June 2011 Archives

June 29, 2011

Avoid Charlotte Fireworks Accidents This Independence Day Weekend

Fireworks seem to be synonymous with the Fourth of July, as Americans love to watch them light up a dark sky on a warm summer night.

But as we approach the Independence Day weekend, our Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers would advise that you leave fireworks up to the professionals. If you decide to purchase fireworks to shoot in your backyard, please be careful. They are dangerous and can cause a long list of injuries.
As the Charlotte Observer reports, there are professional fireworks displays throughout North Carolina. And besides, these events are free and have the best fireworks you can see. They are large, light up the sky and evoke "Ooohs" and "Aaahs" as they go off.

But as many may remember, in 2009, a truck carrying fireworks for Oracoke Island's Fourth of July celebration exploded, killing three people, CBS News reported. The explosion shook homes as 40 minutes worth of fireworks went off in 40 seconds.

What this story reminds us of is the powerful nature of these explosives. They are dangerous and capable of destruction. That's why it's important to avoid fireworks-related child injuries in Charlotte.

Fireworks are one of the most common reasons children are injured in North Carolina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60 percent of the people injured in fireworks accidents in 2008 were under 20 years old. And in 2008, there were 7,000 people injured because of fireworks.

In addition to that, seven people were killed. The most common body parts injured were hands and fingers (1,400 injuries), eyes (1,000 injuries) and legs (900 injuries). More than half of the injuries were burns, but bruises and cuts were also reported.

What many people don't understand is that sparklers, which are considered by many to be the safest of fireworks, burn at 1,000 degrees. They can catch a child's clothes on fire or burn their fingers and hands if not used correctly.

And bottle rockets and other flying fireworks can streak out of control and hit people in the eye, causing vision problems or even blindness. And if drought conditions are just right, fireworks can cause fires that can do major damage.
If you choose to buy personal fireworks, act safety in order to avoid Charlotte fireworks injuries. Being injured can turn a joyous holiday weekend into one that brings back bad memories of hospital trips and scars.

Take advantage of these safety tips by The National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  • Use fireworks outdoors only
  • Obey local laws
  • Always have water handy, either in a bucket or a hose
  • Only use fireworks as intended -- don't alter them
  • Never relight a "dud" firework
  • Use common sense -- keep a safe distance from the shooter
  • Alcohol and fireworks don't mix, so have a designated shooter
  • Only people over 12 should handle sparklers
  • Don't use homemade or illegal fireworks

Continue reading "Avoid Charlotte Fireworks Accidents This Independence Day Weekend" »

June 27, 2011

Greensboro Noted for Bike-Friendly City' Bike Accidents a Summer Risk in North Carolina

Greensboro was ranked in the top-50 for America's Most Bike-Friendly Cities, according to a recent article in Bicycling.com. The popularity of biking in this city and others can only mean the chances of being involved in a bicycling accident in Greensboro are high, particularly in the summer months.

Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers know that experience in riding a bicycle doesn't always mean freedom from injury as one of the city's most avid riders was recently injured in a bicycle accident. The Winston-Salem Journal reported about the well-known downtown biker who was critically injured in a bike accident. The cyclist, known for his infectious smile and attitude, was bicycling home from work when he struck the left side of a van on Glade Street. The cyclist is popular in downtown Winston-Salem, having worked for numerous restaurants, he is always moving about via his bicycle. He was rushed from the scene to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.
Other nearby cities that made the notable top-50 best bike cities were Cary (ranked 24th) and Charleston (ranked 29th). Greensboro was ranked 40th in the top 50 locations. Criteria used to determine the list included:

-Must have a population of at least 100,000 residents in your city.

-Geographical diversity so that larger states like California didn't have 50 cities making the top-50 list.

-City must contain bike lanes segregated from the normal flow of traffic.

-City must offer municipal bike racks, as well as, bike boulevards.

-Support from your local government is needed.

-City must provide a savvy bike shop and a diverse bike culture.

The Alliance for Biking & Walking recently released their 2010 Benchmarking Report which is a state by state comparison of bicycling and walking data. The report indicated that a mere 1.2 percent of Federal Transportation Funds are spent on bike or pedestrian modes of transportation. Also, 6.4 percent of all trips are taken via bicycle or walking, which is under the national average of 9.6 percent.

