January 22, 2013

Three-Year-Old Killed in Carolina Traffic Accident

A 3-year-old girl was killed in a car accident; her father was driving. According to WSPA, charges against the father are pending.
The driver was heading east on Biltmore Avenue when he was involved in an accident at the intersection of Hilliard and Grove Street. Police officers are saying that dad's vehicle was speeding at the time of accident. The vehicle slammed into an embankment, went flying into the air and landed in the parking lot of the City of Asheville's Public Works. Upon landing, the vehicle slammed into two parked cars and two of the building's employees. Dad and his daughter were taken to Mission Hospital, where the young passenger was later pronounced dead.

"It was raining, but I would say the speed was the main factor," said Highway Patrol Trooper Gene Williamson. "He (Hutchison) was going way too fast for the curve."

Our Asheville injury lawyers understand that speeding is extremely dangerous and is one of the top factors in fatal accidents across the nation. When you pair this factor with inclement weather, you've got a recipe for disaster. It's important for drivers to understand their capabilities in these two scenarios. It's important for drivers to slow it down and to alter their driving habits in poor weather.

It's also important to make sure that your young passengers are properly buckled in regardless of the weather and your rate of speed. Children are some of our most vulnerable travelers and rely on parents, guardians and other adults to make sure that they're safe in the car.

As a matter of fact, car accidents continue to be the number one cause of death for Americans between the ages of 3 and 14. It's a proven fact that child car seats can help to reduce the risks of child death in the event of an accident by more than 70 percent. Unfortunately, about three fourths of all children who sit in a car seat are sitting in one that has not been installed properly.

According to the Parents Central, parents should choose a car seat that fits their child's needs. You want to make sure you choose the right one and that it's used every time. Children under the age of 1 should be kept in a rear-facing car seat. When a child outgrows this seat, they should be moved to a forward-facing car seat. Don't advance them based on age, but advance them based on their height and weight. Check manufacturer's manual for more information on a seat's recommendations.

When a child outgrows their forward-facing seat, you may advance them to a booster seat. It's still important to keep them seated in the back seat during this stage. Only when they've grown big enough to fit an adult seat should they be moved to an adult seat belt.

It's all about timing. Make sure your child fits the safety harness they're using and make sure you're using it!

Continue reading "Three-Year-Old Killed in Carolina Traffic Accident" »

January 20, 2013

Pedestrian Hit and Dragged for Miles in Nighttime Accident

Police in Asheville are now on the hunt for a fourth vehicle that is believed to have been involved in a recent fatal accident. In this accident, a pedestrian was dragged for approximately five miles after being hit by a number of vehicles, according to the Citizen-Times.
Officers are looking into an accident in which the victim is believed to have been hit by at least 3 cars and then dragged from East Asheville through the outskirts of downtown. The victim's last known address was a homeless shelter on North Ann Street at around 7:00 p.m.

Our Asheville pedestrian accident lawyers understand that the driver of the first vehicle to hit the pedestrian pulled over immediately. That driver reports that two other vehicles struck the man in the mean time. The pedestrian was lodged underneath the third vehicle and was dragged for miles.

"She thought she had a flat tire," said Traffic Safety Unit Officer Ann Fowler. "She did not know that she hit a person in the roadway."

Police officers, and a forensics unit were posted at the accident scene for nearly 4 hours. Weather is believed to be a factor in this accident; it was raining and visibility was low.

According to a local report, the speed limit in the area where the accident happened in 45 miles per hour and the area is not well lit.

"When you drive you are more likely to see something if you are thinking about it," said Dr. Ron Van Houten, PhD, a professor of psychology at WMU. "Whenever and wherever you drive, particularly at night, think about pedestrians."

As a matter of fact, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that about a quarter of all fatal pedestrian accidents occur before 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The second more frequent time for these kinds of accidents is between 9:00 pm. and midnight. That means that about half of all fatal pedestrian accidents occur during those 6 night hours.

The time period least likely to see fatal pedestrian accidents is from 3:00 a.m. to 6: a.m. Although it has the lowest number of pedestrian fatalities, it has the highest pedestrian probability of one getting killed in a police-reported accident.

According to recent statistics, about 2 pedestrians are killed for every 10 pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrians, you're urged to do all that you can to make yourself visible if you must walk during the evening hours. Wear bright colors, reflectors and make sure you have a flashlight. Travel as far from vehicular traffic as possible.

