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November 11, 2012

Young Drivers and Risks for Drowsy Driving Car Accidents


If you've got a driver in your family who is between the ages of 16 and 24 you need to listed up!

According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it's these drivers who are most likely to be involved in a drowsy driving car accident.
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As a matter of fact, one out of every six of these young drivers surveyed by AAA officials admitted that they had nodded off behind the wheel at least once in the last year. This is compared to one out of every ten drivers of other ages. These young drivers are also about 80 percent more likely to be drowsy at the time of an accident. Drowsy driving continues to be one of the leading contributors to auto accidents, too!

Our Asheville personal injury lawyers understand that risks are only expected to increase for these young drivers. As the holiday season approaches, more and more of them will be heading home and hitting the road. The break from school and work allows these youngsters with plenty more driving time and much higher accident risks.

"Research shows that fatigue impairs safe driving, with many symptoms causing drivers to behave in ways similar to those who are intoxicated," said AAA's Robert Darbelnet.

The problem with drowsy driving is that most drivers see it as a serious threat, yet many of them continue to engage in the dangerous behavior. The recent study illustrated that about 30 percent of all licensed drivers admit to driving while drowsy in just the last 30 days.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than drunk driving.

Can you tell when you get drowsy behind the wheel? All you have to do is keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

-Yawning a lot.

-Drifting out of your lane without noticing.

-Having a tough time keeping your eyes on the road.

-Missing your exits or turns.

-Not seeing road signs or traffic lights.

-Daydreaming.

-Disconnected thoughts.

If you notice any of the symptoms above, it's time for you to stop driving. If you're driving with another licensed driver, consider switching roles. Have them hop in the driver's seat. Sharing driving roles will help keep everyone rested. If you're traveling alone, pull over in a safe area, stop and take a break. There's no use in trying to push through your sleepiness behind the wheel. It's only going to increase your chances for getting into a potentially fatal accident.

Make sure you're getting plenty of sleep each night. Try not to drive during times when your body would normally be sleeping. Avoid eating heavy meals before and during your trips. All of these factors increase your risks for experiencing drowsiness behind the wheel and increase your risks for a collision. Stay safe out there -- especially with the approaching holiday season.

Continue reading "Young Drivers and Risks for Drowsy Driving Car Accidents" »

August 17, 2012

Reducing Risks of Car Accidents: Teens Targeted with Stickers


Car accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Officials in each state push a Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) program to help to mold these youngsters into safe and responsible drivers.

Well, the state of New Jersey is taking it one step further. Lawmakers have decided to require newly-licensed drivers to display a red sticker on the license plate of their vehicle. State lawmakers say it is going to help police officers to keep a closer eye on these young drivers. Parents are saying that it's going to make these youngsters a moving target for predators.
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It's all a part of "Kyleigh's Law." This was a law named after 16-year-old Kyleigh D'Alessio. She was killed in a car accident with another teenage driver. The other driver involved was speeding and violated the state's GDL program by having too many young passengers in the vehicle. Officials think that the stickers are going to help officers enforce the rules of probationary licenses.

Our Charlotte car accident lawyers understand that teens in the state have a strict GDL program to follow. They're required to have learner's permit for a year, in which time they're required to complete 60 hours of supervised driving time. Once they complete this stage and move on to their intermediate driver's license, they're prohibited from driving from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. They're also prohibited from having more than 1 passenger younger than the age of 21 in their vehicle. If a family member younger than 21 is already a passenger then no other passengers younger than 21 who are not family members, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

"When you have one extra friend in the car there's a 50 percent chance of that person getting into an accident," D'Alessio's mother said.

Many teens and parents have chosen not to keep these stickers on their vehicles however. Some say they don't want to be profiled. Others say they worry of predators.

Not having the decal is not a moving violation. Teens face a $100 fine.

Teens in North Carolina may not be required to point themselves out on our roadways, but they are required to follow all of our road laws, including the laws of the GDL program. Parents are asked to talk with the young driver in their family to not only get them familiar with these laws, but to make sure they're being followed. Consider enacting your own driving laws within your household. Make sure you and your teen are clear of the consequences of breaking these home driving rules. Talk with them about the importance of safe driving habits and the dangers, risks and consequences of dangerous ones.

You might think your message is falling on deaf ears, but you'd be surprised. Parents are some of the most influential people in a teen's life.