North Carolina ranks near the national average in all traffic fatalities involving bicyclists or pedestrians, which is 12.2 percent (the national average is 13 percent). Our state spent zero Federal Safety dollars on bicycle or pedestrian safety in 2010.

North Carolina falls well below the national average on spending the funds set aside for safe routes to school. Only 11.5 percent of funds are obligated compared to 47 percent nationally on Safe Routes to School projects. Unlike 15 other states that answered yes, North Carolina does not have a state-sponsored ride to promote bicycling activity.

Bicycle safety tips from the Charlotte Area Bicycle Alliance:

-Follow all traffic signs, signals and road markings.

-Always ride on right side of road with the flow of traffic.

-Know the proper hand signals to be used when making a right or left turn.

-Look through rear windows of parked cars for signs of someone attempting to get out of the driver's side of the car.

-Be watchful for cracks in pavement, debris laying in the road, drainage grates or broken glass.

Continue reading "Greensboro Noted for Bike-Friendly City' Bike Accidents a Summer Risk in North Carolina" »

June 24, 2011

Slips and Falls a Leading Cause of Injury for Older Adults in Charlotte

The third week in June marks Fall Prevention week, an annual observance by the National Safety Council (NSC) to encourage and educate safe behaviors regarding the leading cause of preventable injuries and deaths.

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers of Charlotte and elsewhere are aware that falls account for almost 9 million emergency room visits and are one of the leading causes of accidental injuries in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year one out of three adults 65 and older will fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among adults 65 and older. In 2009, over 2 million fall injuries in older adults were treated in hospital emergency rooms and almost 600,000 required hospitalizations. Fall deaths among adults 65 and older is four times greater than the amount of fall deaths among all other age groups.

The NSC recommends the following for older adults to prevent falls:

-Help improve your balance by exercising. Take brisk walks, practice tai chi or take yoga classes.

-Stay hydrated while exercising and consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

-Have a health professional review all of your medications. Some medicines or a combination of medicines can cause drowsiness or light-headedness.

-Poor vision can lead to falls, so have your eyes checked regularly.

-Pay extra attention when you use stairs.

-Avoid distractions while walking. Don't be read, text or talking on a cell phone.

-Be aware of objects around you, even in familiar areas.

See if you have any potential fall hazards by asking the following questions:

-Do your stairs have handrails on both sides?

-Do you keep your stairs clear of clutter?

-Do you have lights at the top and bottoms of stairs?

-Are small rugs taped to the floor?

-Do you have night lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways?

-Does your bathtub have a non-slip mat or surface?

-Do you have grab handles in your tub and shower?

-Do you clean up spills as soon as they happen?

-Are there lights for porches and walkways?

-Are your walkways clear of clutter?

-Do you store ladders on their sides?

To protect young children from falls, safety gates should be placed at the top and bottom of stairs; have window guards installed on second floor windows; and playground equipment should have at least a 9 to 12 inch layer of wood chips, mulch or other fall absorbing material on the ground.

Continue reading "Slips and Falls a Leading Cause of Injury for Older Adults in Charlotte" »

June 15, 2011

Senior Drivers can Raise Risk of Car Accidents in Greensboro

As drivers get older, their ability to think, see and make decisions in stressful traffic conditions weakens.

Elders often find themselves at high risk of a car accident in Greensboro, Winston-Salem or elsewhere in the state because they can't react to adverse driving situations as quickly as they used to. Instead, they get stressed out, panic and often cause an accident.

Charlotte personal injury attorneys understand the trials and tribulations of getting older but know sometimes giving up the car keys is the only solution to keeping an older driver safe.

Far too many cases result in tragedy because an older driver doesn't see an oncoming vehicle or fails to see a road sign, causing them to crash with another vehicle.

News & Record recently reported about a Sunday crash that killed one elderly driver and seriously injured another on their way home from church. A fire truck was headed to put out a grass fire when it collided with the elderly driver's car. The 80-year-old driver died at the scene, while his wife was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. It is the first fatal accident in Kernersville involving an emergency vehicle in more than 25 years.