It's important for drivers to be extra cautious when driving at night. Pedestrians and bicyclists can easily been overlooked in these dark, low-visibility conditions. Make sure you're aware of who's traveling around you and work to keep everyone safe. Slow it down and keep your attention up. Alert driving habits truly has the power to save lives!

Continue reading "Pedestrian Hit and Dragged for Miles in Nighttime Accident" »

January 18, 2013

Saving Pedestrians Could Mean Louder Hybrid Vehicles

Just like a deer in headlights.

That's how some pedestrians and bicyclists feel when they encounter new electric and hybrid vehicles. Many of us listen for approaching vehicles. The roar of their engine serves as a warning sign. But when we can't hear these vehicles coming, the risks for accidents increase exponentially.

That's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the bipartisan Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 is proposing to get these new, quieter vehicles to meet some sort of minimum sound standard.

"This proposal will help keep everyone using our nation's streets and roadways safe, whether they are motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians, and especially the blind and visually impaired," said Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Our Asheville injury attorneys know that hybrid vehicles continue to grow in popularity. With the new wave of quiet and power-efficient makes, these kinds of vehicles are operating much more quietly and are alarmingly difficult for pedestrians and bicyclists to detect.

Under the new proposal, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, vehicles would not be allowed to be so quiet. Officials want them to be louder so that those around can detect the location, presence and direction of these vehicles -- even when traveling at slower speeds.

David Strickland with the NHTSA says that the proposal would allow carmakers to play with different sounds to help to ensure that the vehicles are heard. This is also an important move for those who are visually impaired and traveling on foot near vehicular traffic.

Officials say that the sounds need to be able to be detected under a number of street noises and noise. This is most important when a vehicle is traveling under 20 mph. It is said that when vehicles travel faster, they make enough noise to alert pedestrians and bicyclists of their approach. Each auto manufacturer would have a number of choices of sounds that it could use, there are virtually no limits to that, but the tones and pitches of sounds chosen must meet a list of requirements. It would also be required to make sure that all vehicles that are alike, under the same model -- would need to make the same kinds of noises.

Regardless of how loud a car may or may not be, pedestrians and bicyclists should always make sure they're aware of their surroundings at all times. While we rely heavily on our hearing while traveling, it's important that we physically look and see what's around us. Try to stay one step ahead of the traffic around you and help to ensure safe travels.

Continue reading "Saving Pedestrians Could Mean Louder Hybrid Vehicles" »

January 14, 2013

Off-Duty Bicycle Officer Struck by Passing Pickup

In a recent bicycle accident in McCormick County, the victim was identified as a Columbia County Sheriff's bicycle deputy. He wasn't riding for work when the accident happened -- he was riding his personal bicycle, according to The August Chronicle.

The accident happened on Furys Ferry Road just after 3:00 p.m. He was hit from the back by a Ford pickup trick. According to an eye witness, there had been a number of vehicles that passed the cyclist, but the female driver of the truck involved reportedly slammed right into him. He was airlifted to the hospital and treated for injuries.
The 60-year-old bicyclist was listed in fair condition after days in the Medical College of Georgia Hospital. He has been with the Sheriff's Office for more than 15 years and is assigned to work the Special Operations Division Bike Patrol.

Our Rock Hill bicycle accident attorneys understand that many residents and visitors to the area venture out on bicycles. Our area has been gifted with such beautiful scenery and plenty of riding paths. Unfortunately, traffic is always a danger. It's important that bicyclists take all of the proper safety precautions to help to reduce their risks of being injured by a passing vehicle. Safety should be the number one priority of a two-wheeled traveler.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 600 bicyclists killed on U.S. roadways in 2010. Another 50,000 were injured during the year, too! These kinds of accidents don't seem to be clearing up either, as there was an increase in the number of these accidents from 2009 to 2010 and again from 2010 to 2011 -- and once again from 2011 to 2012.

In the state of South Carolina, there were close to 15 cyclists who were killed in traffic accidents in 2010. During this same time, there were another 25 who were killed in North Carolina. Hundreds more were injured. And these are only the accidents that were reported.

"I have personal friends in the community who have gotten in crashes who don't even call the cops," said the Director of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.

Bicyclists are asked to be cautious when riding out there. Always ride with a headlight so you can help to ensure that motorists see you. This is also why you should ride wearing bright, reflective materials. Always bike with the flow of traffic. You never want to ride facing oncoming traffic. You also want to ride your bike when it's light outside. Avoid riding at night as this is when drivers are less likely to see you. You want to make your moves along our roadways as predictable as possible. You can't rely on the same driving habits of others to keep you safe. Ride defensively and stay aware of your surroundings. Remain one step ahead of the traffic around you to help to ensure a safe ride.