Continue reading "Reducing Risks of Car Accidents: Teens Targeted with Stickers" »

June 26, 2012

School Driving Classes and North Carolina Car Accidents


Officials with local high schools are taking driving seriously and they are taking the driving careers of their students seriously, too. They're requiring all driving students to complete a defensive driving course before they're granted on-campus parking privileges.

Alive at 25 is the program helping to teach these drivers safe habits behind the wheel and it's working to reduce the risks of accidents in North Carolina. It focuses on defensive driving habits and the importance of making safe decisions, according to Herald Online. These young drivers need all the help they can get as they don't have a lot of experience behind the wheel, making them extremely likely to get into an accident.
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Sabrina Gast, York County coroner, says that she sees far too many teen accidents every year and some of the most common causes are unnecessary, like distracted driving and driving under the influence.

Our Rock Hill accident lawyers understand that car accidents are the leading cause of death for this young age group. It's important that we catch them early and teach them safe and responsible driving habits. What they learn now will be used for the rest of their driving career. Let's teach them early and equip them with the tools they need to stay safe out there. If we've got to dangle their parking privileges above their head to get them to listen up then so be it.

At three high schools in Rock Hill, driving students will not be allowed to park on campus until they complete the 4 and a half hour defensive driving class, Alive at 25. The course will cost each student only $35. School officials are offering scholarships for any student who can't afford it.

Starting in July, the class will be offered three times a month. Students have to take it once before the 19th of January or they will not be permitted to purchase a parking pass.

Participating Area Schools:

-South Pointe

-Northwestern

-Rock Hill

-Applied Technology Center

-Lancaster County

-York County

-Fort Mill County

Each year, about 11,000 teenagers die in traffic accidents. Close to 4,000 of them are drivers between the ages of 15- and 20-years-old. In the state of South Carolina, there were more than 160 teen drivers killed in traffic accidents.

The defensive driving course is taught by off-duty law enforcement officers and teaches these young drivers about the risks associated with not wearing a seat belt, speeding, eating behind the wheel, talking on phones, text messaging and drunk driving. Parents are urged to get in on it, too. Talk with your teen at home about the dangers they face on our roads. Make sure they know what's expected of them behind the wheel.

"It's a worthwhile time investment for students," said Al Leonard, South Pointe High Principal.

Continue reading "School Driving Classes and North Carolina Car Accidents" »

June 17, 2012

Teen Car Accidents in Greensboro & Benefits of a Comprehensive GDL Program


A single-car accident is currently being investigated by the North Carolina Highway Patrol after one teen died and another was left seriously injured. The accident happened around 8:00 p.m. in Johnston County.

Accident reports indicate that the teen's SUV drove off of the road when the teen overcorrected, ran into a ditch, and was thrown into a tree. The 16-year-old driver died at the scene of the accident and the 17-year-old passenger was transported to WakeMed in Raleigh and treated for various injuries, according to ABC11. Authorities have listed speed as a factor in the accident.
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There are ways that we can help to reduce the risks of teen car accidents in Greensboro and elsewhere. All we need is a little help from lawmakers and from parents, according to a recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Safe driving advocates recently studied the Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) laws of each state and compared them with their rates for teen car accidents. The goal of the study was to find out what makes a successful GDL program. Officials determined that there were 5 components to success. The five were permit age, licensing age, passenger restrictions, night time driving restrictions and required supervised driving time. These laws are no good though if law enforcement officers and parents don't help to enforce them.

Our Greensboro car accident attorneys understand that the state of North Carolina and our GDL laws didn't do too badly with officials with the IIHS. We have a permit age of 15-years-old, which officials suggest should be higher. We do require our young drivers to complete 60 hours of supervised driving time during the restricted licensing stage. While we didn't meet the IIHS suggestions of 65 hours, we did beat out many other states. We have relatively strict nighttime restrictions, banning our young drivers from driving from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Our passenger restrictions aren't bad either. Teen drivers with a restricted license are not allowed to have more than 1 passenger younger than 21.

These restrictions are lifted when a driver is 16-years-old and has had their restricted license for at least 6 months. Officials suggest that this age be lifted to 18-years-old. Regardless, state lawmakers could tighten up these laws a little bit to help to keep our young drivers safe.

In North Carolina, driver education is required for permit applicants younger than the age of 18-years-old.

"Even the best states can do better," says Anne McCartt, IIHS senior vice president.

GDL programs allow these young drivers to get their driving experience and education through a series of stages and through various restrictions. This allows them to mature as a driver and to develop safe skills behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Teen Car Accidents in Greensboro & Benefits of a Comprehensive GDL Program" »

June 8, 2012

Teen Car Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere Likely through Summer


It's the summer season and risks for car accidents in Asheville and elsewhere are super high!

