 10:00 p.m. near Plantation Lakes.
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According to the Chief Deputy Coroner, the bicyclist was a 35-year-old man from Conway. He was hit by a vehicle and died at the scene. No charges have been filed.

Our Carolina Forest accident attorneys understand that bicyclists have some serious risks for injuries this summer. Not only are their chances for an accident high, but their risks for serious injury and even death in the event of a collision are much higher. This is why it's important that cyclists are on the lookout for dangers around them. Motor vehicle traffic also needs to do its part to help protect these riders. Bicyclist safety is a job that depends on everyone.

The truth of the matter is that we lost more than 675 bicyclist lives in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2011. Yes, this is a number that's lower than the 830 fatalities the nation saw in 1995, but these kinds of accidents have again been on the rise in recent years. These fatality numbers represent a little more than 2 percent of the total number of people killed in traffic accidents for the entire year. The number of injuries reported from bicyclists has also followed a similar fluctuating trend, from 61,000 in 1995 to close to 40,000 in 2011.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control, bicycle use laws and safety guidelines are oftentimes misunderstood by bicyclists. Unfortunately, studies indicate that riders in our area who have little or no knowledge of the current bicycle laws, safety rules or even the proper use of protective and reflective gear are at greater risk for injury or death. Our state's bicycle fatality rates have been consistently over the nation's average. Our state has been one of the top 10 states with the highest rates of cycling deaths, more than double the national average during some years. But we unfortunately still lacked a statewide bicyclist educational program.

Some of the most important things we've got to remember as motorists is that bicyclists are granted all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

When riding on two wheels out there, you've got to remember you're acting as a motor vehicle, too. Make sure you're aware of the movement around you and you're staying one step ahead of traffic. Remaining aware and riding defensively is going to help to avoid accidents -- and save your life.

Continue reading "Bicyclist Struck and Killed in Carolina Forest Accident" »

June 17, 2013

Alcohol Blamed for Carolina Crash Involving First Responders


A Charleston County emergency responder and four additional bystanders were hit by a vehicle that plowed their crash scene. According to News13, both of the accidents happened along Ashley Phosphate Road.
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The second accident was allegedly caused by a 26-year-old driver who was under the influence of alcohol. He is now facing three counts of felony driving under the influence.

Our Rock Hill drunk driving accident lawyers understand that a dash cam caught this disaster on video. You can see it here. In this accident, there were five civilians, a firefighter and a medic who were taken to local hospitals.

Accident reports indicate that the emergency responders were doing everything properly -- parked in a defensive position and were wearing the proper reflective gear to help ensure that passing motorists could see them.

Officials with the North Charleston Police Department are still investigating the accidents. The intoxicated driver in the incident has been issued a $300,000 surety bond.

Drunk driving car accidents can unfortunately cause more than property and physical damage. They can also lead to serious emotional damage and lifelong disabilities. Tragically, there are roughly 10,000 lives lost every year here in the U.S. because of alcohol-related traffic accidents. And these kinds of collisions account for about a third of all fatal accidents recorded in the country.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 400 people killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in the state of South Carolina in 2011. These accidents accounted for more than 45 percent of all of the fatal traffic collisions in the state for that year.

And many of these under-the-influence drivers have done this all before. According to the NHTSA, drivers with a BAC level of .08 or higher in fatal crashes in 2011 were seven times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving while impaired than were drivers with no alcohol.

Before you get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, think about the consequences. You could wind up in a potentially fatal accident -- killing yourself or another innocent traveler. Remember to designate yourself a sober driver if you're going out drinking. This driver should be someone who agrees to drink NOTHING, and not the person who has had the least to drink. If you don't have a sober driver, call a cab or use public transportation. Nothing is work the risk.

If you see someone who has been drinking, make sure you get the keys from them. Step in and help them to find a safe and sober way to get home. Your intervention could wind up saving their life, or saving the life of another innocent traveler.

Ultimately, be safe, stay sober and stay from behind the wheel if alcohol is on your agenda.

Continue reading "Alcohol Blamed for Carolina Crash Involving First Responders" »

June 15, 2013

Risk of Fires and Explosions Prompts Vehicle Recalls


Motor vehicle safety starts with proper manufacturing. Automakers are responsible for testing vehicles to ensure that they are safe for consumers. If a feature malfunctions or if a vehicle is found to be dangerous for drivers, passengers or other motorists, the National Highway Safety Administration may demand a recall. Despite evidence that Jeeps made between 2002 and 2007 could be posing significant hazards, Chrysler Group has refused to a recall requested by the NHTSA.

