May 2011 Archives

May 30, 2011

ATV accident in Carolina killed 16-year-old before new bill takes effect

A 16-year-old girl killed in a recent ATV accident was never required to wear a helmet, eye protection or receive training.

The accident happened just a few days after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill into law requiring such prerequisites for ATV riders younger than 16, according to WYFF 4. The bill was created by the governor to reduce the risks of fatal ATV accidents in North Carolina and elsewhere throughout the state for our younger riders.
Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys recognize that this new bill will provide training to many young riders. However, we understand that this training would not apply to riders who ride under parental supervision on private property.

The 16-year-old ATV driver died from blunt force trauma to the head and chest. She reportedly lost control of her vehicle while riding in a field behind her house. The young girl was also reportedly not wearing a helmet.

Advocates point out that this bill would not have saved the young driver as she was on her own property with parental supervision. It also would not have applied to her because her age would have excluded her from the mandatory training. The law will apply to those younger than 16.

This new bill, effective July 1, is called Chandler's Law for Chandler Saylor, who died in May of 2003 after an ATV accident. His parents have been pushing for the new safety measures ever since.

The governor signed the law on the eight-year anniversary of Chandler's death. While many are pleased with the progress, advocates and parents hope for even more change in these safety regulations.

Children younger than 16 accounted for 97 deaths involving ATVs in North Carolina between 1982 and 2006. South Carolina reported 99 deaths on ATVs between 1982 and 2006.

One the opposite end of the spectrum, we recently reported on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog that adult ATV riders will no longer be required by law to wear either a helmet or eye protection while operating an ATV, as long as they're on private property. This law is to take effect Oct. 1 this year.

In 2009, there were almost 400 reported fatalities and 132,000 estimated emergency room visits resulting from ATV-related accidents across the country.

Continue reading "ATV accident in Carolina killed 16-year-old before new bill takes effect" »

May 28, 2011

One person killed, another injured, after fall from Greensboro carnival ride

A fatal fall from the Ferris wheel at the Greensboro Youth Council Carnival marked the first North Carolina carnival injury in nearly 10 years, according to News & Record.

Investigators have so far revealed that the accident injured one other worker. A malfunctioning cable is suspected to have caused the accident, according to Greensboro police Cpl. Mike Matthews.
Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys understand that these entertaining attractions can be dangerous for both workers and visitors. Injuries often result from carnival visits as there are dangers lurking around every corner. Rides are put together and taken apart in a matter of hours, while wires and cords line the ground to power the music and lights.

The fall reportedly happened a short time before 2 a.m. in the Greensboro Coliseum's parking lot. The two men were at different ends of the ride they were dismantling.

Both workers involved in the accident were taken to Moses Cone Hospital. One worker was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the other remains in critical condition.

After the accident, workers were required to answer questions from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and police investigators.

The Greensboro Youth Council Carnival attracts roughly 50,000 visitors each year and offers about 25 different rides. Last weekend markedthe carnival's sixth annual event.

The Ferris wheel was built in 1965. It is the only reproduction made of the Seattle Wheel, which was built when the city hosted the 1962 World Fair. The Ferris wheel is 90 feet tall and has 16 separate buckets. It was reported to have been renovated in the late 1990s. It has been in operation and on the road since June 2000.

In North Carolina, the rides of traveling amusement parks are required to be inspected by the state Department of Labor's Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau every time they are put together and set up for use.

OSHA hasn't had to issue any citations to the company since 1972, which was the first year citations were tracked, according Neal O'Briant, spokesman for the Department of Labor's OSHA division.

The carnival is now headed to Roanoke, Va., for a fair that starts Wednesday evening.

We recognize the summer months are popular for these entertaining attractions, but all fair-goers are urged to practice caution.