Kids are out of school and summer vacations are in full swing. With this time of the year, we're walking into the 100 Deadliest Days of the year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Teen car accidents are expected to see a dramatic increase during the next few months.
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In 2009, there were approximately 3,000 motorists between the ages of 15- and 19-years-old who were killed in traffic accidents across the country. There were nearly 400,000 teens who were injured in these same scenarios. Young motorists are warned that nine out of the 10 deadliest days for teens on our roadways happen between the months of May and August.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers are calling on the help of parents and guardians to help to reduce the risks of car accidents for our young drivers. By sitting down and talking with the young driver in your life, we can help to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving habits on our roadways during this dangerous time of year.

AT&T is even joining the fight against these accidents. The cell phone service provider has joined with organizations around the country to help to spread the word about the risks associated with distracted driving and other dangerous habits behind the wheel. More than 95 percent of teens acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous. Even with this knowledge, nearly 45 percent of these young drivers admit to sending text messages while driving. What's worse is that another 75 percent say they commonly observe their peers engaging in this dangerous behavior behind the wheel.

MADD is here to help to reduce the risks for car accidents among our teens by offering parents with the tips listed below. Parents are urged to review the following tips and make the move to have the talk with the young drivers in their family.

Safe Driving Tips for Teens:

-Make sure there's no drinking and driving. EVER! These young drivers may not be old enough to legally consume alcohol, but you'd be surprised as to how many are doing it anyway.

-Be sure to wear a seat belt during every car ride! Low seat belt use is one of the primary reasons that teen motorist fatality and injury rates remain high.

-Be sure to keep distractions out of the driver's seat. This includes cell phones, text messaging devices and other electronics.

-Parents should limit these young drivers' nighttime driving.

-Obey all speed limits and other posted road laws at all times.

-Make sure teen's keep an eye on their vehicle. Keeping a car in good-working condition can help to reduce the risks of accidents. Keep an eye on the tire's air pressure, the fluids and the battery.

Continue reading "Teen Car Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere Likely through Summer" »

May 7, 2012

Teen Killed in Spartanburg Motorcycle Accident


An 18-year-old was killed in a recent motorcycle accident in Spartanburg County, reports WYFF.

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the fatal motorcycle accident happened at roughly 11:00 p.m. this last weekend. Officers report that he was wearing his helmet when the accident happened, but that wasn't enough to save him from the impact. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Officers are still investigating.
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Our Spartanburg motorcycle accident attorneys have been talking about Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. During the entire month of May, safe driving advocates are working to raise awareness about these vulnerable two-wheeled drivers on our roadways.

Now, we're going to discuss the dangers that our young drivers face on our roadways. They actually have the highest risks for accidents. In 2009, there were roughly 3,000 teen drivers on our roadways who were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Nearly 400,000 additional teen drivers were injured during this time. It's important for parents to stay on top of their teen's driving habits to make sure they're safe every time they jump behind the wheel.

Drivers under the age of 18 must complete the following to obtain a full driver's license in North Carolina:

-Complete an approved driver education class. These classes include driver training as well.

-Must have completed the requirements of a learner's permit.

-Must drive with a learner's permit for at least a year.

-Must have completed the requirements for provisional license.

-Must have held a provisional license for at least six months,

-Can apply for a full driver's license when the above steps are completed and the driver has turned 18-years-old.

Many states require these young drivers to complete these steps because restrictions through a graduates driver's licensing (GDL) program help to teach our driver safe habits behind the wheel. The stricter these programs are the better they work. These drivers are exposed to a little bit at a time and can develop their safe driving habits without being overwhelmed.

According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA), North Carolina ranked in second place for having the most deaths among 16- and 17-year-old drivers during the first six months of 2011. North Carolina only ranked behind Texas. We saw nearly 20 deaths during that time, according to My FOX 8. Second place in this race is nothing to be proud of!

"North Carolina doesn't even meet the national standards on the amount of time devoted to driver safety, which nationally is 40 hours in the classroom and 10 hours behind the wheel," said Neil Doroshenko of AAA.