Continue reading "Off-Duty Bicycle Officer Struck by Passing Pickup" »

January 12, 2013

National Radon Action Month -- Protecting Your Family

It's January and that means it's National Radon Action Month. It's time for you to learn how to test, it could even save a life.
But what is radon? Radon in a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. You can't see it, taste it or smell it, but it can be a serious problem in your home! This harmful material is the cause of thousands of deaths each and every year. As a matter of fact, it's the second leading cause of lung cancer in the Unites States, according to the Surgeon General.

Our Rock Hill personal injury attorneys understand that radon comes from the breakdown of uranium in water, rock and soil and can get into the air that you breathe. It can be found is all sorts of buildings, like schools, community centers and residential homes. Home is where exposure is most likely -- and is also where you spend most of your time.

Testing is the only way that you and your family are going to know if you're at any risks. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, all homes that are below the third floor should be tested! Testing in our area's schools is also beneficial.

Don't worry. Testing isn't expensive and it's not difficult. It only takes a few minutes, too! Some of the most common short-term testing methods stay in your home for 90 days. They can be either "charcoal liquid scintillation," "continuous monitors," "electret ion chamber," "alpha track," and "charcoal canister" detectors. Although these short-term tests can be effective, you're still urged to use long-term testing methods as the levels of radon can change over time.

Long-term tests stay in your home or tested area for more than 90 days. These tests can include "electret" and "alpha" detectors.

Okay. So you've detected the radon -- can you fix the problem?

Yes! Luckily, these removal processes are not too costly either. Some of these methods can even rid your home of radon by up to 99 percent!

How Radon Gets Into Your Home:

-Through the water supply.

-In through cavities inside the walls.

-Through gaps around service pipes.

-Through gaps in floors that are suspended.

-Leaks in through cracks in your walls.

-Through construction joints.

-In through cracks that can be found in solid floors.

Think it won't happen to your home? As a matter of fact, radon is expected to be a factor in 1 out of every 15 homes here in the U.S. Elevated levels have been found in every state in the country. For more information about radon in your area, you're urged to contact our state radon office.

Test your home today and talk with your loved ones about the risks associated. One of the best ways to fight these dangers is to raise awareness. Talk with your child's school -- see if they're doing all of the proper tests to protect the children. Testing can save lives!

Continue reading "National Radon Action Month -- Protecting Your Family" »

January 10, 2013

North Carolina Accidents Risks in Winter Weather

The winter might be one of the most beautiful times here in the Carolinas, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are a few things that we can do to help keep everyone safe throughout this chilly season.
Our Asheville personal injury attorneys understand that home fires are more common during the winter months than during any other season out of the year. Hazards can come from space heaters, candles and fireplaces. In 2010, there were close to 200,000 residential building fires in the U.S. just from cooking, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Because of heating, there were another 50,000 residential building fires during the same year. Many of these accidents could have been prevented.

Residents should carefully bundle up during this time, too. From 1999 to jut 2004, there were close to 650 people who were killed by hypothermia. Many of these accidents occurred during the winter season. Even weather in the 50s and 60s can become dangerous, particularly with wind and longer exposure times. Make sure that you're aware of the symptoms of these conditions and you know how to treat them. This is one of the best things you can do to help keep you, your family and your friends safe.

Many of our youngest are at the highest risks for cold-related injuries, especially while playing outdoor sports. In 2009, there were close to 20,000 Americans who wound up in an emergency room because of injuries sustained while playing sports in the winter weather. The most common of these sports include snowmobiling, snowboarding, sledding and skiing. Keep an eye on those around you playing these chilly sports. Encourage frequent breaks. Stay hydrated. And always remember you don't want to stay outside in the cold for too long!

One danger that you might not ever think about is the risk associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. As a matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the most common month for these incidents is the month of January, followed by the month of December. Residents are urged to use carbon monoxide detectors and to ensure they're working. As of now, less than a third of all Americans have these detectors in their home.

One of these winter threats that affect the most people is driving through winter conditions. Fatal car accidents were close to 15 percent more likely to happen on the first day of snow of the season than on any day after. Unfortunately, it takes too long for drivers to adjust to these driving conditions. We're asking drivers to slow it down and to pay attention to the road. Make sure your tires are in good condition and that you're driving for the conditions at hand. It only takes a second of inattention to cause a fatal accident. Make sure your car is ready for the snow and make sure that you're driving cautiously.

