A tractor-trailer crash in North Carolina recently killed a 19-year-old girl on N.C. Highway 258 in Onslow County, after officials say the young woman crossed the center lane and struck the trailer head-on.
According to WNCT CBS North Carolina, the teen was traveling south on the highway in her Jeep Cherokee at around 3:30 in the afternoon. After crossing the center line, she struck the northbound trailer head-on. Troopers with the North Carolina Highway Patrol say neither speed nor alcohol was a likely factor in the crash, and they do not expect charges to be filed against the truck driver.
So where does this leave the heartbroken family of this young girl? From a civil liability standpoint, there may be few options, but it’s always worth at least speaking to an attorney. It does not appear, simply based on the cursory facts we know, that the trucker was negligent. It’s plausible distraction was a factor, given that we know speed and impairment were not factors and that teens have a higher propensity to be distracted by cell phones than their older cohorts. As injury attorneys, we might examine the design of the highway to determine whether there are any defects or dangerous conditions that might have played a role, although no source has suggested that as a possibility at this point. We might also look at the make and model of the vehicle and determine whether there were any defects or dangerous conditions there that could have been a factor.
An experienced car accident lawyer may help you identify potential liabilities you had not even considered.
The fatal tractor-trailer accident is also a reminder that we will soon be starting the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. Of course, fatal crashes may happen at any point, but teens are especially at risk in the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
During this time frame in years past, more than 1,000 people lost their lives in crashes that involved teen drivers. More than 550 of those killed in these collisions were teenagers. That’s according to the National Safety Council.
Given that car accident deaths have spiked even higher than normal in recent years, we have much reason to be concerned about how teens will fare on our roads this summer.
Part of the danger has to do with the fact that teens’ driving habits during this window of time tend to be more recreational than purposeful. They are going to and from the beach, the lake, or amusement parks as opposed to simply going back and forth to school. They may be driving farther distances or on roads with which they are unfamiliar.
But the other greatest danger? They are driving with their friends. Researchers have largely concluded that as great of a risk factor as cell phones are for teen drivers, driving with their peers is even more hazardous. The NSC reports the risk of a teen driver having a fatal crash increases by 44 percent when there is a teen passenger in the vehicle.
One study by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center followed more than 50 high school drivers in the state who agreed to have cameras installed in their vehicles. Loud conversations in the vehicle resulted in a six-fold increase in evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision. Horseplay increased the risk by three-fold.
If you have a teen driver in your household, it’s important to outline the potential risks and set some ground rules now. The NSC has some Parent Tips for Teen Drivers.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
NC teen dies in head-on crash with tractor-trailer, officials say, April 1, 2017, By WNCT Staff
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