Continue reading "Teen Killed in Spartanburg Motorcycle Accident" »

March 25, 2012

Teen Girls Likely Involved in Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Anderson and Elsewhere


According to a recent study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teenage girls are twice as likely as teenage boys to use cell phones, text messaging devices and other electronics behind the wheel. This heightened probability for distracted driving increases their risks for a car accident in Anderson and elsewhere.
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Our Anderson personal injury attorneys understand that kids these days are practically connected at the hip to their friends and whatnot through various electronic devices and through social networks. It's important for parents and mentors to remind these young drivers that driving is no time for them to be talking with friends and playing on the internet. Teenage drivers already have a higher accident rate because of their inexperience behind the wheel, adding in communication technology only increases these risks. Electronics are the most common distractions for drivers of all ages, but most commonly endanger young drivers.

The recent AAA study captured what these young drivers did behind the wheel through in-car cameras. The purpose of this study was to determine just how dangerous distracted driving was and how often these young drivers were engaging in distractions while driving.

"Cell phones, texting, personal grooming, and reaching for things in the car were among the most common distracting activities found," said Peter Kissinger, the President and CEO of AAA.

The new study showed researchers exactly how at-risk these young drivers are. In many states, teenage drivers are prohibited from using cell phones, electronic devices and other electronics behind the wheel. Unfortunately, South Carolina is one of the only states that has absolutely no bans on any driver regarding their engagements in distractions behind the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA).

The study concluded that electronics were the number one kind of distraction for these young drivers. Aside from electronics, about 15 percent of driver distractions included personal grooming, adjusting in-car controls and drinking or eating. Older teens were more likely to engage in electronic distractions at the wheel. This led researchers to believe that as these drivers got more and more comfortable behind the wheel, the more comfortable they got in engaging in distractions.

Study Findings:

-Teenage female drivers were 10 percent more likely to engage in distractions other than playing with electronics.

-Teenage female drivers were 50 percent more likely than males to reach for an object while driving.

-Teenage female drivers were 25 percent to eat and drink behind the wheel than males.

-Young male drivers weren't off the hook though. They were more likely to turn around in their seats and talk with people outside of the vehicle.

Continue reading "Teen Girls Likely Involved in Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Anderson and Elsewhere " »

December 29, 2011

Effective GDL Programs Help Teens Gain Experience and Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Hickory, Nationwide


Gastonia personal injury lawyers know that effective graduated driver's license (GDL) programs are gaining acceptance nationwide because it makes sense that the more experience a young driver can gain before being left alone to drive the safer they will be in making quick decisions or gaining confidence to handle difficult driving situations.
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According to a recent article in USA Today, 2,000 lives could be saved throughout the country annually if each state were to adopt a comprehensive GDL program for young drivers which phases in driving privileges as they gain knowledge and experience. Some states already participate in strong GDL programs but others leave much to be desired when it comes to training young drivers.

We posted previously on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog that two former standouts from the U.S. Department of Transportation are pushing for federal legislation to pass the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act. Requiring states to strengthen and stand united on GDL programs can help minimize the number of teen car accidents in Hickory, Charlotte and nationwide.

USA Today reports that teen drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 are four times more likely to crash per mile driven than older adults according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Congress is preparing to make a decision about a multi-year highway and transit spending bill in the weeks to come. GDL program and teen safety advocates are pushing Congress to incorporate into the bill to include $25 million a year in incentives for states to take an initiative and build a stronger GDL program for teens training to get their license.

Every state has some sort of GDL program in place that will reward teens for meeting certain requirements as they learn to drive and gain maturity behind the wheel. Only New York and Delaware contain all seven key elements that are considered to make a program effective. The seven key elements of a comprehensive GDL program include:

-Turning 16 before a learner's permit is obtained.

-Gaining 6 months of driving experience before being permitted to drive unsupervised.

-During the learner's stage, teens must have a minimum of 30 hours of supervised driving.

-Enter the intermediate licensing phase at a minimum age of 16 years and 6 months.

-No driving is permitted after 10:00 p.m. in the intermediate licensing phase.

-Non-family member passengers are limited to no more than one during the intermediate phase.

-Must be age 17 to obtain a full license.

According to the report, an estimated 83 lives could be saved each year in North Carolina if a stronger GDL program were to be implemented. In South Carolina, 65 lives could be saved annually.

As parents, there are so many fears associated with your child starting the learning to drive process but the best thing you can do for your teen is to spend numerous hours supervising them to be safe drivers and always exhibiting safe driving practices when they ride in the vehicle with you.