Continue reading "North Carolina Accidents Risks in Winter Weather" »

January 8, 2013

Propane Gas Grills Put You at Risk for Burn Injuries

On December 11, 2012, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm suffered first and second degree burns in an accident with a propane grill. The release of the pictures of the anchorwoman's burn injuries on Yahoo Sports draws attention to the dangers of propane grill accidents. 1383269_juicy_steaks_just_picked_up_from_a_barbecue_.jpg

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys were glad to see that Storm has recovered after her propane grill accident and was back to hosting the Rose Parade on New Year's. We urge everyone using a propane grill to look upon Storm's accident as an important reminder of the dangers that a propane grill can present.

The Risks of Using a Propane Grill
Propane grills are a popular backyard item that many homeowners have for barbequing or cooking a quick meal. Unfortunately, propane grills are not harmless and they aren't risk free. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 6,900 house fires were caused by propane grills between 2005 and 2009.

Because propane grills require a fuel source -- which normally takes the form of refillable liquid propane containers attached to the grill-- a lot can go wrong. If there is a defect in the propane fuel container or in the grill itself, a gas leak can occur, pressure can build, gas could ignite and a devastating accident could happen.

Hannah Storm was the victim of just such an accident with her propane grill. The ESPN anchor was cooking dinner on her grill when she noticed that it had gone off. She turned off the grill and re-lit the gas, causing an explosion to occur. Flames roared into her face, burning off her eyebrows, her eyelashes and half of her hair. She also suffered first-degree burns on her face and on her neck and second degree burns on her chest as she tore off her burning shirt. The explosion from the grill accident was so loud and forceful that the doors were blown off the grill and her neighbor reported that it sounded like a tree had fallen through the house roof.

Avoiding Propane Grill Accidents
Although propane grills are inherently dangerous due to the risks associated with propane, they can be used safely when appropriate precautions are taken (and when do defects are present). These precautions need to be taken not just by homeowners and individuals using grills but also by grill manufacturers and by those who manufacture, sell or refill propane tanks. In fact, it is the manufacturers and distributors who are in the best position to avoid propane grill accidents by making sure that they do not release a dangerous or defective product to unsuspecting consumers.

Consumers can do their part in staying safe by following some tips provided by the National Propane Gas Association, which include making sure to use the grill outside in a well-ventilated space; following the instructions provided by the manufacturer and always having the manuals accessible; and storing all gas cylinders outside and upright. However, these steps only go so far and can't protect users if there is a defect or problem with the grill or propane tank. As such, manufacturers and distributors are the ones who must ultimately take responsibility in ensuring the safety of propane grills for home use.

Continue reading "Propane Gas Grills Put You at Risk for Burn Injuries" »

January 7, 2013

Excessive Speed Leads to Three Deaths Near Asheville

On New Years Day this year, a car with three teens was traveling on Brevard Road in southern Buncombe County, North Carolina. According to reports, the car with the teen driver was going much faster than the 45 miles per hour permitted on the road, and much too fast for the wet conditions on the road. Unfortunately, the speeding teen lost control of the vehicle as they were going around a sharp curve and they collided with a tractor-trailer. 834002_nospeed.jpg

This devastating accident shows the incredible dangers of driving too fast, especially on slippery pavement. Our Asheville injury attorneys urge every driver in the state to remember this tragic accident and to make a decision never to drive at an unsafe speed -- particularly when weather conditions are already poor.

Speeding Leads to a Devastating Crash
According to the Asheville Citizen Times, the three teenagers involved in the New Years Day accident on Brevard Road were going much too quickly. They entered a sweeping rightward curve and their vehicle went out of control, crossing over the center line. On the other side of the road was a tanker truck driving northbound and hauling milk. The tanker truck was driven by a 53-year-old Mills River man who was hurt in the accident but whose injuries were not life threatening.

The three teenagers died at the scene of the crash. Although it was raining, early reports on the cause of the crash provided by Highway Patrol troopers indicated that the main cause of the wreck was not the bad weather but the excessive speed around the curve. While there are no indications that there was alcohol involved in the accident, the teens were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The absence of a safety belt put them at significantly greater risk.

Speeding is Always a Risk, But Especially for Teen Drivers
The accident shows just how dangerous speeding can be, especially in less-than-optimal weather conditions. Drivers who prioritize staying safe and avoiding a crash should always drive not only under the speed limit but also at a speed that is safe given their location on the road and given the state of the road. This means that when drivers are going around a curve, especially a sharp curve, they should slow their speed. Drivers should also slow their speed when it is necessary to go more slowly in order to be safe on slick pavement or in times of low visibility.

