Recently in Night-Time Driving Category

October 27, 2014

Teenager Killed at Dangerous Raleigh Intersection

Accidents involving pedestrian victims can be deadly, especially when a vehicle is traveling at high speeds. In a tragic case, a 17-year-old girl was killed on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh when she attempted to cross the street. According to reports, the teen was struck when she crossed Capital Boulevard around 7 p.m. She crossed the road while oncoming traffic had a green signal, according to police reports. A 49-year-old driver was headed north when she struck the victim. She pulled over and tried to help while waiting for the authorities to arrive on the scene.


As with any accident case involving a fatality, this case is still under investigation. Authorities have not charged the driver, but do not believe that drugs or alcohol were a cause of the accident. The victim was in critical condition when she was taken to the hospital, but later died of her injuries. According to reports, this was the second accident in the past two months involving a pedestrian crossing at the same intersection. Another victim was struck on September 3rd in a hit and run, but the driver has not yet been located. The first victim suffered serious injuries, which were not life threatening.

Continue reading "Teenager Killed at Dangerous Raleigh Intersection " »

July 10, 2014

Colvin v. Giguere: Workers' Compensation as a Bar to Car Accident Lawsuits

Our Winston-Salem car accident attorneys often hear from potential clients who were injured in a car accident while on the job. It is not always clear whether a plaintiff can recover in a negligence action if they are also eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The North Carolina Industrial Commission provides some guidance on this issue.

van.jpgIn Dana D. Colvin and Shaw Colvin v. Joseph Giguere, the Supreme Court of the State of Utah ruled on this particular issue. Kelly Colvin and Joseph Giguere were both employed by Advanced Millwork Installation ("Advanced") in Lehi, Utah. Advanced, a custom millwork company, sent Colvin and another employee to Maryland and Virginia to complete custom cabinet installations. Colvin was driving a van owned by the company's owner. The van had a company logo painted on it, Advance paid the insurance, and Advance listed the van on its company taxes. Colvin was the only driver listed on the van's insurance policy, and Advance allowed him to use the van for business and also personal use.

Continue reading "Colvin v. Giguere: Workers' Compensation as a Bar to Car Accident Lawsuits " »

May 10, 2014

"Dr. Vodka" Killed in Lamborghini Crash

In another high-speed tragic accident involving a public figure, a New York alcohol industry entrepreneur known as "Dr. Vodka" was killed in Miami Beach. According to reports, the former doctor turned booze mogul was riding in a Lamborghini that crashed into an SUV while traveling over 100 miles per hour. Authorities indicated that the doctor was killed instantly when the sports car crashed into the Chevy Suburban at a stoplight around 3:00 a.m. The doctor-entrepreneur was widely known in social circles in the Northeast, and the South, including the Carolinas.


The accident made national headlines and took the life of a well-known and respected doctor, entrepreneur and socialite. The wife of the victim has already filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in handling complex personal injury and wrongful death claims. We will initiate an immediate investigation to determine the cause of the accident and identify all responsible individuals and entities. When representing victims of car accidents and their loved ones, our priority is seek justice against negligent parties and recover maximum compensation.

Continue reading " "Dr. Vodka" Killed in Lamborghini Crash" »

August 21, 2013

Autumn Road Trips Popular in the Carolinas - Keeping Safety a Priority

While many accidents are unpreventable, there are also ways that you can keep your family safe. Practicing safe and defensive driving is one way to reduce the risks of accidents when driving in your neighborhood, in the city, or on a cross country trip. Our Ashville car accident attorneys are dedicated to reducing the risks and consequences associated with deadly traffic accidents.


Safety experts and organizations, including the American Medical Association, offer a number of tips to reduce the chances of dangerous or deadly accidents, including the following:

Don't Drink and Drive
. While most people know not to drink and drive, even the most responsible people can make a mistake. Remember that even a small amount of alcohol can reduce your motor skills and impair judgment. You should also be wary of prescription medications and how they affect your ability.