Continue reading "One person killed, another injured, after fall from Greensboro carnival ride" »

May 26, 2011

CPSC unveils new database to decrease risks of harmful product use in North Carolina and elsewhere, a database headed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), went live earlier this week in an attempt to reduce the risk of product liability claims in North Carolina and elsewhere across the country by disclosing more product information to consumers. This database was mandated by Congress as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Residents can now visit the website and submit reviews or reports pertaining to the harm or risks of products. Consumers can also search the database for information on products they currently own or may be considering for purchase.

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers urge residents to take advantage of this new database and use it to get familiar with the possible risks that may be lurking in their homes. A number of household products are accompanied with unknown risks, and residents are often unaware of these risks because information has been, up until now, difficult to locate.

"CPSC stayed on time and on budget in building this new database," said Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum. "Through consumers will have open access to product safety information that they have never seen before and the information will empower them to make safer choices."

The law put into effect a number of procedures that the CPSC and the database will have to follow for the smooth and accurate function of the website. After a consumer submits a report, the CSPC will have five business days to forward a qualifying report to the appropriate manufacturer. Once the manufacturer receives the report, it will have 10 business days to provide a response or any other comment regarding the claim. At the end of that 10 day period, and once all requirements are met, the database will post the report along with the manufacturer's comments.

The CPSC would like to reiterate that they will only post truthful and accurate reports. If the information fails to meet these requirements, it will be dismissed. They will also not post information that is proven to be materially inaccurate or confidential.

"I believe that an informed consumer is an empowered consumer," added Tenenbaum. "The ability for parents and consumers to search this database for incidents involving a product they already own or are thinking of purchasing will enable them to make independent decisions aimed at keeping their family safe."

The CPSC began accepting business registrations on the website in January. It currently has about 1,500 reports filed by consumers and roughly 1,400 manufacturers signed up through the Business Portal. Signing up through the Business Portal allows businesses to receive a copy of reports pertaining to their products in a timely manner.

"We will continue to accept written, phone and fax reports, as we have for decades," Tenenbaum said. "What is new and significant today is that we are launching an up-to-date system for letting consumers review safety reports alongside manufacturer comments about those reports."

Until this website, the CPSC's website only offered recall information through the database.

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May 25, 2011

HB 542, SB 33; NCGOP attempts to abolish citizens' rights

The NCGOP opened the current legislative session with a blitzkrieg assault on the civil rights of North Carolinians. High on its list of legislative priorities was so-called tort "reform." The tort reform the NCGOP, supported by the NC Chamber of Commerce, big business and the insurance industry, is pushing is contained in HB 542 & SB 33. HB 542 gives the pharmaceutical industry immunity for dangerous drugs if the drugs have FDA approval. Since all prescription drugs sold in the US are required to have prior FDA approval, the drug industry gets total immunity. Only one other state, Michigan, deprives its citizens of the right to seek compensation for defective drugs. HB 542 also contains what is known as "billed vs. paid" which gives the negligent party in a personal injury case part of the benefit of the injured party's health insurance coverage. This flies in the face of the Republican "personal responsibility" mantra, but the insurance industry is pushing it.

Apparently, Republican ideology takes a back seat to payoffs to campaign contributors. The bill also makes it more difficult for expert witnesses to testify in court and gives 75% of all punitive damages after the first $100k to the state. The latter provision is designed to discourage plaintiffs from seeking large punitive damage awards against big businesses. However, the threat of large punitive damage awards is the only thing that keeps big businesses from producing products that kill or severely injure consumers-- a la Ford Pinto. If it can be made cheaper with no or little accountability, businesses will do it to
increase profits. Bet on it.

The insanity continues with SB 33, which gives ER doctors immunity from their negligence. You heard right. ER doctors are special, or maybe it's just that doctors, hospitals and the AMA fill the GOP coffers. No other profession has immunity from acts of professional negligence. So if this bill passes, you may want to tell the ambulance driver to head to Va. or SC to find a hospital.