Unfortunately, teen drivers often fail to drive at a safe speed or fail to recognize the dangers involved in speeding. Teen drivers are less capable of driving safely when they are going too fast since they have limited driving experience. The fact that most teens don't know how to respond to dangerous driving conditions coupled with the fact that teens are likely to make riskier choices behind the wheel, helps explain why the number one cause of death for young people is auto accidents.

While this accident is a terrible tragedy that has shattered three young lives and forever changed the lives of the family members left behind, it is also an important reminder that it is never ever safe to drive too fast and that the risks of speeding just aren't worth the nominal gains.

Continue reading "Excessive Speed Leads to Three Deaths Near Asheville" »

January 4, 2013

Toyota Camry is a Failure in New Crash Tests

The Toyota Camry is the most popular car in America, but unfortunately a new crash test performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that the Camry may not be a very safe car. CNN.com reported on the problems that the Camry faced in a recent article on December 20, 2012.

Our Asheville injury attorneys urge everyone in the market for a new car to consider the results of the crash test when making their purchasing choice. While avoiding auto accidents is always the best way to stay safe, having a car that protects you in case of a crash is essential to avoiding serious injury. 429551_crash_test_dummies.jpg

The Toyota Camry and the New Crash Tests
According to CNN, IIHS recently tested 18 different models of vehicle in a new type of front impact crash test. The cars included the Camry, the Ford Fusion and the Honda Accord. Each vehicle was crashed into a barrier going 40 miles per hour. However, unlike many other front crash tests, only a small portion of the front bumper on the driver's side hit the crash barrier. This meant that the force of the impact was concentrated in a small area.

This is a new type of test that the Camry hasn't yet been subject to. A group of luxury cars were also tested in the same way by IIHS back in August and only eleven of those cars got top marks on the test. The Camry was tested along with other mid-priced cars and performed worse than others in the group. Another of the vehicles that tested very poorly was also a Toyota: the popular and environmentally friendly Toyota Prius. Cars that did the best included the Accord sedan by Honda and the Kizashi, by Suzuki. The Accord is a close competitor of the Camry and often ranks second in sales.

The Problem with the Camry
The Camry performed poorly because the front wheel of the vehicle was pushed back by the impact of the accident. As a result, the passenger compartment footwell was pushed inward.

Even worse, the impact forced the steering wheel very far towards the right. Since the air bag is mounted in the steering wheel, the airbag was also pushed sharply rightwards so it provided little protection for the head of the crash test tummy. Since the side airbags didn't extend far enough forward to make up the difference, the driver was essentially left underprotected in the crash.

The results prompted IIHS's president to indicate that Toyota engineers had a lot of work to do in order to make their car as safe as the similarly-priced models offered by their competitors in the moderate-priced market.

Monitoring Crash Test Results
These new crash test results are important because they show a weakness in the safety features of the Toyota Camry. It is important for drivers to consider all crash test results and safety ratings when making their purchasing decision so they do not put themselves and their families at unnecessary risk in the event of a crash.

Continue reading "Toyota Camry is a Failure in New Crash Tests" »

December 26, 2012

Tips for Safe Travel in the Carolinas Over the Holidays

The holiday season is a festive time for family visits and togetherness. With time off and the desire to see family, many people will travel over the holiday season, driving home to see their families or heading out on ski trips or other vacations.

Over the holidays, many people also go out more to parties and celebrations. With all of these extra drivers on the road, the risk of car accidents increases each year during the holiday season. Compounding the problem is the fact that there may also be bad weather and more drunk drivers on the road, making driving even more dangerous. Finally, there is also the chance that people may try to target holiday drivers to steal from them or commit other crimes.

Our Charlotte injury attorneys want to help you stay safe this holiday season. We urge all drivers to be very careful on the roads and to follow tips provided by law enforcement for avoiding accidents or other harm. 1322954_snowy_road_1.jpg

Safe Driving Tips For the Holidays
Whenever you drive over the holiday season, it is important to keep safety in mind and to make smart choices to minimize your risk of harm. There are two primary concerns over the winter season- the increased risk of auto accidents and the increased risk of becoming a victim of a crime.