In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 15 percent of all traffic fatalities and 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities were senior citizens 65 and older. Statistics show that most senior citizens are involved in car accidents during the day (80 percent) on weekdays (72 percent). They involve another vehicle 69 percent of the time. North Carolina reported 208 fatalities involving an elderly driver in 2008, which is about 11 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year.

Almost half of the senior citizen traffic fatalities in 2008 involved drivers over the age of 75.

US News offers the following questions to help determine when it is time to stop driving:

-Are routinely traveled routes suddenly becoming unfamiliar?

-Are more and more scratches and dents becoming noticeable on the car driven by a senior citizen?

-Is the driver being cited for traffic violations more frequently?

-Has the driver been involved in a car accident or has the frequency of near-accidents increased?

-Has a doctor prescribed medications that could affect driving ability or made recommendations that the driver limits driving to certain parts of the day?

-Does the senior driver get confused by road signs or lines on the road?

-Does the driver drive at a slow speed in the fast lane or too fast in the lane meant for slower drivers?

Knowing how to detect faulty driving behaviors is a key factor in keeping other motorists safe on our roadways.

Continue reading "Senior Drivers can Raise Risk of Car Accidents in Greensboro" »

June 13, 2011

Blind Spots Increase the Risk of Asheville Trucking Accidents

Staying out of a truck's blind spot is important to reduce the number of fatal teen car accidents in North Carolina or elsewhere in the country. Asheville personal injury lawyers hope that teens from our state follow the example being set by teens from our nation's capital by pledging to drive safely this summer.

Young drivers should make an effort to stay clear of a truck's blind spots, give trucks plenty of space and sign a "No Texting Promise."

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, National Organization for Youth Safety and Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recently teamed up to speak to teens about driver safety around trucks.

"Do not expect that having a driver's license is a right that comes without responsibility or risk," said Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). "Be accountable for your actions, spread the word to your friends and parents, and help create a culture of safety. Most importantly, take the driving task seriously. You never know the impact you can have that ultimately could save your life or someone else's."

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report deaths each year indicates that the 16-24 age group is most at risk of dying in a fatal crash each year. The most recent data (from 2005-2009) reported almost 4,000 young drivers were killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks in this age group. We are in the midst of the most fatal days of the year for teen drivers. There are roughly twice as many teen deaths daily in May, June, July and August as there are during the rest of the calendar year. These four months alone average almost 16 deaths per day compared with the average 8.8 deaths per day throughout the rest of the year.

The CVSA offers a Teens & Trucks Student Workbook that lays out the dangers of driving around large trucks.

Special attention should be given to safety issues such as:

-The different types of vehicles found on roadways, from passenger cars to cab-over tractor trailers.

-Be advised of the North Carolina Move Over Law, which requires all vehicles, including large trucks, to move to the side of road when an emergency vehicle or flashing lights at a construction site is present. Large trucks often create a hazard for vehicles merging back into traffic, so motorists should use extra caution.

-The ability to stop and the amount of distance it takes to do so relies on a driver's perception, reaction and braking. Other factors that contribute to how quickly a driver can stop are the driving surface, speed, weight of the vehicle, and the condition of the tires.

-Trucks making a turn have a wide turning radius, meaning they go off the short course that most cars use to turn. Drivers should allow plenty of space for trucks making turns at intersections to account for the extra room they need.

-Following a truck too closely is dangerous due to the limited visibility that drivers have ahead of them. Tailgating a large truck forces a driver to be defenseless and rely on the brake lights only. You should leave plenty of following distance between your vehicle and the truck.

-Large trucks have more blind spots than passenger vehicles because of their size and length. Motorists need to stay clear of a truck's "No Zones."

Continue reading "Blind Spots Increase the Risk of Asheville Trucking Accidents" »

June 10, 2011

Hot Temperatures, Deflated Tires Increase the Risk of Car Accidents in Hickory, Charlotte

The U.S. Department of Transportation is advising summer travelers to check their tires before heading out for long trips in warm temperatures to avoid a car accident in Hickory, Statesville and throughout North Carolina.