The only way to defeat these outrageous bills is for enough NC citizens to express opposition to their state representatives. So if these bills sound like a bad idea to you, please take a few minutes to contact your state reps:

Find my State Representatives

May 24, 2011

North Carolina diving accident sends man to Virginia hospital

A 56-year-old man was rescued by the Coast Guard after being involved in a diving accident off the coast of North Carolina. The man, aboard the Midnight Express, was reportedly about 30 miles south of Beaufort Inlet when the accident happened this past weekend.

Crew members aboard that boat said the man had just completed a 110-foot dive and began complaining of shortness of breath and other symptoms once he surfaced. The diver was airlifted to a hospital in Norfolk, Va., according to Blue Ridge Now.
Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers understand why our coasts were rated as the No. 1 wreck diving destination in North America by the readers of Scuba Diving Magazine in 2006. Our area offers beautiful underwater attractions, including the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," the natural ledges off Topsail Beach and area offshore Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras.

Although our coasts provide these beautiful views and amazing diving attractions, diving can be rather inhospitable. Our oceans contain cold waters, tough currents, high seas, strong winds and low visibility. All of these conditions put divers at great risks. Dive operators have their hands full with the obligation to make sure customers' skills are up to the task and that all divers are safe.

The coastal areas of North Carolina continue to appeal as a popular vacation destination and recreation area. A number of scuba divers are drawn to our shores every year to dive down and explore the beautiful marine life and popular World War II wrecks.

Thinking about jumping in and exploring what the coasts of North Carolina have to offer? Scuba Diving Smiles offers you these tips to keep you safe:

-Make sure you get trained first. Get certified.

-Remember to breathe slowly and relax. A lot of people feel the inclination to hold their breath. Do not do it. Holding your breath can lead to lung injuries.

-Make sure you're in good shape. While you don't need to be an Olympic gold medalist, try getting a physical exam before diving. Some studies report that about a third of all scuba fatalities are caused by heart and/or circulatory problems.

-Never dive alone. This is the No. 1 most important scuba diving rule. Use the buddy system. Make sure to keep an eye on one another. A scuba partner can mean the difference between life and death.

-Be sure to always check your dive equipment with your dive partner before entering the water.

-Ascend into the water slowly so that your body can rid itself of nitrogen in your body tissues.

-Do a safety stop at every 15 descended feet for at least 3 minutes for deeper dives. Be sure to do the same thing when ascending to the surface.

Continue reading "North Carolina diving accident sends man to Virginia hospital" »

May 21, 2011

Tourists' injuries and illnesses a risk on cruise ships departing from North or South Carolina

Cruising is a popular choice for vacationers looking to slip away to a tropical destination while enjoying some fun in the sun. Charlotte personal injury lawyers understand the attraction of cruise ships but want to remind tourists that there can also be some danger involved in these kinds of trips. If you suffer from a cruise ship accident exercise your rights by contacting an experienced personal injury law firm immediately to determine the right course of action.

The cruise industry is booming and cities are finding it an opportunity to grow economically. CBS News reports that historic Charleston is looking to cash in on economic growth and multiple job opportunities by proposing a $25 million cruise terminal on the coast of South Carolina. Opposition suggests that the plan to build a new terminal will bring a tremendous amount of unwanted traffic, noise, and congestion to the area. Supporters see dollar signs as the major benefit, suggesting an $18 billion growth in the community from the tourism industry.

Cruise ship terminals may be good for the economy but cruise ships themselves need to be researched thoroughly before you plan your next tropical trip. Most of us probably think our only danger on a cruise ship is keeping the boat afloat or colliding with another ship; both are highly unlikely considering today's technology.
However, there are other dangers to consider in which the tour boat has a responsibility to keep patrons safe and free from harm. Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of injury on cruise ships. Wet floors and spilled food or beverages can lead to serious injury. Cruise ships offer a variety of water slides, wave pools, and swimming pools.

The ship should always have a life guard on duty to avoid head injuries or drowning accidents. Food illnesses are a common concern for vacationers because they can often lead to gastrointestinal infections, or salmonella poisoning which all require medical attention. Cruise ships should have security posted throughout the boat and emergency plans for an overboard emergency.