The Fayetteville, North Carolina police department has compiled a brief list of holiday safe driving tips that everyone should think about following. These tips are included as part of the Department's general holiday safety tips and are found both on the department's Facebook page as well as in the Fort Bragg Patch. The safe driving tips from the Fayetteville North Carolina police department focus on avoiding becoming the victim of a crime while driving and include the following:

  • Make sure you are driving a vehicle that is in good working condition and that has enough gas in it. This will help you to avoid being caught in a snowstorm or suffering a breakdown during bad weather.

  • Keep the doors and windows of your car locked and keep your car in gear.

  • Stay alert, and driving to a safe location like a police department if you fear you are being followed.

These tips can help you to avoid becoming victimized by someone who wants to steal from you or cause you harm over the holidays. It is also important that you make safe driving choices to avoid the increased risk of a holiday crash. There are a few specific safe driving tips to follow to minimize this risk and the North Carolina state highway patrol has provided a list. These include:

  • Driving within the speed limit, and making sure you leave early if you need to so you can arrive at your destination on time without feeling rushed to arrive.

  • Wearing your seat belt every time you are driving.

  • Taking a break if you start to feel tired, especially when driving long distances. Evidence indicates that drowsy driving may be just as risky as driving while under the influence of alcohol of drugs.

  • Avoiding tailgating. Following other drivers too closely makes it harder for you to stop and increases the chance of a crash.

By avoiding these unsafe driving behaviors, you can reduce the chance of falling victim to a crash. Of course, you cannot control the behavior of others and if someone else is negligent or careless, an accident can happen anyway no matter how careful you are.

Continue reading "Tips for Safe Travel in the Carolinas Over the Holidays" »

December 24, 2012

Booze It & Lose It Campaign Stresses Importance of Sober Driving This Holiday Season

The holiday season is a notoriously dangerous time for drivers for several reasons. One problem is that there are usually more people driving, including kids going home for the holidays or people driving to celebrations or family visits. A bigger problem, however, is that the holiday time is a time when people may go out for drinks and end up driving home at the end of the night. Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous and to help cut the increased risk of DUI accidents over the holiday season, North Carolina has launched the Booze It & Lose it Campaign.

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys urge everyone to remember the lesson of the Booze It & Lose it Campaign. The campaign is designed to remind the public that drunk driving has serious consequences. These consequences can mean an arrest and going through the criminal justice system, but they can also be even more tragic and involve car accident injuries or deaths. 906611_thirsty.jpg

North Carolina Booze It & Lose It Campaign
Booze It & Lose It is a public education campaign that reminds drivers about some of the serious drunk driving dangers as well as the serious drunk driving consequences. The campaign also involves an increase in law enforcement on the roads. Officers will be out in full force up through January 2 to try to spot holiday drunk drivers and to stop them before they hurt themselves or someone else.

According to the Booze It & Lose It brochure prepared by the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program:

  • A drunk driver kills someone ever 45 minutes on average.
  • One out of every three car accident deaths involving a teenager is related to alcohol. Car accidents are the number one cause of death for teens.

These frightening statistics underscore the importance of staying sober. Those who drive drunk and hurt or kill someone can be charged with a crime and can spend time in prison. They may also be sued by the person who was injured or by surviving family members of the person who was injured.

The Booze It & Lose It campaign brochure also explains to drivers some of the risks of being arrested for DWI. Even for a first conviction, the brochure explains, you can have your driver's license revoked for a year, be fined between $200 and $4,000 and spend between one day and 24 months incarcerated.

Staying Safe This Holiday Season
The Booze It & Lose It Campaign and the increased law enforcement presence is one reason to avoid drinking and driving over the holidays. However, ultimately the most important reason not to drink and drive is because you could hurt or kill yourself or someone else- and for this reason, everyone should make a commitment not to ever drive drunk either through the holidays or beyond. All too often, it is innocent victims who are injured by the choices made by drunk drivers and these victims may have to cope with the losses for the rest of their lives.

Continue reading "Booze It & Lose It Campaign Stresses Importance of Sober Driving This Holiday Season" »

December 21, 2012

Toy Safety Tips This Holiday Season

During the holidays, kids often receive many toys from friends or family as gifts. While this should be a joyous occasion, sometimes the influx of new products into the house creates an unintentional risk. The problem is that some of the toys coming into the home might be dangerous and may present a risk to the children who play with them.