Keep Your Car Maintained. Staying safe and keeping others safe means responsibly keeping your car maintained. You should have regular tune-ups, keep your windshields and mirrors clean, and always have plenty of gas in your car. When purchasing a new car, look for advanced safety features, including power steering and an automatic transmission. Make sure you have plenty of gas in your car when taking a trip.

Continue reading "Autumn Road Trips Popular in the Carolinas - Keeping Safety a Priority " »

July 7, 2013

NC Traffic Safety Watch: August Ranks Highest for Accident Fatalities

Summer means late-night barbecues, beach parties, and long-distance road trips. The combination of summer festivities and highway travel also means a spike in accident rates. As August approaches, motorists are reminded to be safe, as the month ranks deadliest for drivers and passengers.

There are a number of reasons why August has a higher incidence of accident fatalities. In addition to the sheer number of miles Americans spend on the road, there is also an increase of summer storms, and highway construction. As you plan for your summer road trip or find yourself sharing the road with other tourists, remember to take extra precaution to avoid accidents and injury. Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping residents and visitors protect their rights after an accident.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more Americans suffer in fatal car accidents in August than in any other month. These accidents could involve a number of factors including inclement weather, drunk-driving, distracted driving, speeding and other acts of negligence. In some cases, accidents will involve vehicle defects. Immediately after an accident, victims and their loved ones should be in touch with an experienced investigator who can review the facts, visit the accident scene, consult with witnesses and help determine the cause of the accident. Any driver or associated entity may be held accountable for negligence that results in a serious or fatal accident.

The NHTSA reports that there are 1.09 fatalities for every 100 million miles traveled by American motorists. While August has the highest rate of fatalities, March has the lowest. According to the government agency, an average of 93 people will die every day in U.S. car accidents. This is an extremely high incidence of fatal accidents and a large percentage of these deaths occur during the month of August.

The agency has also analyzed other factors that may impact the likelihood of a fatal accident. More accidents are likely to occur during the evening or on weekends. When you get in the car this summer to head out to the beach or meet friends for an evening or weekend, remember that there are going to be more drivers out on the road. Camping, errands, and other summer activities can involve short or long-distance drives. Either way, your chances of being involved in an accident will be higher next month. Saturdays have the highest number of fatalities of the week. There is an average of 123 deaths related to car accidents every Saturday. Fridays rank second and Tuesdays rank last in terms of fatal accident rates.

The summer months also mean an increase in drinking and driving accidents. When you hit the road this summer, remember to be prepared and to practice defensive driving. You could encounter distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and other fatigued drivers on the road. Be especially wary in the evening and at night, when the majority of accidents will take place.

Though August poses additional risks for drivers, you can take preventative action and be wary to keep your family safe.

Continue reading "NC Traffic Safety Watch: August Ranks Highest for Accident Fatalities" »

March 31, 2012

Risks of Trucking Accidents in Greensboro and Elsewhere Reduced with Revised HOS Rules, Hopefully

There are new hours of service (HOS) rules for truckers across the county!

Recently announced by Ray LaHood, the USDOT Secretary, the new rule was made to help keep truck drivers awake and alert on our roadways. These rules were aimed at preventing drowsy driving-related trucking accidents in North Carolina and elsewhere. Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be keeping an eye on just how long drivers are working behind the wheel to help ensure everyone's safety on our roadways.
"Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked," said LaHood.

Our Grensboro trucking accident attorneys understand that traffic accidents involving tractor-trailers, semis, 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles oftentimes produced deadly results. These huge vehicles carry so much weight and so much power that it's important we keep their drivers alert and well-trained behind the wheel to help to avoid accidents. Much of that preparation involves making sure they're not overworked and they're not falling asleep behind the wheel. This new HOS ruling is going to help.

The rule-making process took a while to complete. The FMCSA held a number of sessions nationwide in search of input from transportation officials, trucking companies, safety advocates and others.