Charlotte car accident attorneys know that hot temperatures can cause all sorts of dangers, so using a little extra caution this summer is a good idea when temperatures reach upward of 90.

Summer travel season has officially kicked off with the passing of Memorial Day. The advisory from the Department of Transportation overlaps with National Tire Safety Week, June 5-11.

"As the weather warms up, it's especially important for drivers to ensure their tires are properly inflated," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. "For your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation."

Tire-related crashes are more prominent than you might think. From 2005 to 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 116,000 injured motorists and almost 3,400 deaths in car accidents involving a problem with the tires.

Older tires are more susceptible to heat stress and can cause a severe accident if blown while driving on major highways. Keep the tires regulated with proper inflation and check the treads to see how worn your tires are. About 600 deaths and 33,000 injuries occur each year in the U.S. due to improper inflation of tires.

Not only is checking tire pressure important for highway safety, but it also can save money in your wallet. Tires that are properly inflated can get better gas mileage. Tires that are under-inflated can decrease gas mileage by .3 percent for every one pound per square inch (PSI) drop in pressure for all four tires, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov . It is estimated that motorists in the U.S. waste 1.2 billion gallons of fuel each year due to improper inflation of tires.

A recent 2011 Tire Care Awareness Survey performed by Rubber Manufacturers Association and released by betiresmart.org indicated the following public responses about tire care:

-15 percent of motorists know how to properly check tire pressure.

-One in seven motorists check tire pressure monthly, compared to six out of 10 who wash their cars monthly.

-More than half of drivers don't know how to tell if their tires are bald.

-62 percent of motorists don't know where to find the correct inflation pressure on their vehicle.

-Only 9 percent of females and 20 percent of males check their tire pressure properly.

The four key elements of tire care are pressure, alignment, rotation and tread. Checking the pressure is important because under-inflation is the biggest reason for wear and tear on tires. A vehicle that is not aligned properly in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid wear on treads. Rotating tires on your vehicle routinely can help more evenly spread wear on your tires. Treads help tires grip the road to reduce the risk of an accident,

"While it's true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long vacation trips," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland warned. "Under-inflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster."

For more information about tire safety, visit safercar.gov.

Continue reading "Hot Temperatures, Deflated Tires Increase the Risk of Car Accidents in Hickory, Charlotte" »

June 9, 2011

Riding on Public Roadways Presents a High Risk for North Carolina ATV Accidents

An ATV rider remains in critical condition after flipping a borrowed four-wheeler, reports the Herald Online.

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers of Charlotte and elsewhere know that ATVs often roll over in crashes, causing serious or fatal injuries.

A 23-year-old Iron Station man was airlifted to a Charlotte hospital after losing control of a friends ATV. Witnesses report the victim was traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 321 when the crash occurred. When the ATV flipped over, it threw the rider more than 100 feet. The owner of the ATV attempted to stop the rider from going onto the roadway, knowing the dangers of riding an ATV on public highways. Authorities believe the knobby tires meant for off-road use were a contributing factor in the crash.

Nationwide, there were 376 deaths and more than 131,000 injuries from ATV crashes in 2009. The 2009 Annual Report of ATV-related Deaths and Injuries report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) indicates that 10,281 people died in ATV-related accidents from 1982 to 2009. In this report, North Carolina had 366 ATV-related deaths from 1982 to 2009, which ranked ninth among all states. Though final numbers for years 2007 through 2009 are still being calculated, North Carolina had an estimated 64 deaths during those years and South Carolina reported 29 deaths. Nationally, more than 25 percent of those dying in ATV accidents are children under 16; 11 percent are younger than 12.

We posted previously on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog that adult riders on private property will no longer have to wear helmet or eye protection, according to a new North Carolina law that goes into effect Oct. 1.

ATV safety tips:

-Before riding an ATV, take a rider training/safety course. ATV manufacturers sometimes offer free hands-on training to new owners.

-Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.

-Don't ride alone. Also let someone know where you are riding and when you will be back.

-Always carry a first-aid kit and a charged cell phone on your ATV.

-Never ride an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

-Don't ride on paved surfaces - ATVs are meant for off-road use.