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys urge parents to exercise extra vigilance around the holiday and to take the necessary steps to make sure their children aren't put at risk. Learning about toy recalls, making sure that toys are age appropriate and monitoring play with new toys can all be important to help keep kids from becoming the victims of injuries caused by defective toys over the holiday season. 1076955_vibrant_gift.jpg

The Risks of Toy Injuries
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report in 2010 that indicated that toy recalls are down and that toys may no longer be linked to as many fatalities. In fact, their report seemed to present a lot of goods news for parents. It indicated, for example, that there were only 44 toy recalls in 2010. This is significantly less than the 172 toy recalls that occurred in 2008 and also reflects a small reduction from 2009 when there were 50 toys recalled. The number of deaths caused by defective toys has also been reduced- only 15 kids died in 2009 down from 24 fatalities in 2007 and 2008.

The news isn't all good though. CPSC reports indicated that there had been an increase in the number of ER visits related to toys, although many of those visits may have involved injuries caused by play with the toys and not necessarily by toy defects.

The Greensboro local Fox 8 News, however, has information for parents that may be more alarming. Fox News 8 reported that the U.S. Public Interest Research Group had released an annual Trouble in Toyland report and had found potential problems with more than 200 toys. Issues included a Dora toy guitar that exceeded permissible noise limits, for example, while a dragster car had a tiny warning label and small parts, thus creating a choking risk for children.

Protecting Your Child
The undisputed fact remains that there are still dangerous toys on the market and that the holiday season is a time when your child may be at the greatest risk since there tend to be more toys coming into the house during this season than during other times of the year.

Parents who want to protect their children should make sure that they check the CPSC website that posts up-to-date information on toy recalls and recall news. Parents should also be sure to take a close look at toys that they purchase or that are given to their children. In assessing whether a toy is appropriate to play with, parents should consider whether it is safe given the child's age and whether there are any parts or pieces of the toy that could create a risk.

Continue reading "Toy Safety Tips This Holiday Season" »

December 19, 2012

North Carolina Auto Accident Highlights Dangers of Rubbernecking

When an accident occurs on a major highway or widely traveled road, there is always a chance that multiple cars could become involved. In some cases, a multi-vehicle pileup results from the fact that people in other cars can't stop in time to avoid an accident. In other cases, however, the risk of a crash increases because people are "rubbernecking" or stopping to take a look at what happened in the original crash.

One recent accident in Greensboro illustrates the dangers that rubbernecking can create. Our Greensboro injury attorneys believe this tragic accident serves as an important reminder to all drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times instead of having their attention diverted by an accident. 27210_urban_accident.jpg

The Rubbernecking Accident
According to WFMY News 2, police were called to E. Wendover near Cridland Avenue at approximately 9:45 A.M. after reports were made of an accident involving three cars and a tractor trailer. When police responded to the scene, there were seven serious injuries, at least three of which necessitated hospitalization. Fortunately, no one suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the crash.

While police were assisting the victims of this multi-car pileup, another accident occurred on the opposite side of the street. Police indicated that this other accident occurred as a result of drivers looking at the accident instead of focusing on the road.

Because of the accident, the police were forced to shut down all three lanes of traffic in the area. Police indicated that they expected to open one of the closed lanes by 12:30 P.M., around three hours after the initial accident had occurred.

Staying Safe and Avoiding Multi-Car Accidents
When an accident happens, it is the natural instinct of many drivers to glance over and try to see what happened. Unfortunately, this behavior is dangerous. Taking your eyes off the road to focus on another crash increases the risk of:

  • Straying out of your lane

  • Losing control of your vehicle

  • Rear-ending the vehicle in front of you

  • Striking pedestrians, bicycle riders or other cars who may be on the road

Whenever a driver takes his eyes off the road and pays attention to something other than his driving, this creates a risk. When there is an accident and multiple drivers engage in rubbernecking to see what went on, this exacerbates the problem since there are now many drivers who are not paying attention. Tragically, sometimes this results in multiple accidents occurring that could have been avoided.

Despite the temptation, therefore, drivers need to keep their eyes on the road at all times. A driver who is distracted and looking away who causes a crash can be held responsible for the consequences of that accident including for resulting injuries caused. Witnesses to the accident, which may include law enforcement who are already on the scene, can attest to the fact that the driver caused the crash as a result of their failure to pay proper attention to the road.

Continue reading "North Carolina Auto Accident Highlights Dangers of Rubbernecking" »

December 17, 2012

Choosing Vehicles to Keep Elderly Drivers Safe & Comfortable

With each passing day, more and more elderly drivers are getting behind the wheel. That may be empowering news for them, but it can be dangerous news for everyone out there. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 90 percent of all drivers who are 65-years-old or older are suffering from some kind of health issue that can affect their driving safety.