Continue reading "Effective GDL Programs Help Teens Gain Experience and Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Hickory, Nationwide" »

December 17, 2011

"OMG" Campaign Educates Teens About Potential for Distracted-Driving Car Accidents in Gastonia, Elsewhere


You may have been sitting in your living room, filling your gas tank, or at the theater ready to watch a movie recently and noticed a public service announcement with a strong message for teens about the dangers of driving distracted. Hopefully it is getting through to younger drivers that texting while driving is a behavior that can lead to unfortunate consequences. Teen car accidents in Gastonia and elsewhere are often caused by a driver texting or otherwise not paying attention to the roadway.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the "OMG" PSA a few weeks ago, just in time for the holidays. No parent or family member wants to mourn the loss of a teenage child during the holiday season, so the timing is perfect to initiate conversations with your kids after you both have viewed the advertisement.

Charlotte personal injury lawyers understand that roadways can be a little more dangerous this time of year with winter weather and holiday travelers using roadways more frequently. Plus, teenage drivers are more likely to be hanging out with friends or attending parties now that they have a few extra days off from school.

The "OMG" PSA is meant to relate to teens with the shortened abbreviations used while texting. Speaking to teens in a language they can understand is expected to drive the point home. The vivid images show teens texting with messages like "LOL" (laugh out loud) and "L8R" (later) before they look up and find it is too late to avoid a crash.

The PSA is airing at Regal Cinema theaters and on Outcast Pump Top gas station pump-top screens nationwide throughout December. Two different versions may be viewed on cinema or gas-pump screens. One version is meant for a teenage audience and will be aired on almost 6,600 movie screens in 526 Regal Entertainment Group owned-and-operated cinemas nationwide. Outcast Pump Top TV will air a more somber version on 12,000 high-traffic gas stations nationwide. Both versions are also available for viewing at the government website, distraction.gov.

The teenage group relies heavily on social networking devices to stay connected to friends and family. By portraying vivid images using their own teen lingo, the government and other anti-distracted driving advocates hope to get through to teens and eliminate these unsafe behaviors on U.S. roadways. Movie theaters and gas stations are some of the most highly trafficked avenues during the holidays and is the perfect way to portray a clear image about what can happen when you get distracted behind the wheel.

The government continues to be vigilant in their efforts to stop all drivers from using cell phones while they operate a vehicle. Parents and teens are reminded to do your part by putting down the cell phone each time you get behind the wheel this holiday season and beyond.

Continue reading ""OMG" Campaign Educates Teens About Potential for Distracted-Driving Car Accidents in Gastonia, Elsewhere " »

October 22, 2011

North Carolina Teens Targeted During National Safety Week to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Asheville, Hickory and Elsewhere


On average, more than 70 teens die weekly from a car crash nationwide; more than 15 people die daily from a car crash involving someone between the ages of 15-20 years-old.

State Farm and the National Safety Council (NSC) have joined forces to create awareness and offer tools to moms, dads and young drivers during National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 16-22. Reducing injuries in Asheville car accidents and deaths from car accidents nationwide means that all motorists, not just novice drivers, need to stay alert and use extra caution every time they get behind the wheel to drive.

Personal injury lawyers in Hickory and elsewhere agree that many deaths caused by car accidents are preventable and avoidable. But what will it take to get drivers to stop speeding, driving drunk, driving aggressively or getting distracted behind the wheel? Increasing awareness, changing attitudes and strengthening graduated driver's license (GDL) laws and programs are all steps being taken to reduce deaths and injuries on American roadways.

According to NSC there are several factors that can put new drivers at risk when they start driving independently. Having a passenger ride in the vehicle increases a teen's crash risk by 48 percent.

-When three or more passengers are riding in the vehicle, a teen is 307 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident.

-The most fatal time for teen car crashes is between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.

-Recent studies are showing that experience gained during the first year of unsupervised driving helps reduce crash risks after the one year anniversary of obtaining an unrestricted license.

The Safe Roads 4 Teens Coalition supports National Teen Driver Safety Week by urging Congress to pass the STANDUP Act which would strengthen GDL programs nationwide. Several parents who have lost a child in a teen-related car crash wrote a letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives highlighting the importance of passing the bill in hopes of preventing other parents from having to deal with the same loss of a child or loved one. Establishing federalized standards and strengthening GDL programs statewide could help reduce crashes by 30 percent and save young lives each year.

There are a couple of things that parents can do to help reinforce basic driving skills and good decision making made by a teen driver in your family. Encourage your teen to get plenty of practice while driving with supervision. The more experience a novice driver gains while being supervised the better off they will be down the road when they begin driving alone.

Parents can also enroll in Alive at 25 which is an interactive course taken online. The course can advise parents on how to talk to their teens about risks factors including speeding, driving under the influence or using a seat belt.