-Read and follow all directions and safety material that come with your ATV.

-Wear the right safety gear and appropriate clothing and shoes while riding.

-Travel at the right speed for the terrain you are on.

-Never startle wildlife - they could run into you or in the path of other riders.

-Stay alert for hazards like downed branches or fences, and stay on trails as much as possible.

-Never ride on private property without the owner's consent.

-Be considerate by keeping your ATV quiet to avoid upsetting wildlife and landowners.

Continue reading "Riding on Public Roadways Presents a High Risk for North Carolina ATV Accidents" »

June 8, 2011

100 Deadliest Days for Teen Car Accidents in North Carolina

Greensboro car accident attorneys want to alert teen drivers in North Carolina that you are now in the midst of the 100 deadliest days of the year.

We have posted frequently the last few months on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that spring is the most dangerous time of the year for young drivers who attend prom and graduation. Now that summer has officially begun, the risks of a teen car accident in Asheville, Statesville or Gastonia are just as great given the freedom that teens have combined with the frequency of time they spend on the roadways during the summer months.

WFMY News reports that the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest for young drivers. Lack of respect for other drivers, driver inexperience, failure to wear seat belts and alcohol consumption are often causes for deadly car accidents involving teen drivers. Children learn by example, so parents should always practice safe driving behavior as well.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has deemed May through September the 100 deadliest driving days for young drivers because of recent statistics for accidents involving drivers 15 to 19 years old. In 2009, about 3,000 teens were killed on U.S. roadways, while another 350,000 were taken to the emergency room for medical treatment after a car accident. Nine out of the 10 deadliest days for teen crashes occurred from May to August.

Parents need to get involved by setting rules, and more importantly, by enforcing them. Trusting your teens and allowing them freedom is important but should be done in small doses as they gain driving experience. Insist that they never drink and drive or get in a car with an intoxicated driver. Pointers on how to talk to your kids about the dangers of drinking and driving can be obtained at Power of Parents, It's Your Influence. Parents should limit the number of hours their teen drives at night, especially when other teen passengers are riding with them. You can also establish rules regarding seat belt use and banning cell phone use while behind the wheel. Make it clear to your teen what the rules are and what the consequences will be if driving rules are broken.

Education.com offers these additional tips to parents on how to protect your teen during the 100 deadliest days of driving:

-Make sure your teen knows that driving is a privilege and not a right.

-Do extended research when purchasing a safe car for your teen to drive.

-Start small and build in driving experience for your teen. Experts recommend 100 hours of supervised driving for young drivers in different road and weather conditions.

-Be a good example to your teen. Never drive under the influence, use a cell phone while driving or display aggressive behavior behind the wheel.

Continue reading "100 Deadliest Days for Teen Car Accidents in North Carolina" »

June 6, 2011

Amusement Park Inspectors Liable for Faulty Inspections in North and South Carolina

The Washington Post reports that a South Carolina inspector had issued only one citation in more than three years of inspecting amusement park rides. This inspector was fired for falsifying a report that led to the death of a 6-year-old boy on a children's train ride.

Our personal injury lawyers in Spartanburg and elsewhere are appalled at this inspector's blatant disregard for safety.

State records show that this inspector had issued only one violation in more than three years of inspecting amusement park rides. He had been employed by South Carolina's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for 20 years, and from 2008 to 2011, he performed well over 140 inspections. In 2010, he issued no violations and denied no permits for 36 rides he inspected. Seven other inspectors issued 54 violations and denied 10 permits for 212 inspections. In 2011, he inspected 16 rides and again issued no violations while 10 other inspectors issued 38 violations during 150 ride inspections. The inspector has refused to speak publicly and state officials are making changes to the licensing department.

"We are taking precautions to make sure that they realize this is not just a check of a box. This is a life," Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday. "It was a senseless situation that shouldn't have happened. But it is also a reminder of what we can do to fix it to make sure that it never happens again."

We had previously posted to our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about this accident back in April.

State officials fired the inspector when they learned he had falsified his inspection report of the miniature train ride at Spartanburg's Cleveland Park. On the day of the inspection, the train's battery was dead, so the ride could not be tested. The inspector OK'd the ride anyway. The train derailed on opening day of the park, injuring 28 people and killing a 6-year-old boy.