One of the most effective preventative measures against car accidents resulting from these conditions is to make sure that they find a car that can maintain safety and comfort for their needs at the same time.
Our Asheville car accident lawyers understand that with age comes debilitating health problems. These health problems can include deteriorating eyesight as well as a lack in flexibility and muscle strength. These factors make it so important that we find a vehicle that works for us. According to a recent study from AAA, only about one out of every ten elderly drivers dealing with an aging health issue drives a vehicle with features like keyless entry and enlarged dashboard controls to help to deal with these kinds of conditions.

To help these elderly drivers with safe driving and with comfortable driving, officials with AAA have recently updated its Smart Features for Older Drivers resource. Now, 2012 vehicle information and safety feature information is included. The site was launched back in 2008 and has been updated ever since to help keep these vulnerable drivers as safe as possible. Elderly drivers can now browse lists of vehicles equipped with various safety features and they can also use a new interactive tool to help all users to explore their individual needs pertaining to a vehicle.

There are about 10,000 Americans who celebrate their 65th birthday each and every day.

Common Problems Faced By Elderly Drivers:

-Joint Pain

-Diminishing Sight.

-Hip and Leg Pain.

-Delayed Reaction Times.

-Movement Restrictions.

-Drowsiness Due to Medications.

"Not only do these conditions affect a driver's comfort, their presence can also reduce the ability to safely execute the complex task of driving," said Dr. Sherrilene Classen with the University of Florida.

One of the most important things that an elderly driver can do is speak with a doctor. Talk with a medical professional about any conditions, medications or obstacles that may be affecting roadway safety. Remember to get your eyes checked annually to make sure your eyesight is fine and your prescription glasses are up to date!

Families and friends are asked to peek in on their elderly loved ones. Are they suffering from any conditions that could hinder their driving safety? Talk with them about it. Ensure these elderly drivers that giving up the keys is not giving up their independence, but only helping to keep them safe even longer.

Continue reading "Choosing Vehicles to Keep Elderly Drivers Safe & Comfortable" »

December 13, 2012

Tractor-Trailer Crash: I-20 Closed After Big-Rig Flips

In Darlington County, all lanes of I-20 were closed after a big rig flipped.

It wound up blocking traffic for most of the day, according to WISTV10.
Accident reports from the South Carolina Highway Patrol report that the accident happened in the westbound lanes at roughly 9:00 a.m. near mile marker 127. It happened right near the Lee County Line. Traffic was rerouted. The truck was carrying batteries and officials have yet to pinpoint what caused the catastrophic accident.

Our trucking accident attorneys understand that tractor-trailer accidents, like the recent one right here in South Carolina, kill thousands and injure even more each and every year. But do you really know how serious the problem is? Each year, there are about 500,000 accidents involving big-rigs, semis, tractor-trailers and big wheelers. Roughly 5,000 people are killed annually. It's so bad that officials estimate that one out of every 8 traffic accidents out there involves a large truck. Many of these accidents are serious and even fatal!

Of all of the traffic accidents in the state of South Carolina, about 10 percent of them involved a large truck.

What's most alarming is that many these accident are avoidable. Both drivers of passenger vehicles and of large trucks can do their part in helping to ensure that these kinds of accidents do not happen.

We're turning to the drivers of passenger vehicles for this road safety. It's important to practice your most defensive driving habits out there to stay out of these kinds of accidents. Luckily, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is here to offer you some safe driving tips to keep you safe when traveling with large trucks.

Safety Tips for Car Drivers:

-Avoid cutting off large trucks. They take longer to stop and could wind up slamming into the back of you.

-Always wear your seat belt. This is your best protection in the event of an accident.

-Keep out of large vehicles' blind spots. These are the areas around the truck in which a driver can't see you. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't see the driver then the driver can't see you.

-Never drink and drive. This is dangerous in any situation on our roadways, but especially when large trucks are involved!

-Don't squeeze your way in. When these large vehicles are making turns, don't squeeze in between them and the side of the road. They make wide turns but then bring it back in. Don't get caught in the squeeze.

-Keep your cool behind the wheel. Remember that these vehicles take longer to accelerate, take longer to stop and sometimes travel slower than some of us might like. Stay calm and avoid succumbing to aggressive driving habits. That's only going to heighten your risks for an accident.

-Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and put away the distractions.

Continue reading "Tractor-Trailer Crash: I-20 Closed After Big-Rig Flips" »