Parents as role models and young drivers who lack much needed experience need to recognize all the dangers and keep these dangerous driving behaviors off North Carolina roadways throughout October and beyond. Becoming a safe driver translates to saving lives no matter what age you are.

Continue reading "North Carolina Teens Targeted During National Safety Week to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Asheville, Hickory and Elsewhere" »

October 3, 2011

Technology + Driving = Distracted Driving Accidents in Charlotte


Technological devices are continuing to make our nation's roadways unsafe, but are the devices more to blame than the actual drivers? Motorists have a choice of whether to let items inside the car distract them while they drive. It seems most drivers are making the wrong choice, which is why the number of distracted driving car accidents in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem continue to rise.

WXII reports that devices like the tablet PC, smart phones and MP3 players are so widespread and appeal to so many users that it has caused a fatal trend for drivers and pedestrians in North Carolina. In fact, the Governor's Highway Safety Association reports that North Carolina showed the fourth biggest increase of all 50 states in pedestrian fatalities over a four-year period, likely due to distractions caused by mobile technology.
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Our state bans young drivers and bus drivers from using a cell phone while behind the wheel and prohibits all drivers from internet use, texting or emailing while driving. We even posted on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog recently that truck drivers can look forward to a nationwide cell phone ban if the government takes the recommendation made by the National Transportation Safety Board seriously.

Proposed House Bill 44 would have prohibited drivers from using a handheld device in the car if a subcommittee hadn't given a negative response during the General Assembly's 2011 session. Legislation posed towards distracted pedestrians has yet to be addressed.

According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, October 2-8 is Heads-up Driving Week. Throughout the week, motorists are asked to eliminate multi-tasking and just focus on driving without any distractions in an effort to improve highway safety for everyone. Distracted driving is the cause of approximately 8,000 car accidents daily, according to recent statistics.

Tasks like changing the radio station, eating, talking to a passenger, smoking, rubbernecking and cell phone-related activities are the most common distractions. When drivers try to multi-task with several of these behaviors at the same time it makes driving particularly dangerous.

Recent surveys from American drivers have shown overwhelming support for texting and cell phone bans becoming a state law. Over 90 percent of respondents agree that texting is dangerous and unacceptable behavior and yet a third of the respondents admit to texting in the last month. Driver attitude is one of the biggest obstacles that safety advocates continue to try to change. Many drivers fail to practice what they preach when they go about their business with a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude. Unfortunately, this puts many motorists at severe risk of injury when this attitude is portrayed on our roadways.

Be the first to make a difference by taking the distraction-free pledge. Make a commitment to talk to others about the dangers of getting distracted while driving and refrain from multi-tasking every time you get behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Technology + Driving = Distracted Driving Accidents in Charlotte" »

September 19, 2011

Driver Inexperience Can Lead to a High Risk for Moped Accidents in Gastonia, Charlotte


You may have noticed more and more mopeds or scooters occupying roadways in North Carolina these days. After all, there aren't many requirements placed on an operator of these 2-wheeled machines. Not to mention the amount of money that drivers can save tooling around town in these small fuel efficient vehicles can be astronomical compared to a car, truck or SUV.

That said, our Gastonia personal injury lawyers want to reiterate the importance of using caution around these vehicles because they are often difficult to see or hear which can lead to a high rate of accidents if a motorist becomes distracted or aggressive while driving.
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In the news recently were two separate moped accidents in North Carolina that resulted in serious injury and death. In the first accident, reports WECT, a car and moped collided in Brunswick County. The collision took place near the intersection at Sunny Point on Highway 87. The operator of the moped was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Fox Charlotte reports that the second moped accident in Charlotte took place on a Sunday evening while a man in his fifties was driving on Braewick Place. The male operator driving his moped crashed after laying the vehicle down along the asphalt.

A neighbor called 911 after hearing a loud crash. The male driver was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced dead after reportedly having trouble breathing following the crash. It is believed the operator of the 2008 Motive Power Industries Moped was driving under the influence.

If you are 16-years-old and own a helmet, you are permitted to operate a scooter or moped in North Carolina. Any scooter with no external shifting device, a motor size of 50cc or lower and travels less than 30mph on flat surfaces does not require registration, inspection, liability insurance or a valid driver's license to be operated. Loose scooter or moped laws for the most part allow just about anyone to operate.