Anne S. Ferro, the Administrator of the FMCSA, says that she feels this is the most extensive and beneficial effort that has been put forth in a rule. She says that she and the Administration looked for input from all kinds of sources to help make sure that they got it right the first time. Not only was everyone's opinions and insight welcomed into the making of this rule, but officials with the Administration took into consideration a plethora of information through recent studies and scientific research projects. When safety is the goal, there's no rushing and there's no room for missing information. Everything has to be considered and everything has to be thought out.

The goal of the rule is to help provide the industry with a structure that helps to get the job done. And to make sure that truckers are focused and alert as well as well-rested while operating these huge trucks.

Under the new rule, truck drivers are still allowed to be behind the wheel of a truck for 11 hours a day. However, they will also no longer be allowed to be behind the wheel for 84 hours in a week as the maximum limit of hours worked in a seven-day period has been reduced to 70. Lastly, truckers are to take one 30-minute break at least once every 8 hours. These breaks can also be taken as often as a driver feels necessary.

Both companies and drivers can be fined if they're busted disobeying these rules. The fines for being busted can cost thousands and thousands of dollars per offense.

Continue reading "Risks of Trucking Accidents in Greensboro and Elsewhere Reduced with Revised HOS Rules, Hopefully" »

March 20, 2012

Scary Roadway and Fatal North Carolina Car Accident Launches WCU Petitions to Officials

Students at Western Carolina University have just completed one of two petitions to get state transportation officials to make some improvements to the roadway conditions on a particular road near their campus. The petition came as a result of a recent and fatal North Carolina car accident in which a fellow classmate of theirs was killed and another was seriously injured, according to the Citizen Times. Their classmate died in the recent single-vehicle accident on Speedwell Road. The driver of the vehicle was seriously injured. Both students are in their early 20s.
Since the accident, students around campus have launched a petition drive on Twitter urging transportation officials to install a guardrail at a dangerous point on that roadway, at the same spot where the accident happened. Too many students know the danger all too well. So far, there have been about 600 student signatures received on the website. There is also another petition circulating the campus asking for the very same improvements from transportation officials.

Our North Carolina car accident attorneys understand that transportation officials have a responsibility to make sure that roadways are safe for motorists and other travelers. Dangers that could result in any type of accident are completely unacceptable. Road repairs should be made before someone has to experience a tragic accident and before someone is killed.

The students of WCU will soon be presenting their petitions and their requests to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). This isn't the first time that the campus has urged officials to make safety improvements on that dangerous roadway.

There was a vigil held by students at the university at the fountain in the center of campus to remember their classmate, a junior who was majoring in psychology.

"We're a tightknit family. It really hurts," said student body president T.J. Eaves.

The fatal car accident happened as the vehicle that the young girl was riding in flew off of the road, over an embankment, slammed into a tree and flipped over. Officials are still investigating the crash. Weather, speed and other factors have not been released yet. The speed limit on that road is 30 miles per hour.

When the accident happened, there was a baseball game in session at the school's field nearby. Game attendees heard the wreck and called 9-1-1.

Joel Setzer, the state's DOT division engineer, said that officials are going to look into the accident to see what kind of improvements may be needed on that roadway, if any. This is a common response from transportation officials to fatal accident scenes. Students are just hoping that the investigation warrants some changes!

Continue reading "Scary Roadway and Fatal North Carolina Car Accident Launches WCU Petitions to Officials" »

February 5, 2012

Single-Car Accident in Asheville Kills Passenger, Impairment and Speed Reported Factors

A passenger of a recent one-car accident in Asheville was killed. According to Asheville Police, the accident happened on I-240 East at the on-ramp leading to Interstate 40 East, just after 2 a.m.
According to police records, the woman was driving when she swerved off of the roadway, up onto an embankment and flipped. The passenger of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver was transported to Mission Hospital and was listed in serious condition. Officers report that impairment and speed were factors in the crash. According to News Channel 7, officers are still investigating the accident and charges against the driver are pending.