If you have a concern about contracting an illness on a cruise ship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts surprise inspections through a vessel sanitation program in assisting the cruise ship industry to provide a healthy environment to all of its patrons. Click to view the CDC Green Sheet Report before you make arrangements for your next cruise.

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May 19, 2011

Youth safety programs aimed at reducing Winston-Salem car accidents involving child pedestrians or bicyclists

Some of America's leading traffic safety organizations, members of Congress, and the United Nations are teaming up to declare "The Decade of Action" throughout the month of May according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. May 11, 2011 was the official kick-off as we posted previously on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog but the entire month of May will be spent advocating for traffic safety throughout the United States.

The launch of the 10-year international "Decade of Action" campaign coincides with National Youth Traffic Safety Month and the release of Safe Routes to School - Noteworthy Practices Guide. Our car accident lawyers in Winston-Salem know that child safety is a priority for North Carolina parents so designing efficient programs which involve walking and biking is an important part of keeping them free from danger on their way to school and other summer activities.

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is meant to get children active while promoting safety on city streets and sidewalks within different communities throughout the state. There are four target areas in the program:

-Safety: Aims to reduce speeds in school zones, build and design safer sidewalks and bike paths, educate kids and parents about pedestrian and bicycle safety.

-Health: Aims to get children active for 60 minutes a day, energized and ready to learn at school and take an active role in being healthy.

-Community: Aims to build friendships within the neighborhood, promote safe driving around schools, and enhance parent and adult involvement at school and within the community.

-Choice: Opts to choose walking or bicycling over driving to school to promote less traffic, a more eco- friendly environment, and more energetic lifestyles.

"Like so many state transportation programs, there is no single, preferred way to a conduct a SRTS program," said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. "The benefit of the guide is that it documents many different and creative approaches to SRTS implementation and provides valuable insights and resources for state SRTS coordinators and others."

The North Carolina SRTS Partnership strives towards changing the habits of an entire generation through the help of North Carolina Department of Transportation and Transportation Mobility and Safe Division. The SRTS program has been federally funded and gained over $15.5 million during the period of 2005-2009.

For more information about who to contact in North Carolina for the SRTS program, click here to view coordinator information.

Getting children more active and maintaining healthier lifestyles is something all parents want for their kids. Keep our youth safe by slowing down and being extra cautious on roadways where young children may be present.

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May 18, 2011

Neglect and abuse common causes for child injuries at North Carolina daycare centers

Dropping an infant or toddler off at daycare can be as unsettling for the parent as it is for the child. Our personal injury lawyers in Asheville, Statesville, and Charlotte know the stress a parent goes through in choosing a safe and trustworthy daycare facility for their child to stay at during work hours because not everyone has the luxury of being a stay-at-home parent. Parents have a right to feel their child is in a safe environment when placing them at a daycare center. Parents who suspect foul play or neglect should contact an experienced child injury lawyer in North Carolina or South Carolina to plan the appropriate course of action against the daycare center.

The Barnwell Police Department is in the midst of an investigation after the mysterious death of a 3-month old boy at a home daycare reports The Augusta Chronicle. An autopsy was performed but more testing is needed to determine the cause of death.

A separate incident occurring on the same day involved a 3-year-old girl who was fatally injured in the gymnasium at Gaffney church daycare in South Carolina. The young toddler was trying to retrieve a ball when she experienced a section of the wooden stage collapse on her. Blunt force head trauma was the cause of death; she was pronounced dead at Spartanburg Regional Hospital.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted the most recent study on daycare facilities, attempting to measure safety hazards in childcare environments. There were 8 potential safety hazards investigated at 220 licensed childcare settings across the U.S. The hazards included: recalled child products, drawstrings in clothing, blind cords in windows, safety gates made for children, playground surfacing, maintenance of the surfacing on playgrounds, soft bedding and cribs. The CPSC staff found that two-thirds of the investigated environments had at least one safety hazard present. In 1997, there were approximately 31,000 trips to the emergency room for injuries obtained at child care or school settings for children 4 years-old or younger. At the time of the study, there had been a minimum of 56 child fatalities reported in child care environments since 1990.

