“Operation Slow Down” In Effect in North Carolina

A 20-year-old driver was recently traveling at nearly 100 miles-per-hour as he attempted to negotiate a slight turn in Wendell. Authorities say he was simply going too fast, and lost control of the vehicle, dropping off two embankments, crossing a driveway and then striking a tree in mid-air. He and his 47-year-old passenger were killed.
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One trooper was quoted as saying that the curve should not have been an issue for someone traveling at the speed limit.

The fact is, speed kills. The National Safety Council estimates that at least one out of every three deadly wrecks is caused by excessive speed. It’s for this reason, Asheville car accident lawyers have learned, that the North Carolina Highway Patrol has launched a new campaign called, “Operation Slow Down.”

Troopers will be out in full force on interstates and major four-lane roads, zeroing in on those areas that have statistically been noted as the most dangerous for crashes in each county.

The agency reports an average of two fatal crashes every day in this state – and that doesn’t even include those that occur inside municipal boundaries, which are handled by local police.

Last year’s crackdown resulted in nearly 20,000 citations in a week, with nearly 9,000 of those issued for excessive speed.

According to the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s FY 2013 report, 335 people were killed in North Carolina in 2011 due to drivers who were speeding. That does represent a 13 percent decrease from 2010, though it’s unclear if that’s a trend we can expect to decline – though that’s certainly the hope of troopers with these type of crackdowns.

Speed-related crashes have been on a steady downward trend in North Carolina since 2002, when there were 633, but there were spikes in both 2006 (557) and 2007 (574).

In 2002, nearly 40 percent of road-related deaths in the state were speed-related. Today, that figure has dropped to 28 percent, though it’s worth noting that’s still nearly a third.

One fact that hasn’t changed is that male drivers are roughly 50 percent more likely to be involved in a speed-related crash than female drivers. Also, the younger the driver the more likely he or she is to be involved in a crash where speed was a contributing factor.

Among North Carolina motorcycle riders, speed was an especially common cause of wrecks, contributing to nearly 15 percent of the total. That’s much higher than the rate for drivers of pickup trucks (5.2 percent), passenger cars (4.7 percent), sport utility vehicles (4.6 percent) and minivans (2.4 percent).

Crashes occurring late at night, speed was more likely a factor.

In Buncombe county, there were 35 speed-related fatalities in 2011. Meanwhile, there were 116 in Mecklenburg, 114 in Wake and 85 in Guilford.

Despite the downward trend in recent years, the number of speed-related crashes is still far too high.

In North Carolina, the statewide speed limit on rural interstates, urban interstates and other limited-access roads is 70 mph, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration. Perhaps it is time to revisit those limits.

Contact the Asheville injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Highway Patrol warns speeders that crackdown is coming on major highways, April 11, 2014, Staff Report, Raleigh News & Observer

More Blog Entries:
Changing In-Vehicle Displays to Prevent Distracted Driving, April 21, 2014, Asheville Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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