Our Asheville car accident attorneys understand that the Interstate can be a dangerous place to travel, even when you're not speeding or impaired. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were nearly 11 million traffic accidents that happened on U.S. roadways in 2009. During that same year, there were more than 1,300 traffic-related fatalities in the state of North Carolina. An alarming number of these accidents and fatalities occurred on Interstate roads. Luckily, there are a few tips that you can follow to help to reduce your risks of an accident on the fast-paced roadways.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) offers the following safe driving tips:

-Always stay alert. Whether you're driving on an Interstate or a residential roadway, it's important for you to place all of your attention on driving.

-Be sure you always buckle up. A seat belt can help to reduce your risks of injury or death in the event of a traffic accident.

-Never drink and drive. You're reactions and ability to safely navigate our roadways is drastically hindered when you consume alcohol.

-Make sure your children are using the correct child restraints during every car ride.

-Be patient. Don't rush. Rushing leads to road rage, which leads to dangerous driving and accidents.

-Always abide by the posted speed limit and remember that these speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. When weather is poor, consider slowing down.

-Never tailgate the vehicle in front of you. The closer you're following another vehicle, the less time you have to react to danger.

-Keep a lookout for road debris. Always be ready to react.

-Avoid the distractions. Driving is not a time to make calls, text message or surf the web, nor is it the time to groom yourself, eat or partake in any other activities that take your attention off of the roadway.

-Always leave for your destination with plenty of time to spare. Avoid rushing. Try to travel at non-peak times.

-Consider using alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion.

-Check out the Traveler Information Management System before leaving to learn about any traffic congestion or any road closures.

Continue reading "Single-Car Accident in Asheville Kills Passenger, Impairment and Speed Reported Factors" »

November 9, 2011

Daylight Saving Time Increases Risks for Nighttime Car Accidents in Gastonia, Elsewhere

The Republic reports that with Daylight Saving Time now in effect, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) wants to remind motorists that fewer daylight hours means an increased risk for car accidents in Gastonia, Hickory, Winston-Salem and elsewhere in the state. Not only are motorists short on daylight hours for their evening commute, but bicyclists and pedestrians need to be more careful to avoid an accident while walking or biking in the dark.
North Carolina residents turned their clocks back by one hour Sunday morning, meaning evening commutes are now a lot darker starting this week and continuing through the next few months with the sun setting earlier each night. Greensboro car accident lawyers know adjusting to the time change affects your body and mind and can even be somewhat depressing. But using extra caution during dark hours will help keep you safe on North Carolina roadways until we "spring forward" in just a few months from now.

In 2010, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that there were nearly 190 bicyclists and 875 pedestrians involved in car accidents during dusk and nighttime hours. There were another almost 16,500 accidents involving animals during the hours of darkness.

Driving in the dark can be tricky, especially this time of year when deer and other critters can potentially pop out from nowhere right in front of your vehicle. We posted last month on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that deer will be on the run as hunting season approaches. So be on the lookout for them dashing across your path to help avoid a collision and possible injuries.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation offers these tips for motorists to keep in mind as they drive in Daylight Saving Time:

-Coincide changing your clocks back one hour with checking all lights on your vehicle. For instance, check brake lights, emergency flashers, headlights, and even interior lights to make sure they are working properly. You may need to take your vehicle to a mechanic if a fuse or bulb needs replaced.

-Use high-beam lights in rural areas but be courteous to approaching vehicles by flashing to low beams while you pass.

-If your rear-view mirror has a night setting, use it to avoid glare from car lights shining behind you.

-Never wear sunglasses after dusk.

-Keep a watchful eye for bikers and walkers after dark, especially as winter weather approaches.

-If you feel drowsy from the time change, avoid long trips or driving while fatigued.

-Focusing your eyes on one spot in front of you causes "highway hypnosis" which reduces your reaction time if a hazard appears on the road. Keep your eyes active by moving them back and forth to reduce the risk of reaction impairment.