Child and daycare facilities have an obligation to obey federal regulations in order to keep valid licensing. Childcare providers should be licensed in CPR and First Aid in order to give proper care to your child. Failure to provide a safe environment is cause for legal action if your child is injured so contact a legal professional if your child is a victim of abuse or neglect at a daycare facility.

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May 13, 2011

Hyperthermia a concern in hot temperatures, especially for children in unattended vehicles in North Carolina

Hyperthermia accidents in North Carolina and elsewhere throughout the country are a common cause of non-crash deaths for children under the age of fourteen.

Charlotte car accident attorneys know how dangerous it is to leave a child in a hot vehicle because their small bodies can't adapt to the hot temperatures. The inability to sweat or keep the body cool can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses that can often be fatal. Caregivers, babysitters and daycare centers have a responsibility to keep children safe by not leaving them alone in an unattended vehicle, even if only for a minute.
Already in 2011 there have been two reported child fatalities as a result of being left in a hot vehicle, according to the Department of Geosciences. The average number of child deaths in vehicles in the U.S. related to hyperthermia since 1998 is 38 per year; reporting a total of 496 from 1998-2010.

The data indicates there are three primary reasons for a child vehicular hyperthermia death during the period of 1998 through 2010. Caregivers have forgotten children in 51 percent of reported deaths, 30 percent of children died while playing in an unattended vehicle and 17 percent were left in the vehicle intentionally by the adult.

In 2009, there was one reported child hyperthermia-related motor vehicle death in North Carolina. In 2008, there were four reported deaths in North Carolina. In 2007, there were three reported hyperthermia deaths of children in vehicles in South Carolina. From 1998-2010, North and South Carolina each reported 19 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths during that time period.

With temperatures rising, and the dead heat of summer on its way, the U.S. Department of Transportation want to remind caregivers, babysitters, daycare centers and parents not to leave children alone in the vehicle. The following safety tips are recommended to prevent hyperthermia:

-Teach your children that a vehicle is not a play area and that they should never play inside a vehicle.

-Looking in the front and back seat before you lock the door and walk away should be habitual.

-Infants or children should never be left alone in a running vehicle with the air conditioning on or the windows down.

-If you routinely drop your child off at daycare, have the facility call if your child doesn't arrive on time for childcare.

-Leave a reminder note in a visible place or leave your purse or briefcase in the back seat where your child is so you remember to not leave them alone in the car.

-Keep your keys out of the reach of children after locking all doors and the trunk.

-Children view cars as good hiding places so if a child comes up missing, check all areas in your vehicle, including the trunk.

Continue reading "Hyperthermia a concern in hot temperatures, especially for children in unattended vehicles in North Carolina" »

May 11, 2011

New law to take effect for adult ATV riders in North Carolina

Starting October 1, 2011, adult ATV riders will no longer be required to wear a helmet and eye protection on private property in North Carolina reports the Charlotte Observer. Governor Bev Perdue failed to sign the proposed bill loosening requirements by the Thursday deadline but the proposed law takes effect anyway.
Charlotte personal injury attorneys know the risks involved in riding ATVs and urge you to use a little caution when you head out for a ride on an all-terrain vehicle.

We posted recently on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about the recent death of a young woman who suffered from neck and head injuries following an ATV accident in North Carolina. She had been riding with friends before encountering a downed cable running across the road that threw her off the recreational vehicle.

ATV's, for the most part, are used as recreational vehicles for riding trails. Bumps and ruts on the path or in a field can be treacherous. reported 366 deaths on ATV's in North Carolina from 1982-2009. Though the data for 2007-2009 is still incomplete, to date there have been 64 deaths reported in North Carolina during that time period.