Scooters and mopeds may not be as big as a motorcycle or travel near as fast on roadways but it doesn't make them any less dangerous. Driver inexperience plays a significant role in the number of accidents that occur in North Carolina or nationwide. Operators of 2-wheeled vehicles are always encouraged to take a training and safety course to learn more about how to handle the vehicle and how your machine operates mechanically.

Mopeds.net offers the following advice to beginner moped or scooter riders:

  • Dress from head to toe in protective gear, including helmet, long pants, gloves and leather or denim jacket.
  • Familiarize yourself with the inner workings of your moped or scooter. Try to gain knowledge about how to change tires, the power source and how the engine works.
  • Perform routine checks on your moped or scooter, especially before taking it out on long trips. You can test the oil, check your headlights, test your brakes, and make sure the chains are oiled properly.
  • Riders should stay off their cell phone and know what is going on around you at all times. Rural or uneven roads are particularly dangerous so be aware of other vehicles or obstacles on the road while traveling.

Continue reading "Driver Inexperience Can Lead to a High Risk for Moped Accidents in Gastonia, Charlotte" »

September 15, 2011

Cell Phones and Other Distractions Can Prove Deadly for Motorist Involved in Distracted Driving Accidents in Hickory


A video series recently launched by the National Safety Council could help motorists to put into perspective all of the dangers related to cell phone use while you are operating a vehicle. Cell phone distractions are a leading cause of car accidents in Hickory, Gastonia and throughout the entire state of North Carolina.

Asheville personal injury lawyers know that organizations throughout the country are continuing to be vigilant in their fight against distracted driving because this behavior continues to kill thousands each and every year on our nation's roadways. It takes everyone getting on board, putting the cell phone down, and focusing on driving to reduce the risk that are associated with getting distracted behind the wheel.
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The series of short videos titled "Understanding Distracted Driving" are free to the public and can be downloaded via YouTube. The 2- to 3-minute videos include frequently asked questions answered by the Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives at the National Safety Council, David Teater.

Some questions include what is the science of cognitive distraction, why are cell phones a dangerous distraction, what employers can do to protect their employees from driving distracted on company time, how parents can set an example and what will it take to reduce crashes.

Teater lost his son in a motor vehicle crash back in 2004 and since then has been a strong advocate for opposing distracted driving behaviors. A former CEO for a strategy and research firm offering counseling to auto manufacturers, Teater frequently speaks about the important topic of banning cell phone use while driving to several state legislatures, in addition to standing in front of the U.S. Congress.

"The resources NSC has developed explain why this behavior is so dangerous and provide solutions on how to go about changing behaviors to make our roadways safer," said Teater.

We posted on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog during National Distracted Driving Month that the NSC and Focus Driven were going to work together to get drivers throughout the country to put down their cell phones during the entire month of April. The two safety organizations encouraged companies to build strong polices for their employees which would ban cell phone use and keep them safer while driving on company time.

This has all been a part of the NSC's global attack in many different facets to get the message across. The NSC was the first organization to emphatically request a complete ban on cell phone use while driving in the car back in 2009. Since then, many elected officials, employers and general public have jumped on the bandwagon to fight the cause along with the NSC.

We seem to hone in on cell phones being a deadly distraction in cars, but let's not forget there are a number of other things that can distract us while we drive. A woman from Raleigh was allegedly distracted when she was involved in an accident that killed a 61-year-old male pedestrian recently.

WRAL reports the woman was fiddling with the radio in her car when she lost control of the vehicle, side-swiped a utility pole and hit a pedestrian walking along the road. The driver is charged with failure to maintain a lane and misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle.

Avoid learning a difficult lesson by minimizing distractions inside your vehicle and always putting the cell phone out of reach while you drive. Not only can it save you but it can make roadways safe for others.

Continue reading "Cell Phones and Other Distractions Can Prove Deadly for Motorist Involved in Distracted Driving Accidents in Hickory" »

August 30, 2011

Popular Defensive Driving Course Teaches Teens Safe Behaviors in Order to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Greensboro, Elsewhere


As the 100 deadliest days of summer for teens nears an end, it is no time for young drivers to short change themselves by getting lax behind the wheel. Teens are just as prone to being involved in a Greensboro car accident now as they were at the beginning of summer.

Young drivers may not be overly anxious to head back to school so soon but our car accident lawyers in Asheville, Statesville and Gastonia want to remind teens to remain calm and attentive while behind the wheel as the new school year begins.
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WSOCTV reports that Mecklenburg County ranks first in the state for teen car accidents leading to serious injuries or even fatalities. In 2010, 105 teens were killed on North Carolina roadways. Mecklenburg County, along with Wake and Johnson Counties have all topped the list for fatal teen car accidents the last three years.