Continue reading "Daylight Saving Time Increases Risks for Nighttime Car Accidents in Gastonia, Elsewhere" »

October 18, 2011

Halloween Increases Risks of Car Collisions with Trick-or-Treaters in Winston-Salem, Gastonia

Halloween can be a scary time for kids, literally, because they are at considerable risk of being struck in a car accident in Winston-Salem, Gastonia, or elsewhere in the state. Motorists may find small trick-or treaters difficult to spot because the activity occurs at dusk or dark when visibility is limited.
Our Asheville car accident attorneys want to remind motorists that October is Halloween Safety Month so be mindful of children walking to help reduce the risk of causing severe injury.

American College of Emergency Physicians reports that Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for pedestrian accidents involving young children. For children under age 16, 38 percent of all pedestrian accidents happen between 3 and 7 p.m., which is prime time for trick-or-treating. Children walking at night in a costume can inhibit their ability to see, presenting a high risk for a fall accident. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are the most dangerous days of the week for pedestrian deaths, especially when Halloween falls on one of these days. Even though Halloween is on a Monday tris year, don't let your guard down.

Research is limited when it comes to the dangers of pedestrian deaths on Halloween but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data from 1975-1996 and determined that children were four times more at risk of a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other night of the year. Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) narrowed down the number of pedestrian deaths involved in a motor vehicle crash on October 31 between 4 and 10 p.m. From 1975-1996, researchers found that 89 deaths occurred for children between the ages of 5-14 years old. This equates to an average of four deaths per year on Halloween between 4 and 7 p.m. for this age group.

AAA Exchange offers these Halloween safety tips:

To Motorists

-Use peripheral vision to be alert for children on front yards or walking away from the front porch of a house.

-Use extra caution when pulling into or out of private driveways or alleys.

-Use your headlights, even during daylight hours, so that your vehicle becomes more visible.

-Be prepared for children crossing streets mid-block and not at a designated crosswalk.

-Keep an eye out for children walking on sidewalks, curbs, medians and roadways.

To Trick-or-Treaters

-Avoid wearing a costume with a mask that covers your entire head when possible. Use nontoxic face paint to avoid problems with vision.

-Props should be blunt-tipped and flexible to avoid serious injury if a fall occurs.

-Place reflective tape on your costume if you plan to go out at night. Reflectors make children more visible.

-Never shine a flashlight into the eyes of a motorists, instead place it face down in your treat bucket.

-Choose homes that are clearly participating in Halloween activities with well-lit porches or driveways.

-Always trick-or-treat with an adult present.

Keep your children safe this Halloween by going over some helpful rules and tips to help them avoid being struck by a car. Remind them to steer clear of vehicles by crossing at intersections and making themselves visible at all times.

Continue reading "Halloween Increases Risks of Car Collisions with Trick-or-Treaters in Winston-Salem, Gastonia" »

October 4, 2011

Deer a Fall Hazard for Motorists Involved in Car Accidents in Statesville, Hickory

Motorists who live and drive frequently in densely populated areas are being alerted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to be on the lookout for deer dashing across your path. October is the height of running season for deer, which can lead to deadly car accidents in Winston-Salem and elsewhere throughout the state. In fact, there are roughly 20,000 animal-related car accidents in our state annually and 90 percent of those are caused by a deer.

We have all heard the expression 'a deer in headlights' but for most motorists this doesn't usually end well because we can't predict what movement a deer will make in front of us. Our Hickory car accident attorneys know that when a deer jumps in front of your car it is often unavoidable and multiple car collisions can result if a motorists are following too closely. A claim can be made against the insurance carrier, but the priority should be to get the injured the medical attention they need. It is better to reduce your speed and allow plenty of space in front of you rather than risk serious injury in a collision caused by an animal.
NCDOT recently released a report that looked at animal-related accidents over the last 3 years. There have been more than 19,500 accidents each of the last three years that were caused by animals. As a result, 17 deaths, 3,453 injuries, and almost $136 million in property damage have occurred from animal-related accidents since 2008. Deer activity typically increases during hunting and mating season. Prime time for deer-related collisions is during the fall and early winter months of October, November and December and during the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