The recall would involve nearly 2.7 million SUVs that could have a dangerous tank design. Chrysler admits that it has been cooperating with the agency after complaints have been made regarding the potential for fire and explosions. According to the automaker, the design, which places the tank behind the rear axle, could pose a potential fire hazard. Any fatal accident demands an independent and comprehensive investigation. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in handling complex claims involving defective automobiles and parts.

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The recall process was initiated after a public interest group reported that the there were 201 fire crashes and 285 deaths involving Grand Cherokees. In addition to the Jeep Grand Cherokee accidents, there were also 36 accidents and 53 deaths involving the Liberty. Chrysler has challenged these numbers, claiming that the numbers are overstated.

This is the first time since 1996 that an automobile manufacturer has challenged a request for a recall from the government. In that case Chrysler also challenged the request after seat belts were found to be dangerous in over 91,000 vehicles. The automobile manufacturer challenged the decision in court and ultimately won in a dispute two years after the NHTSA demand.

In this case, Chrysler asserts that the fatalities occurred because of high-speed accidents. The automaker also claims that the conclusions are false and do not incorporate a complete set of data. Though Chrysler has challenged the recall, it also has agreed to continue working with the agency in further analysis and to work towards a resolution of the disagreement.

The NHTSA is charged with ensuring vehicle safety on the road. The agency takes complaints and calls and has investigated 17,000 calls involving 500 million vehicles since 1966. A spokesperson for the agency wants to alert the public on the Jeep issue and is encouraging Chrysler to proceed with the recall.

In addition to the pending Chrysler recall, Ford Motor is recalling 465,000 current model year vehicles due to a fuel leak that also poses a significant risk of fire. This recall also involves SUVs, including the Ford Explorer and the Interceptor Utility. Though Ford is following through with the recall, it also claims that it is not aware of any accidents or fires caused by a fuel leak. There were, however, over 600 complaints since March 31.

If you or someone you love was involved in an automobile accident, it is important to work with an advocate who can determine the cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. In addition to pursuing claims against negligent drivers, you may also be entitled to significant compensation from negligent entities, including automobile manufacturers.

Continue reading "Risk of Fires and Explosions Prompts Vehicle Recalls" »

June 12, 2013

New Mothers Prone to Drowsy, Distracted Driving?


During pregnancy, expecting mothers will often take extra precaution to ensure their personal health and the health of their fetus. Once that child is born, mothers will continue to take necessary steps to protect their newborn from harm. While mothers may take necessary steps in caring for their baby through birth, a new study suggests that mothers may be putting themselves and their infants at risk--from behind the wheel.

A new study that focuses on the relationship between new mother fatigue and drowsy driving indicates that new mothers pose a significant risk to themselves, their passengers, and others on the road. While additional studies will be conducted to qualify the effects of new mother sleeplessness, researchers have already found that many new mothers admit to distraction and fatigue while driving.

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Our Charlotte car accidents attorneys are experienced in the investigation of cases involving negligence and fatigued drivers. It is widely accepted that fatigued driving can be dangerous for motorists and others sharing the road. Truck drivers are limited to a number of hours to prevent the dangers of fatigue. National public awareness campaigns have focused on the very severe dangers related to sleepy driving. Some research has indicated that drowsy or fatigued driving can be more dangerous than drinking and driving. In any case involving an accident, an investigation should be performed to determine whether that accident was caused by negligence or distraction.

New mothers are notoriously sleep-deprived. In addition to waking up in the middle of the night to feed newborns, they are rarely on a regular sleep schedule throughout the day. This can make it difficult to manage daily tasks as well as operate a vehicle. Researchers are looking to determine whether the disrupted sleep experienced by new mothers caring for an infant can impact driving abilities. In a preliminary study, they found that mothers who admitted to postpartum fatigue also confessed to making driving errors behind the wheel. This raises safety concerns by public officials and others promoting driver safety.

The new study sheds light on the relationship between new mothers and sleep-deprivation from birth through the first six months. According to research, distraction and lack of concentration affected mothers at many different stages, including the first six weeks, as well as 12, 18, or 24 weeks after birth.