Children under 16 accounted for 97 deaths in North Carolina during the period of 1982-2006 while riding on an ATV. South Carolina reported 99 deaths on ATV's during the period of 1982-2006. There were 35 deaths for children under age 16 in ATV accidents in South Carolina during that same period. During 2007-2009, there were 29 reported deaths on ATV's in South Carolina to date but the data is still incomplete. Nationally in 2009, there were 376 reported deaths and almost 132,000 estimated emergency room visits as a result of ATV-related accidents across the country.

Governor Perdue's decision to not sign the bill was about personal freedom and wanting to keep legislation consistent in comparison to child safety seats and motorcycle helmet requirements. Under the new law, eyewear and helmets will still be required on public streets and areas shared with other vehicles. Children who operate their own ATV will be required to wear goggles and a helmet at all times.

If you own or plan to rent an ATV this summer, take a hands-on safety training course. Brushing up on your skills could protect you and others that you ride with from danger and serious injury in an ATV accident.

Continue reading "New law to take effect for adult ATV riders in North Carolina " »

May 9, 2011

North Carolina boating accidents a high risk for injury during summer watercraft season

Asheville personal injury lawyers know that as we approach Memorial Day and the summer months, there will be a greater risk of boating accidents with the vast number of registered boaters working the wakes of North and South Carolina.
Tides can be difficult to manage so whether you enjoy a sailboat or speedboat, our boat accident attorneys at Lee Law Offices P.A. want to urge boaters to use a little extra caution when you set sail and ride the waves this summer.

We posted earlier this month on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about the recent fatal accident involving a jet ski which killed a young boy and his father in Bertie County. The jet ski hit an unseen obstacle in the water which threw the riders off of the watercraft.

Asheville Citizen-Times reports about a recent boat accident which injured a Hendersonville man. The boater was on Lake Norman when he hit a wave that threw him overboard. The steering locked causing the boat to run in a tight circle. The propeller caused severe injuries to both legs as the boat swung around and clipped the man in the water. The injured boater was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte for emergency surgery.

WSOCTV reports the boat ran for about an hour before running out of gas. Most boats come with a lanyard hooked to the kill switch which can shut the engine off in an emergency. Many boating injuries can be prevented if the lanyard is kept in place. North Carolina law states that if a personal watercraft has a kill switch, the operator must keep the lanyard attached to them while boating. In South Carolina, it is mandatory for all personal watercraft to have a device that causes an automatic shut-off of the engine which kills the power immediately.

Boaters should keep the following safety reminders in tow while boating:

-Take a boat safety course.

-Communicate what waterway you will be boating on and the estimated time of return.

-Never boat in dense fog or severe storms.

-Maintain a safe distance between your boat and other watercraft or vessels.

-Have emergency items like food, water, spare clothes, or a tool kit on board the watercraft.

Learning proper etiquette and boat safety is a must if you plan operate a personal watercraft on North Carolina's scenic waterways. Reduce the risk of serious injury by knowing where the kill switch is on your watercraft and being prepared for dangerous situations.

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May 4, 2011

Watercraft accidents in North Carolina a high risk for injury during the summer months

Summer fun is just around the corner with the school year coming to a close and the weather improving with each and every day. Our Greensboro personal injury attorneys know that watercraft activities are a favorite pastime of many in this state so be extra careful when heading out on the boat or jet ski in the coming months.