North Carolina reported 60,045 car accidents involving animals from 2008 to 2010. Wake County has reported the most crashes caused by an animal for the past 10 years. In 2010, Wake County reported 1,051 animal-related collisions, followed by Pitt County (713), Duplin County (646), Guilford County (635) and Randolph County (534) rounding out the rest of the Top 5 for accidents caused by animals.

Motorists that want to view a deer crash map for your area can click here to a view map provided by the Transportation Mobility and Safety Division. Select your county and view crash statistics by quarter, as well as, color coded pinpoints for crash locations throughout the county.

Motorists can reduce the risks of a deer-related crash if you use the following tips suggested by NCDOT:

  • Increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you during the months of October through December, especially at night, to avoid colliding into the back of a vehicle that needs to stop short of missing a deer in the roadway.

  • If you spot a deer near or on the roadway, honk your horn to alert the deer with an audible sound.

  • Avoid swerving to miss a deer in the road. Swerving often leads to a rollover accident or a head-on collision with another motorist which can cause serious or fatal injury in a crash.

  • Locating a deer along the side of the road usually means there are more to follow. Expect deer to travel in groups to avoid a collision with a second or third deer in the pack.

  • Use caution near or around bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, ditches or streams as these are the most common paths used by deer and places that car accidents involving deer take place.

  • If you see a deer crossing sign, slow down. Also reduce your speed in wooded areas or during dusk and nighttime hours.

  • Drive with high beams to increase visibility whenever possible.

Continue reading "Deer a Fall Hazard for Motorists Involved in Car Accidents in Statesville, Hickory" »

September 28, 2011

Fatal North Carolina Teen Car Accident a Lesson to Talk to Your Teen about Safe Driving Beyond Obtaining a License, Throughout High School

A fatal teen car crash near Lillington earlier this month has our Winston-Salem car accident lawyers wondering if there is ever a time that parents should allow their teens to drive late at night or with other teen passengers accompanying them in the vehicle.

WTVD reports that four teenage classmates between the ages of 15 to 17 were riding in a vehicle on Old Highway 421 when the young driver lost control of the vehicle, flipped the car and caused the vehicle to crash. A 17-year-old passenger is dead and her 16-year-old friend who was driving will be charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. The two other teens passengers were taken to WakeMed but are expected to survive the accident. Troopers report speeding was a contributing factor in the crash but that the accident was not alcohol-related.

This incident, along with many other teen car accidents in Charlotte and elsewhere in North Carolina are why strong graduated licensing programs are needed.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teens in North Carolina can apply for a learners license at the age of 15. During the intermediate stage, teens are not permitted to drive alone between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. and are limited to one passenger under the age of 21 riding in the vehicle with them. Nighttime and passenger restrictions could be lifted as early as age 16 years and 6 months under certain conditions.

An article in U.S. News & World Report states that a recent study shows 16-year-olds are less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than 18-year-olds in states with strict GDL laws. In fact, states with the strictest GDL laws showed a 26 percent decrease in fatal crashes involving a 16-year-old, but a 12 percent increase in fatal crashes involving 18-year-olds.

The study looked at over 130,000 fatal teen crashes which occurred between 1986 and 2007. The study found that the crash rate for 16-year-olds was 28.2 per 100,000 compared to 46.2 per 100,000 18-year-olds.

GDL laws vary from state to state but most have a 3-phase learning to drive program in place. The beginner stage allows teens to drive with supervision. The intermediate stage restricts high-risk situations like night driving while unsupervised. The final stage allows for full and unrestricted privileges for young drivers, which in North Carolina, could be obtained before age 18.