If you are a new mother, remember that you may be distracted and lacking sleep. This can create a feeling of fatigue that could impact your reaction time and driving capabilities. In addition to slow reaction times related to fatigue, mothers also reported being distracted and an inability to concentrate while driving a vehicle. While every mother faces unique challenges after birth, it is important to remember that the lack of sleep and change in lifestyle could affect the ability to drive.

An additional study is following new mothers who have given birth in the past six months. The new participants will be asked about their sleep patterns, tendencies of fatigue and driving capabilities since the birth of their children.

Continue reading "New Mothers Prone to Drowsy, Distracted Driving?" »

June 9, 2013

Carolina Road Safety - Summer Travel Tips


Summer is the time to hit the road. Throughout North Carolina and nationwide, families will be piling into cars, SUVs, mini-vans, and campers to visit state parks, beaches, and loved ones. Before tackling your summer road trip, remember that safety is critical to keeping yourself, your loved ones and other motorists out of harm's way. The National Highway Safety Agency is encouraging all motorists to be prepared and to plan ahead for summer road trips.

Summer is the busiest driving season of the year. More traffic on the road and an increased number of commercial trucks can create additional dangers for motorists. Preparing for traffic, ensuring that your vehicle is maintained, and taking other precautions can improve safety for your passengers and other motorists on the road. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys are dedicated to promoting travel safety throughout the state and nationwide.

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Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe on the road this summer:

Vehicle maintenance. While missing an oil-change or tune-up may seem minor, vehicle maintenance is critical to ensuring safety for your passengers. You should also check your battery, have your tires rotated and make sure that you have regular vehicle service in accordance with your manufacturer's recommendations. A checklist should include tires, seatbelts, windshield wiper blades, your cooling system, fluid levels, lights and air conditioning.

Prepare an emergency kit. When making long road trips, you never know when your vehicle may breakdown. An emergency roadside kit could help you, especially if you are far from a gas station or in the dark. An emergency road kit may include a spare cell phone, first-aid kit, flashlight, flares, jumper cables, extra water, food, and medication.

Avoid high-risk driving behaviors. Always avoid risky behaviors, including drinking and driving, texting while driving, and other distractions. Distracted driving may involve eating or drinking, talking with passengers, changing music, or driving with pets. If you are making a long road trip, be sure that you are well rested. Pull over if you feel yourself getting drowsy and don't take on unreasonable durations or stretches of highway, especially at night.

Wear seatbelts. You should always make sure that you and your children or other passengers are wearing their seatbelts, even when the road trip gets to be long. Regular seatbelt wearing is the best defense to prevent serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Children should also be in the right seat. This means that young children should remain in car seats and children 13 and younger should be in the back seat.

Share the road. Remember that safety extends to others sharing the road. Be aware of other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, especially as many of these drivers and riders will be more vulnerable. You should also be aware of semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles traveling at high speeds and the potential risk that they pose, whether you are in a small car or SUV.

Taking safety precautions are important to having a smooth trip. Unfortunately, some accidents will occur despite your care and preparations. If you or someone you love were involved in an accident on a summer road trip, you may be entitled to compensation. A North Carolina advocate can investigate your case, identify responsible parties.

Continue reading "Carolina Road Safety - Summer Travel Tips " »

June 5, 2013

Motorcycle Accident Risks Rise in South Carolina with Summer Season


We've lost a Rock Hill motorcyclist in a recent hit-and-run traffic accident. According to Herald Online, the accident happened on Celanese and Mount Gallant. The biker was hit by a champagne-colored Infinity. He was thrown from the bike in the collision. Luckily, officers were able to find the car in question at a Farlow Street home where they made an arrest.
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And the accidents don't stop there. There was another motorcyclist killed when riding along Barringer Road. This biker veered off the road, drove through a ditch and was ejected from his bike. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. According to accident reports, the biker was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Our Rock Hill motorcycle accident lawyers understand that it's that time of year again when we see motorcyclists from around the country strap on their helmets and hit the open road. Unfortunately, this is also a time when we see a significant increase in the number of motorcycle accidents. This is why we're calling attention to the hazards -- and ask riders to brush up on their skills and to remember to be defensive drivers. Unfortunately, we can't always rely on the safe driving habits of others out there.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcyclist fatalities is on the rise nationwide -- despite an overall decrease in the number of traffic accident fatalities.

During the year, there were more than 120 motorcyclists who were killed in traffic accidents in the state of South Carolina.