North Carolina Highway Patrol wants to offset the high number of teen car accidents in the state by raising enough funds to offer a defensive driving course called BRAKES initiated by Doug Herbert. We first introduced the BRAKES program on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog when we posted that NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was going to attempt to be a better role model for young drivers by getting involved in the program.

Following a speeding violation on a rural North Carolina roadway, Busch realizes that many teens make the same mistake of driving too fast and causing an accident with unsafe behaviors like speeding.

The BRAKES defensive driving course costs the state roughly $10,000. Registered teens can take the course to learn about defensive driving, anti-lock brakes, driver inattention, driving in dangerous weather conditions and much more.

NCHP is also taking several other measures to reduce teen car accidents as students head back to school and make roadways more congested during morning and afternoon hours. The Daily Reflector reports that the department will work with school officials to arrange presentations offered to students about driving safety in driver education classes. Key points of emphasis will be drowsy driving, driving under the influence, distracted driving and legal issues. School zones with a high number of commuters will be patrolled for speeders, cell phone users, seatbelt violators and reckless drivers.

Patrolling will also be heavy at student functions or school bus stops where more traffic congestion is expected. As school resumes, troopers will be at different locations handing out fliers to promote child restraints and seat belt laws.

NCHP offers these few simple tips for motorists:
-Never race to beat a school bus about to flash its lights or swing the motorized arm to alert traffic to stop.

-Stay off the phone while driving in school zones, neighborhoods or other areas that are more likely to have children near the roadway.

-Remember speed limits are reduced in school zones during more commutes and afternoon hours and should always be adhered to.

Continue reading "Popular Defensive Driving Course Teaches Teens Safe Behaviors in Order to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Greensboro, Elsewhere" »

August 5, 2011

Parents Weighing Options on Teen's First Vehicle Can Reduce the Risk of Injury in Charlotte Car Accidents


A recent article in Daily Finance reports that buying your teen's first car can be challenging to say the least. Above all, parents are looking for a safe vehicle that can reduce the risk of injury if your child is involved in a Charlotte car accident. Teens, on the other hand, are looking for a sporty, cool-looking car loaded with in-vehicle technology that can keep them entertained while they drive from point A to point B.

Winston-Salem injury lawyers are here to remind parents that sporty doesn't always equal safety so weigh your options before you purchase your teen's first vehicle. Teen drivers are the age group most at risk of a car accident so make a smart choice that you both can live with.
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Things to consider:


  • Valuable lessons learned. Teach your teen the value of having a car to drive at this age by making them understand that it is a privilege not a birthright, there are financial burdens placed on a family by adding another vehicle and keeping up with their peers isn't always possible.

    Set up a car fund that the teen can make contributions to in order to help the teen understand that money for monthly payments, car maintenance, insurance, and gas are all needed to own a car.


  • New vs. Used. Purchasing a new car is sure to provide all the safety features such as air bags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. A new car will also require less maintenance and money spent on repairs. Most used cars can come equipped with the same safety features beyond a certain model year but could require more routine maintenance and constant repairs if you aren't careful.

    The downside to a new car is that the monthly payment will be higher and the vehicle may come standard with in-vehicle technology which can distract your teen driver when they are behind the wheel. A certified pre-owned vehicle is a viable option because it offers an extended warranty to help with maintenance and in all likelihood, better financing rates than a new vehicle.


  • How to Save on Insurance. Adding your teen to your policy is typically the cheapest route unless the vehicle you choose for your teen is particularly expensive, in which case you may want to set up a separate policy. There are discounts offered by insurance companies that you should pursue in order to keep the premium as low as possible. Good student or dean's list honorees and defensive driving courses offer sizable discounts and should be taken advantage of if applicable.

  • Rules of the Road contract. Many parents find it beneficial to establish a parent-teen contract that you and your child agree on which can set rules and boundaries to be met and followed. A clear understanding of rules and violations can help set the mark to safe driving behavior and the rewards and consequences which will follow.


For a sample of a teen-parent contract, visit North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles online.

To research safety and crash-test information for vehicle model and year, visit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or safercar.gov.
For tips on how to save on gas mileage or a side-by-side comparison on fuel efficient vehicles visit fueleconomy.gov.

Continue reading "Parents Weighing Options on Teen's First Vehicle Can Reduce the Risk of Injury in Charlotte Car Accidents" »