The recent tragedy of a Bertie County sheriff's deputy involved in a North Carolina watercraft accident has most of us thinking that safety should be a top priority. Anything can happen in a split second to cause your boat or jet ski to tip over or throw you from the seat.
WCTI 12 reports about the jet ski accident involving the deputy and his three-year-old son who were found fatally injured in their life jackets on the Cashie River recently. The deputy had been putting in a tremendous amount of hours on the job following several severe storms in April before finally having a day off to spend with his family. The accident appears to have been caused by the jet ski hitting an obstacle in the water which ejected the family of three from the seat. After losing consciousness briefly, the mother was able to call for help from her cell phone. But emergency rescue workers arrived to find the deputy and his son not breathing. The mother was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and needed emergency surgery.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission reported 154 boating accidents resulting in 22 fatalities in 2009. Another 104 people required medical treatment after a boating accident in 2009. There were over 368,000 boats registered in the state for that year. The months of May, June, July and August are the most dangerous when it comes to watercraft accidents.
If you own or intend to rent a jet ski, boat, or other watercraft equipment, you should always keep the following safety tips in mind:

-Wear a life jacket at all times.

- Take a course offered about jet ski or boat safety. Learning rules for safe operation are a must.

-When using a jet ski or boat, learn how it operates by picking a spot located away from other watercraft to test power, stopping distances, turning angles, and maneuverability.

-Familiarize yourself with the area you ride in - pick out obstacles or other hazards in the water.

-Operate your boat or jet ski during daylight hours only.

-Use extra caution in the wakes of other boats or rough waters. There is a high risk of being thrown off the watercraft when waters are turbulent.

Continue reading "Watercraft accidents in North Carolina a high risk for injury during the summer months" »

May 2, 2011

Anti-drunk driving contracts can reduce risk of teen alcohol-related accidents in North Carolina during prom-graduation season

Statistics have shown that Prom-Graduation season, the months of April, May, and June, is the most dangerous time of year for teen drivers. Parents should talk to their teens before they head to the prom or graduation. It may just save them from being involved in drunk or distracted driving car accident in Greensboro, Winston-Salem or elsewhere in the state.

Our North Carolina accident attorneys at Lee Law Offices frequently write about this topic. But it is because teens are at such high risk. Young drivers are impressionable, but not always in a good way. So it is important to speak to your teen before something tragic happens. Events like prom or graduation parties leave teens battling peer pressure -- and leave them vulnerable to making poor decisions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the following teenage drunk driving statistics:

-31 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested over the legal limit of .08.

-60 percent of all teen deaths in car accidents are in large part due to alcohol consumption.

-An average of 8 teens per day dies in alcohol-related crashes.

-A third of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teens occur during the months of April, May and June.

-6 out of every 10 high school juniors and seniors admit to being a passenger in a car with an intoxicated teen driver.

-75 percent of high school students admit to drinking alcohol and roughly 80 percent of juniors and seniors admit to drinking alcohol by age 16.

- Teens caught drinking and driving use prom, graduation and spring break as their biggest excuses to defend their behavior.

This time of year, many schools across the country hold forums and special anti-drinking and driving presentations by bringing in guest speakers or displays of crashed vehicles following a teen drunk driving accident. Some may even utilize a pledge agreement signed by students to not drink at prom or graduation events. Many high schools have begun testing blood alcohol levels with breathalyzers for students attending the prom. Prom-goers are turned away at the door if alcohol is detected.

Parents and teens are reminded of the following driving on prom night safety tips provided by Nationwide:

-Always have a cell phone with you in case of an emergency
-Drowsy drivers should never get behind the wheel so call for a ride if you are too tired to drive.

-Change into comfortable shoes before you drive. Driving in high heels or bulky dress shoes that you are unfamiliar with could cause an accident.

-Take a test drive before the prom so you know exactly where you are going.

-Always wear your seat belt - both as a driver and as a passenger in the vehicle.

-Never drink and drive or get in a vehicle with a friend who is intoxicated behind the wheel.

Parents can also do their part by taking a proactive approach to communicate with their teen about the dangers of prom night and graduation parties. There are several versions of teen driving contracts that can be developed between young drivers and their parents to establish a clear understanding of safe driving behaviors. Visit for an example of a contract and the important items which should be included.

Continue reading "Anti-drunk driving contracts can reduce risk of teen alcohol-related accidents in North Carolina during prom-graduation season" »