First and foremost, we would like to remind motorcyclists to wear a helmet, during every ride. According to state law, riders younger than 21 must wear an approved helmet at all times when riding or driving a motorcycle; those 21 and older are encouraged to do so. The state's motorcycle manual provides guidelines for choosing a helmet.

Review the following and get on the road to a safer ride:

-Remember that other motorists report having a "tough time" seeing motorcyclists on the road. Make yourself visible.

-Always wear the proper protective gear.

-Never follow too closely or cut off other vehicles.

-Constantly search the road for changing conditions.

-Always use a blinker. Let your maneuvers be known!

-Practice. Develop your riding techniques before going into heavy traffic. Know how to handle your bike in conditions such as wet or sandy roads, high winds, and uneven surfaces.

-Familiarize yourself with all of the road laws that pertain to you.

-Be cautious of the blind spots of truck and car drivers.

-Be extra cautious of turning vehicles. This is one of the most common times for these accidents -- when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns right into them.

Continue reading "Motorcycle Accident Risks Rise in South Carolina with Summer Season" »

June 3, 2013

Helping Hands to North Carolina's Youngest Drivers


Officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) have recently announced their partnership with ADEPT Driver to help push the teenSMART program.

This program is computer-based and works to help educate our newest drivers. It takes six important areas -- the ones that cause the most teen accidents -- and addresses them head on to help eliminate these risks before hazards strike. The program covers lifestyle issues, risk perception, space management, speed adjustment, hazard detection and visual search.
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"Half of all teenagers will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school," said the NSC's Janet Froetscher.

Our Charlotte car accident lawyers understand that there were close to 100 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were killed in North Carolina traffic accidents in 2011. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 200 teens altogether killed in traffic accidents in the state during the same year. Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Many of these accidents were the result of their inexperience behind the wheel. Unfortunately, young drivers don't always properly perceive the dangers and risks out there and don't adjust their driving habits to accommodate these risks. Before school lets out for the summer, we're asking parents and guardians to step in, step up and talk with their young drivers about safe driving habits. Your influences can wind up saving their life.

Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and other drug use aggravate this problem.

All new drivers--even straight-A students and "good kids"--are likelier than experienced drivers to be involved in a fatal crash. It's a fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Teen drivers are four times likelier to crash than older drivers.

But you don't have to do ALL the work. teenSMART is here to help. It's here to offer teen drivers some structured driving practice through various simulations. Both parents and teens can participate and can learn how to work best with one another during this learning process. You will be able to purchase this program at driveitHOME.org, also a safe teen driving supplement from officials with the NSC. Involved, informed parents have long been considered the most influential factor in promoting safe teen driving.

As we recently reported on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, were currently in the "100 Deadliest Days" for teenage drivers. During this time, they're spending even more time before the wheel and are facing the most severe risks for an accident. They're soon out on summer break and will be out hanging with friends, cruising the street. While it's all fun and games for them, it's some serious concern for parents and guardians. Help minimize these risks and have that safe driving talk today!

Continue reading "Helping Hands to North Carolina's Youngest Drivers" »

June 1, 2013

Buckling Up for Safe Travels -- Day and Night


It's time to buckle up, motorists. Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced the launch of the 2013 "Click It or Ticket" safety campaign. During this time, law enforcement officers will be out on the prowl, day and night, looking for unbelted drivers.
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According to buckleupnc.org, All drivers and passengers, in the rear seat as well as in the front seat, and motorists over the age of 15, are required by law to wear their seat belts. Children under the age of 16 are covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety law.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers want you to buckle up -- both day and night. According to the latest research from the NHTSA, seat belt use at night continues to lack. This has been proven even though seat belt usage across the nation is at an all-time high -- at more than 85 percent.

Not only are you at a greater risk for injury and even death in the event of an accident when you're not wearing a seat belt, but you're also at a greater risk for getting into an accident during the evening hours. According to statistics, more than 60 percent or motorists who were killed in an accident at night were not wearing a seat belt. This is compared to the less than 45 percent of those who were killed in a daytime accident while unrestrained.

"We hope our 'Click It or Ticket' efforts will encourage more motorists to buckle up and make it a lifelong habit," said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

The truth of the matter is that lap and shoulder seat belts can reduce your risks of injury and death in the event of an accident by roughly 50 percent. But you've got to use it for it to work. What seat belts do is help to keep you in place during the critical moments of an accident.

