A Novel Approach for Reducing North Carolina Auto Accidents

May 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

When you read in the news about North Carolina car, truck, motorcycle accidents, your gut reaction is to demand some kind of response from enlightened authorities. “Something must be done!” you think, when you read sad tales about school age girls getting mowed over by careless drivers chatting on their cell phones.

The question is, what must be done? And who must do it? And how do we measure to see whether our policies actually accomplish what we want them to accomplish?

These are all more complicated questions than you might first think. Collecting and analyzing traffic crash data is notoriously complicated, and there are many ways to go wrong. Indeed, it’s possible to enact policy based on seemingly accurate statistical analyses that nevertheless boomerangs to create more problems and additional accidents.

For instance, in a recent post, we suggested that lowering the speed limit to 30 miles per hour might lead to far fewer crashes, but it would also lead to a massive recession in the state which could in turn indirectly lead to health/medical problems.

All that aside, it’s worth considering a variety of potentially unconventional schemes to get North Carolina auto accident rates down. Here is one interesting idea: Isolate drivers who engage in certain dangerous behaviors and punish them far more severely than they are punished now.

For instance, we’ve all had the experience of getting cut off in traffic by a driver who weaves from the far right lane to the far left lane in seconds without using a turn signal – some guy who nearly runs three or four cars off the road at once. If that driver gets pulled over and ticketed, he might get a fine and maybe even points on his license. But he certainly won’t go to jail.

But is that really fair?

If his crazily aggressive behavior had resulted in injuries, then he’d go to jail. But as it stands, he gets away nearly “scot free.” But what if that were to change? What if certain classes of aggressive driving behaviors – perpetrated by recidivist (repeat) offenders — could be walloped with far more aggressive penalties? Would that make a difference? Would it discourage drivers from doing things like weaving across traffic or running through red lights? It’s hard to know. But maybe studies could be designed to shed some light on these issues.

In any event, the general point here is that it might help to broaden our thinking about how to stop accidents.

On a practical note, a North Carolina auto accident law firm can help you with any specific questions you have about how to hold a reckless driver responsible for damages to your property or health.

More Web Resources:

Lower the Speed Limit?

Bad Drivers


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