County officials are blaming the crash on excessive speed. Witnesses stated they saw the train accelerate suddenly just prior to the crash. And in the ambulance ride to the hospital, the train's operator made the comment that he was going too fast. County prosecutors will review the case and decide if anyone will be criminally charged.

ABC news reported that 7,000 people go to the hospital every year due to injuries at carnivals. They feel the problem is a lack of federal oversight on how carnivals are set up and maintained. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) only has jurisdiction over rides transported from location to location (mobile amusement rides).

CPSC Inspection criteria includes:

North Carolina:
-Semi-annual inspection of stationary rides.
-Unannounced inspection.
-All mobile rides inspected at each set-up.
-Follow-up inspection to ensure compliance.
-Ski lifts, rope tows, water slides and go-carts (28 mph limit) are also regulated and inspected.

South Carolina:
-Yearly and unannounced inspections.
-Operators are also inspected.
-$500,000 liability insurance, manuals, daily check sheets and maintenance records are required.

Continue reading "Amusement Park Inspectors Liable for Faulty Inspections in North and South Carolina" »

June 5, 2011

Pool drain cover recall leaves Greensboro swimmers at high risk of entrapment or drowning in pool accidents

Pentair Water Pool and Spa in Sanford, N.C., is one of many pool drain cover manufacturers that has been investigated for selling faulty drain covers to consumers, according to an article in USA Today. Swimming pool accidents in Greensboro, Hickory and elsewhere in the state are more common this time of year, so adults, babysitters and lifeguards at public pools must keep a watchful eye on small children in order to avoid an entrapment or drowning incident in the pool.

We first documented the potential pool drain cover recall in April on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, when we reported that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) subpoenaed documents from three laboratories that had tested pool and spa drain covers.

The investigation found that the testing process that determines the flow rating of drain covers was done improperly, thereby certifying certain drain covers to comply with standards that weren't matched to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The CPSC recently announced a recall of about 1 million pool drain covers, which led to the closing of public pools with faulty drain covers.

"I know this is a very difficult message for many communities to hear so close to Memorial Day weekend, but we cannot risk a child becoming entrapped in a recalled drain cover," said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairwoman.

The P&SS Act went into effect in 2008 to prevent pool accidents, especially with small children, in which the drain's suction sucks them into the drain and traps them under water. Faulty drain covers can lead to serious and sometimes fatal injuries if a child can't break loose of the drain's suction.

Other manufacturers besides Pentair Water Pool and Spa who have recalled drain covers include: A&A Manufacturing of Phoenix; AquaStar Pool Products of San Diego; Color Match Pool Fittings of Surprise, AZ; Custom Molded Products of GA; Hayward Pool Products of NJ; Rising Dragon USA of TN; and Waterway Plastics of CA.

Pool Safely reports there have already been 55 drownings and another 63 near-drownings leading into Memorial Day weekend across the U.S. in 2011. As part of a national crusade, the CPSC is kicking off the second year of the Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives campaign to reduce entrapment or submersion incidents in public or private pools.

If you are a pool owner and have questions about your drain cover, call the pool industry's drain cover recall hotline at 1-866-478-3521 to get the answers you need. You can also visit The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals for detailed information about pool and spa drain cover recalls.

Continue reading "Pool drain cover recall leaves Greensboro swimmers at high risk of entrapment or drowning in pool accidents" »

June 3, 2011

Pool Safely campaign aimed at reducing drowning deaths in Winston-Salem, elsewhere in country

We posted previously on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog that swimming pool drain defects and faulty drain covers can lead to a high risk of drowning accidents in North Carolina. Our Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers want to remind pool owners that drain covers are not the only risk involved in swimming pools, so use caution when you are supervising small children as we head into the heart of swimming season.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced there have been 118 pool and spa incidents reported in the first five months of 2011 in 29 different states and regions. Additional statistics provided by CPSC show that:

-96 percent of victims who are submersed in pools will die and 72 percent of fatalities occur the same day as the incident.