According to recent studies, motorists in passenger vehicles are more likely to buckle up than those in SUVs. But it doesn't matter what kind of vehicle you're in -- everyone in your vehicle, including yourself, should be wearing a seat belt.

In 2011, there were close to 33,000 people who were killed in the estimated 5,338,000 police-reported traffic accidents. In addition to all of these fatalities, there were more than 2,200,000 people injured.

In 2011, officials estimate that seat belts were able to save close to 12,000 lives. They go on to further estimate that another 3,500 people could have been saved if everyone were to wear their seat belt during every ride.

In 2011, there were 49 States and the District of Columbia that had seat belt use laws in effect.

Whether it's because you want to be safe, or you don't want to get a ticket -- we're asking you to buckle up. Any excuse works to keep you alive.

Continue reading "Buckling Up for Safe Travels -- Day and Night" »

May 29, 2013

Stats Show NC Teens Continue to Face Higher Road Risks


Every teenager anticipates the freedom that comes with a driver's license. While young drivers may be thrilled to get behind the wheel, they do not always take into consideration the risks and responsibilities of controlling a vehicle. Unfortunately, the number of risks faced by teens, combined with inexperience, results in thousands of accidents, injuries, and fatalities every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently released 2013 statistics on the number of young Americans injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents.

Accident cases are complex and can be caused by a number of different factors. Distracted driving, alcohol crashes, speeding, drag racing, and inexperience may pose a risk to teen drivers and their passengers. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are dedicated to representing the young victims and families whose lives have been impacted by motor vehicle accidents.

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In 2011, there were 1,987 young drivers, aged 15 to 20 who were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for all 15 to 20 year olds. While any accident can pose a risk to young drivers, motorcyclists and their passengers are at an even greater risk of injury and fatality. During 2011, there were 205 young riders who were killed and another 5,000 who suffered injury in a motorcycle accident. According to reports, helmets are only 37-percent effective in preventing fatalities among riders; however, it is estimated that helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011. Of the young motorcycle riders in the United States who were involved in fatal accidents, 38 percent were either unlicensed or were riding a motorcycle with an invalid license.

In addition to alcohol-related accidents, distracted driving is also a risk for many teens. Given the evolving capabilities of handheld devices, teens are now able to check Facebook, surf the web, text, and chat with their friends from their Smartphone. Every year, thousands of accidents, injuries and deaths are caused by distracted driving. Many states are increasing the penalties for violation of cell phone laws and holding drivers criminally liable in the event of injury or fatalities.

For many teens, vehicles mean freedom. This can also create opportunities for partying, including the use of drugs or alcohol. Many teens are the victims of drunk-driving accidents. Even though every state in America has a minimum drinking age of 21, drivers and passengers between the ages of 15 and 20 are still at risk. In 2011, 32 percent of the young drivers who were killed in accidents had a blood alcohol concentration of .01 or higher. Twenty-six percent had a BAC of.08 or higher.

There are a number of new laws aiming to protect young drivers. Restricted licensing places limitations on drivers to reduce the risk of accidents and injury. In some states, teens are not able to drive with friends, drive at night, or to use cell phones when behind the wheel. Graduated licensing programs ensure that young drivers have the proper training and experience before they start taking on additional risks.

Continue reading "Stats Show NC Teens Continue to Face Higher Road Risks" »

May 27, 2013

School Bus Accidents Still Cause for Concern, NHTSA Reports


When sending your children to school, you trust that their school buses are well-maintained, that drivers are properly screened and trained, and that safety protocols and procedures are implemented to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, every year school bus accidents result in catastrophic accidents and injuries--many of them avoidable or preventable. Recent statistics distributed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration assess the number of accidents every year that impact the lives of American schoolchildren.

There are a number of reasons why school buses can be unsafe for children. In addition to the fact that children do not wear seat belts on most buses, the sheer number of passengers can create a hazard. In addition to the dangers to occupants, other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists have also become victims of school-bus related accidents. The size of the vehicle can cause significant damage to other vehicles and visibility may be restricted for drivers. Our Charlotte child injury attorneys are experienced in helping the victims of school bus related accidents recover compensation.