The study has caused some speculation as to why 18 year-olds are involved in more fatal crashes. One theory is that with strict GDL programs placing age restrictions on novice drivers, more teens are waiting to get their license. By waiting to apply for a learner's permit at age 18, teens can avoid some of the age-specific restrictions placed on them while learning to drive.

One lesson that can be learned from the study and recent fatal teen crash is that parents and role models should continue to make safe driving behaviors a hot topic of discussion with young drivers, even well into their college years. Gaining driving experience is important to become a safe driver but open lines of communications are just as equally important to keep you and your teen safe on roadways.

Continue reading "Fatal North Carolina Teen Car Accident a Lesson to Talk to Your Teen about Safe Driving Beyond Obtaining a License, Throughout High School" »

September 20, 2011

Failure to Replace Street Signs Could Impose a Higher Risk for Car Accidents in Winston-Salem, Nationwide

Winston-Salem car accident attorneys are concerned about recent changes made by the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding traffic sign replacement on North Carolina roadways. As part of an economic recovery for local and state governments throughout the country, traffic signs will no longer need to be replaced by certain deadlines, but rather by wear and tear on each individual sign.

What does this mean? It means that motorists will be more at risk of car accidents in North Carolina, South Carolina and throughout the country if state and local governments shift monetary resources used for road maintenance, construction and roadway safety in general by taking away and refueling their budgets in other areas. This also means that victims involved in car accidents might start having other at-fault parties to blame for causing the accident due to defective roads, hard-to-see traffic signs or critical safety warnings that are not placed properly.
Upon the advisement of the Obama Administration, the U.S Department of Transportation recently looked into areas where state budgets could be improved by cutting back on areas deemed overly exorbitant, pointless, excessively oppressive or out-of-date. Many state and local governments are operating in a deficit, so to cut or change burdensome regulations could not only save money on materials and other costly expenses, but also save money in labor costs which could add up to millions of dollars each year.

Up until now, communities have been required to replace traffic signs by a specific deadline, no matter what the condition of the sign is or how operable they are at the time of the deadline. One proposal to help cut spending is to no longer replace traffic signs automatically by the deadline but wait until they actually need to be replaced. In total, there are 46 deadlines authorized by regulations for traffic control and the proposed change would eliminate all of them.

In 1971, the Federal Highway Administration initiated the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) , which stipulates the 46 deadlines about to be removed. This manual federally regulates and sets national standards for road markings, traffic signals, street signs, and other traffic control devices.

The MUTCD manual is periodically updated with traffic control tools, traffic management procedures and safety technologies with the last revision being completed in 2009. FHWA recently submitted a notice to amend the document which will eliminate the traffic sign deadlines currently in place.

"Local and state transportation agencies are best-equipped to determine when they need to replace signs and other items in the course of their daily work," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez.

There are a series of deadlines that were due to be replaced by 2018 which include changing street name signs to larger lettering, changing the size of 'One Way' or 'Pass With Care' signs so that they are bigger and much more visible. These deadlines will no longer take effect.

Upgrade deadlines for traffic signs considered safety critical will still need to take place, according to the Department of Transportation. One of these deadlines includes placing 'One Way' signs at one-way streets or intersections of divided highways. Another deadline considered to be critical to public safety and will still need to be adhered to is placing 'Yield' or 'Stop' warning signs at railroad crossings that fail to provide flashing lights or automatic gates activated by an approaching train.

If you have a comment or concern regarding the recent changes and deadline omissions that you want heard by the FHWA, submit comments online at Federal Register.

Continue reading "Failure to Replace Street Signs Could Impose a Higher Risk for Car Accidents in Winston-Salem, Nationwide" »

May 27, 2011

Victims and Survivors of Truck Accidents in North Carolina and Elsewhere Look to Revise Trucking Regulations

Two motorists died this past weekend after a tanker slammed into a bridge abutment and burst into flames, according to WCNC. The accident shut down the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, the Highway Patrol reported. Interstate 85 northbound lanes will remain closed until crews complete repairs to the bridge. The accident forced the creation of a six-mile detour around the bridge.
A recent two-day forum in Washington D.C. aimed to resolve problems in these common trucking accidents in North Carolina and elsewhere across the United States. Advocates sought to place stricter regulations on these trucking companies and their commercial vehicles.