-4 percent of near-drowning victims survive beyond a week. In most cases, they will have extensive injuries that require medical care.

-From 2006 to 2008, approximately 383 pool and spa-related drowning incidents occurred with children under the age of 15.

-76 percent of drowning fatalities were children younger than age 5 from 2006 to 2008.

-About 5,100 emergency room visits occurred from 2008 to 2010 involving pool-related accidents for children 14 and under; 79 percent of injuries involved children under 5.

-Children ages 4 and younger accounted for 84 percent of fatalities (2006-2008) and 61 percent of injuries (2008-2010) taking place at residential locations.

"CPSC's new data shows that the number of drownings and near-drownings involving children younger than 5 are still a serious public health issue," said Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum. "CPSC is committed to reducing the number of drowning and near-drowning incidents in swimming pools and spas in the country. The Pool Safely campaign and its partners encourage parents and children to take as many water safety steps as possible to help save a life."

The Pool Safely campaign is a national event to create awareness and practice safe behaviors in order to reduce the number of submersion and entrapment accidents in pools, which often lead to drowning.

Advocating for the campaign, Safe Kids North Carolina offers the following simple steps to save lives:

-Adults should actively supervise children near water at all times.

-Barriers that include self-closing, self-latching gates should be properly installed around the perimeter of private pools.

-Keep a close proximity to children swimming in a pool. Stay alert for inappropriate behavior.

-Adults, including babysitters, should know how to swim and perform CPR when supervising children playing or swimming in water areas.

-Alarms, barriers and sensors should be installed around pools to make them a safer environment for small children.

Continue reading "Pool Safely campaign aimed at reducing drowning deaths in Winston-Salem, elsewhere in country" »

June 1, 2011

North Carolina boating accidents common on Lake Norman, elsewhere

Lake Norman is growing vastly more popular with each passing day, which can only mean the risk of a boating accident in North Carolina is also increasing every day. Charlotte accident attorneys want to remind boaters to use caution on overcrowded waterways in order to prevent a collision.

Fox Charlotte reports that North Carolina is ranked in the Top 10 when it comes to boating accidents and fatalities each year. More than 75 million Americans went boating throughout the country in 2010. North Carolina ranks ninth in boating accidents, ninth in boating injuries and seventh in boating fatalities.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission reported more than 368,000 registered boaters in 2009. There were 154 boating accidents and 21 fatalities in our state in 2009. The 21 deaths marked the second highest year since 2005. From 2000 to 2009, the average number of boating accidents in North Carolina each year was 177.

Operating under the influence of alcohol, lack of training and speeding are primary causes of boating accidents. It is estimated that half of all boating accidents are alcohol-related. Boat patrols will be in full force during the summer months to help reduce the number of incidents that occur from alcohol or driving too fast. There are six law enforcement agencies that patrol Lake Norman, including two full-time officers from Iredell County Sheriff's Office.

North Carolina Wildlife Officers have the prerogative to stop a vessel at any time for violations or safety checks as authorized by N.C.G.S. 75A. Patrol officers scan over 5,000 square miles of water bodies in North Carolina in order to preserve the safety of all who participate in watercraft activities.

NCWRC offers the following safety requirements and reminders to boaters this summer:

-Don't drink and drive on the road or on the water. The legal limit for driver intoxication on both the roads and water is .08.

-Boater fatigue can increase the effects of alcohol up to three times in some individuals. The causes of boater fatigue include vibrations, wind, heat, motor noise, waves and sun glare.

-Enroll and pass a boater's safety course in order to obtain a certification card. The WRC provides the course for free. Boating safety education requirements must be met by anyone younger than 26 driving a 10-horsepower or greater motor boat on a public waterway.

-U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests must be worn by children 12 and under when riding on a moving vessel. Type I, II, or III personal flotation devices are required by both state and federal law to be on board a recreational vessel.

-Provide a Float Plan to a reliable person before pushing away from shore.

-Check your vessel and do routine maintenance checks before each boat excursion.

To enroll or check availability for boating safety education courses, click to view or call 1-919-707-0031.

Continue reading "North Carolina boating accidents common on Lake Norman, elsewhere" »