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has collected data involving the number of accidents involving school transportation. According to reports, a school transportation-related crash either involves directly or indirectly a school bus or a non-school bus that is functioning to transfer children. These accidents may involve a school bus that is responsible for taking children to and from school or to a special event, such as a field trip or after school activity.

Since 2002, 1,351 people have died in school bus accidents--this equates to an average of 135 fatalities every year. Children crossing the street in front of a bus were particularly vulnerable to fatal accidents. Two-thirds of the school aged children who died in school bus accidents were struck by buses. There were 236 pedestrians killed by school buses since 2002. Tragically, forty percent of these pedestrian victims were between the ages of 5 and 7.

School bus drivers who are not properly screened can also be a risk to child passengers. Accidents may be caused by fatigued drivers, distracted drivers, drunk bus drivers, or a driver that has simply not been properly trained to operate a school bus. School bus accidents may occur when a bus strikes a fixed object, overturns, or collides with another vehicle. These accidents can be fatal: between 2002 and 2011, 82 accidents caused the death of at least one child occupant.

If your child is injured on a school bus, it is important to involve an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An independent investigation can help to determine the cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. A school bus accident may be caused by a negligent driver, a vehicle in disrepair, or defective vehicle parts. Depending on the cause of the accident, various individuals or entities may be held accountable for all injuries or fatalities. Whether by settlement or jury verdict, victims may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, long-term care needs, rehabilitation, lost wages or the death of a loved one.

Continue reading "School Bus Accidents Still Cause for Concern, NHTSA Reports" »

May 25, 2013

Carolina DUI Collisions & Lowering the BAC Limit


Every year millions of Americans are impacted by accidents caused by drunk drivers. After an accident the victims of serious injury and families of wrongful death will have their lives changed forever because of a drunk driver who chose to get behind the wheel. The National Transportation Board has released new recommendations, calling for harsher drunk driving laws. The agency is also urging local and state law enforcement agencies to pursue harsher penalties for drunk drivers.

Despite public awareness campaigns over the past few decades, drunk driving continues to be a national epidemic. According to the NTSB, one person will die and 20 more will be injured by a drunk driver every hour. For the families and victims of drunk-driving accidents, new drunk driving laws may have come too late; however the enforcement of new laws could be critical to preventing future fatalities. Our Charlotte drunk-driving accident attorneys are experienced with helping the victims and families of drunk-driving crashes protect their rights in the wake of a collision.

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When a suspected driver is pulled over, law enforcement officers will test blood-alcohol content (BAC) to determine a driver's level of impairment. Officers may initiate a drunk-driving arrest with field sobriety tests, however they will also use breath or urine tests to determine the actual blood-alcohol levels of a driver. Currently all states consider a driver impaired if their blood-alcohol content is above .08. The NTSB is urging all states to reduce the legal BAC level to .05. According to the agency, there are over 100 countries throughout the world that have lowered the BAC limit to .05 or lower.

Drunk drivers are in every age category, income bracket and demographic. When it comes to drunk driving, all negligent parties should be held accountable. Whether the driver is a professional athlete, celebrity, college student, professor, or politician, penalties and enforcement are the keys to prevention.

It has been estimated that by lowering the legal blood-alcohol limit, thousands of lives would be spared every year. In addition to reducing the blood-alcohol limit, law enforcement agencies at the local and state level also impose harsh sentences on first-time and repeat offenders to deter drunk driving. The NTSB has proposed additional regulations including the use of passive alcohol sensors that would detect alcohol in the environment. The agency also wants to give authorities the power to revoke or suspend a driver's license at the moment of suspected drunk driving.

In addition to criminal liability, drunk drivers can also be held civilly liable for causing an accident, injury or fatality. Personal injury or wrongful death claims can be brought by victims and their loved ones who suffered severe personal or financial losses because of a negligent drunk driver. Immediately after an accident an experienced advocate and investigator should become involved in your case to preserve crucial evidence including witness statements, police reports, and surveillance evidence. In addition to the drunk driver, other individuals may be liable after an accident. Bartenders and bar owners can be held liable for over serving drunk drivers.

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May 22, 2013

New Stats Show Ongoing Risk for Older Drivers


As the baby boomer population ages, there will be an increasing number of older drivers on the road. Older drivers who become impaired can pose a risk to other motorists and passengers; they are also more at risk of accident and injury. When considering statistics on older drivers, researchers consider any driver older than 65 in the "older driver" population. Both elderly drivers and their loved ones should be aware of these potential risks when on the road.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in helping victims of serious accident and injury, including those collisions involving elderly drivers or passengers.