Our North Carolina car accident attorneys recognize the dangers of these oversized loads. Heavy cargo poses threats to motorists sharing the roadways with the large, commercial trucks. Drivers also experience severe fatigue while transporting these large loads as they work long, hard hours with reportedly low pay.

Big rig crashes are common across the Valley and the country, and one of the biggest factors is fatigue, reports CBS 47.

Because of such trucking accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is looking to revise the current truck-driver rules to increase safety across the board.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were almost 3,500 deaths resulting from traffic accidents involving these large trucks in 2009. In that year, 75 percent of the deaths were occupants of the other vehicles, 10 percent were nonoccupants and 15 percent were occupants of the trucks.

That same year resulted in about 74,000 people with injuries from these accidents. Again, occupants in the other vehicle sustained most of the injuries.

To address these numbers, the NTSB is considering cutting back on hours that a truck driver can work consecutively behind the wheel.

But that might not solve the problem.

In an effort to protect motorists from large trucks, families of accident victims, crash survivors and safety advocates are joining members of Congress to announce the introduction of the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA). This act will aim to cap the length and weight limitations for vehicles operating on federal-aid highways to help reduce the risks of potentially fatal accidents, according to the Auto Channel.

Other changes are being considered in additions to size and weight caps, but the safety board will meet with drivers, law enforcement and experts before making any decisions.

Continue reading "Victims and Survivors of Truck Accidents in North Carolina and Elsewhere Look to Revise Trucking Regulations" »

May 17, 2011

Holiday weekends bring a heightened risk of car accidents in Gastonia, elsewhere in state


Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner so it is a good time for North Carolina car accident attorneys to remind motorists to buckle up and be safe on roadways during the holiday weekend. Holiday weekends often encompass summer barbeques or gatherings which lead to heightened traffic and a high risk of car accidents in Gastonia, Winston-Salem or Greensboro.

The National Safety Council recently released their estimates for traffic crashes during this Memorial Day weekend which begins Friday, May 27th at 6:00 p.m. and continues through to Monday, May 30th at 11:59 p.m. The organization estimates over 400 fatalities and another 39,400 injuries will occur nationwide during the upcoming holiday weekend. The NSC encourages the use of safety belts this holiday weekend as they estimate over 100 lives could be saved nationwide if all drivers and passengers were to wear their seat belts.

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System reported 13 fatal crashes in North Carolina on Memorial Day. South Carolina reported 6 fatal crashes. The two states combined for 51 fatalities on Memorial Day alone in 2009 with 28 reported deaths in North Carolina and 23 reported deaths in South Carolina.

The NSC recommends the following tips to ensure safety this Memorial Day holiday weekend:
-Driving under the influence impairs your ability to drive and react so arrange for a designated driver if you plan to drink at a weekend gathering.

-Drive defensively while expecting the unexpected. Exercise extra caution if severe weather is a threat.

-Put your cell phone down while you are behind the wheel.

-Motorists who feel tired should pull of the road to rest or remain at home or at the party rather than driving drowsy.

-Don't put your car in drive until everyone in the vehicle is buckled in safely. All children should be placed in age-appropriate safety seats to ensure a reduced chance of serious injury in a motor vehicle crash.

-In order to reduce the frustration of driving in high volume traffic, plan to leave early and allow plenty of time for delays. Allowing ample travel time reduces the urge to speed in order to get to your destination on time.

Motorists should be mindful that law enforcement officials will be implementing the zero-tolerance of safety belt laws nationwide from May 23 to June 5, 2011 in recognition of the "Click it or Ticket" campaign.

Continue reading "Holiday weekends bring a heightened risk of car accidents in Gastonia, elsewhere in state" »