According to 2013 statistics produced by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 13 percent of the total U.S. population are older than 65. In 2011, there were 35 million licensed drivers in the United States in the "older driver" category. This is a 21 percent increase since 2002. Additional older drivers on the road can increase the potential for accidents. While some older drivers can still properly manage driving a vehicle, others may suffer loss of vision, hearing loss, dementia and other conditions that can affect the ability to drive.

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Frail and elderly drivers or passengers are at a greater risk of fatality on the road. While automobile manufacturers are considering additional safety features for elderly drivers, they can still suffer from additional injuries upon impact. In 2011, 17 percent of all fatal injuries were caused to individuals over 65 years old. Many elderly pedestrians, cyclists or victims of motor vehicle accidents simply cannot recover from broken bones, head injuries, internal organ damage, and other catastrophic injuries.

In some instances, older drivers can be safer than teenage or even middle-aged drivers. Older drivers may be less likely to driver recklessly or speed. Statistically, older drivers are much less likely to be behind the wheel in an alcohol-related crash. However, a slow or overly cautious older driver can also pose additional risks on the highway.

Older pedestrians and cyclists are also at risk of serious injury. Among the 2011 pedestrian fatalities to older drivers, 69 percent of those occurred at intersections. This may be because older pedestrians lose their sight, hearing, or peripheral vision. Older pedestrians may also have a reduced reaction time and are not able to avoid negligent drivers.

Fatalities caused by older drivers are an issue for legislators, family members, and other motorists on the road. Over 77% of these accidents occurred during the daytime and on weekdays, indicating that these older drivers are involved in collisions when conducting their daily routines. If you have an elderly driver in your family, it may be time to assess their abilities. You do not want to wait until it is too late to take away the keys. While no one wants to take away the freedom of an elderly driver, some do not realize that their driving abilities have been impaired overtime. You can also take an elderly driver for a driver's exam to ensure that they know they rules of the road and that they have full driving capabilities.

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May 20, 2013

North Carolina Traffic Accidents Involving Children -- a Look at the Facts


Children face additional risks when they are involved in an accident. They may be more susceptible to serious injury and could be even more vulnerable to impact if not properly restrained. According to 2013 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death for children at age 4 and every age between 11 and 14. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in representing the victims and families of motor vehicle accidents.

Whether in rural areas, suburbs, or in the city, children and teenagers can be distracted and fail to pay attention to oncoming traffic. In addition to the risk children face because of impact, they can also face serious injury by motor vehicle as pedestrians or on bicycle. New statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2011, there were 4,432 pedestrian accident fatalities. The 14 and younger range accounted for 20 percent of those injuries.

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While all bikers are at risk of motor vehicle accidents, young children, children riding in groups, and teenagers can be at additional risk on the road. Inexperience, distraction and other factors can influence how a child rides and whether that child can avoid an accident. According to recent statistics, children aged 14 and younger accounted for 59 percent of bike accident fatalities in 2011.

Most people know that seat belts can reduce the risk of accident or injury. In cases involving children, seat belts can reduce injury, but can also pose additional risks to young passengers. Recent research suggests that the use of seat belts for children aged 5 and over can reduce the risk of injury by 50 percent. In 2011, there were 4,453 passengers under the age of 14 who suffered in fatal accidents. Statistics indicate that in 20 percent of those cases, the children were not wearing seat belts. If you have children, you should continue to remind them to buckle up: 263 children's lives were saved by seat belts in 2011. Child safety seats can also reduce the risk of accidents or injury by 71 percent.

Some of the most tragic accident cases involving children are caused by drunk drivers. As innocent victims of these collisions, children can suffer the most severe and fatal injuries. The new statistics show that 16 percent of accidents that resulted in death to a child were caused by a drunk driving accident. Fifty percent of these cases involved child passengers of a drunk driver. In 2011 there were also 25 children who were pedestrians or cyclists struck by drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.

Children often suffer some of the most severe or catastrophic injuries when involved in an accident. They could suffer head or neck injuries, permanent injury, broken bones, paralysis or even accidental death. When faced with these injuries, children could face a lifetime of pain, suffering and complications. Many will require 24-hour care into adulthood if they survive an auto collision. If you have a child passenger or if you are a motorist on the road, be aware of the potential risks.

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