November 2009

Preventing North Carolina Car Accidents: Texting while Driving Becomes Illegal in the State Beginning December 1

November 30, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Beginning tomorrow, it will become illegal for drivers to read e-mails, surf the Web, play games or music or take pictures with a cell phone, or text while driving in North Carolina. Drivers caught breaking the law will be subject to a $100 fine in addition to court expenses.

This can be a tough law to enforce, considering that drivers can still use their phones to talk on the phone while driving. A police officer might not be able to tell whether a motorist is dialing a number or sending a text.

Still, banning texting while driving will hopefully give people additional incentive to stop this dangerous distracted driving habit. UNC Highway Safety Research Center senior research associate Arthur Goodwin says texting is one of the “most dangerous” activities a motorist can engage in while behind the wheel.

Some studies suggest that texting increases the risk of a car crash happening by at least 23 times. Another study reported that texting slows down a driver’s ability to react to emergencies and increases the likelihood that a motorist might accidentally move into another lane or oncoming traffic. Other studies have compared using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle to driving while drunk.

At this point, many people continue to text while driving even with mounting evidence that engaging in this activity while operating a motor vehicle can kill people.

Both texting while driving and talking on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle—even though the latter isn’t illegal in North Carolina—can be considered negligent activities if a motorist injures or kills someone while engaged in either activity. If you or someone you loved was injured by a distracted driver, an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm can help you determine whether you have grounds for filing a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit.

Ban On Texting While Driving Kicks In Tues,, November 30, 2009

Texting While Driving MORE DANGEROUS Than Talking On Cell Phone, Huffington Post, July 29, 2009

New laws to target texting, reptiles, News-Record, November 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
State Cell Phone Driving Laws, GHSA

Virginia Tech

With More People Expected to Travel by Road for Thanksgiving Holiday, Our Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm is Reminding Motorists to Drive Safely

November 23, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to AAA Carolinas, some 1 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles over the Thanksgiving weekend—a 2% increase in the number of road travelers from last year. One reason for this is the state of the economy. Families are attempting to save on costs by traveling by car, bus, and train instead of by air, which is expected to experience a 7% drop in travel this year.

With more North Carolina and South Carolina motorists expected on state roads, our Hickory car crash lawyers want to remind everyone to practice safe driving habits to ensure that they arrive at their respective destinations.

The National Safety Commission says that the Thanksgiving holiday, which runs from 6pm on Wednesday until midnight on Sunday, is the most dangerous period of the year for road travel. 389 US car crash deaths happened over the Thanksgiving holiday period in 2008. Thousands of others were injured. Leading causes of injuries and fatalities included speeding, failure to use safety belts, drowsy driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving.

With many people driving long distances on Wednesday and Sunday, it is important to remember that the roads will likely be packed with tired motorists driving in traffic in an attempt to reach their destinations as soon as possible. This is one reason that it is even more crucial for motorists to refrain from negligent driving.

If you or your loved one is injured in a car crash over the Thanksgiving weekend, you may want to speak with an experienced Monroe car accident law firm to determine whether you have grounds for filing a North Carolina motor vehicle crash case.

The National Safety Commission’s Safe Tips for Driving During the Thanksgiving Weekend Include:

• Don’t rush to your destination.
• Share driving duties with another motorist.
• Take periodic driving brakes.
• Try to drive before anticipated “rush” hours.
• Get plenty of rest before driving.
• Use a seat belt.
• Make sure everyone in the car is properly secured.
• Don’t speed.
• Don’t text while driving.
• Don’t talk on the cell while driving.
• Pay attention to the road.
• Don’t drink and drive.

Thanksgiving Traffic Safety 2009, National Safety Commission

AAA Carolinas sees more NC Thanksgiving travelers, Charlotte Observer, November 23, 2009

Related Web Resources:
AAA Carolinas

Safe Driving Tips for Thanksgiving Holiday, Consumer Reports, November 24, 2009

Teen Motorists and Distracted Driving: Per Poll, Approximately Half of 16- and 17-Year-Old US Drivers with Cell Phones Have Used Devices while Operating Motor Vehicles

November 17, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a poll of 800 teenagers, ages 12 to 17, about half of those who drive and own cell phones have used these communication devices while operate a motor vehicle. About 1/3rd of these teenagers also admitted to text messaging while driving. The poll was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Considering that distracted driving has proven to be dangerous and new drivers tend to be less experienced at driving than adult drivers, parents should be worried that some of the teens polled wouldn’t acknowledge that texting and talking on the phone talking while driving are dangerous habits. Fortunately, many of the teens did say they are now aware that these distracted driving habits are dangerous and they claim they won’t do them anymore. However, some of these same teens say they can’t help but answer a ringing phone or respond to a text sent to them while they are driving.

As our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident attorneys have said in previous blog posts, distracted driving is a common cause of many fatal traffic crashes involving not just cars and pedestrians, but also buses, large trucks, and trains. Many people seem to be having a hard time resisting the impulse to talk on the phone or text message or surf on the Internet while driving, which not only keeps them from paying attention to the road but also prevents them from reacting effectively and driving offensively/defensively while on the road so that they don’t become involved in a catastrophic North Carolina car crash.

Fortunately, national and state safety and transportation officials have stepped up efforts to make people more aware of the dangers posted by texting and distracted driving. Yet many people continue to do one or both—despite the evidence that such seemingly harmless acts can kill people.

Scary statistics on teen texting, calling while driving, The Seattle Times, November 17, 2009

Half of teens say they’ve used cellphone while driving, USA Today, November 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Teenagers, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Pew Research Center

3 Dead and 3 Injured in North Carolina Motor Vehicle Crash involving Truck and Car

November 13, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A tragic North Carolina motor vehicle accident involving a tractor-trailer and a compact car at the NC 16 and NC 10 intersection has left three people dead and three others injured. The large truck collision happened on Wednesday morning when a Suzuki Aero ran a red light on NC 10 to collide with a semi-truck on NC 16. The large truck, which was carrying 55-gallon drums of oil, jackknifed.

The car’s driver, 56-year-old Joyce White, and passengers 11-year-old Cody Storey and 66-year-old Ruby Leatherman died from their injuries. Two other passengers, 12-year-old Tyler Trivette and 10-year-old Isaiah Trivette, were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the semi-truck, 63-year-old Gastonia resident Paul Brown, was also taken to the hospital.

Jacknife Truck Crashes
A big rig truck can jackknife when the truck driver has to suddenly step on the brakes or when the brakes fail or malfunction. This can cause the truck to skid and the tractor and trailer to form a 90-degree angle with each other. This type of truck crash prove catastrophic for other motorists, who may find themselves in a collision with the large truck that is now obstructing the road.

In some North Carolina large truck cases, the liable party is the truck driver and/or trucking company. If a truck defect contributed to the semi-truck crash, then the truck manufacturer or the manufacturer of a truck part could be possible truck crash defendants. There are also tractor-trailer crashes that occur because another motorist was negligent, his or her vehicle was defective, a road was poorly designed, or a highway construction zone was not properly designated.

3 dead in crash, Hickory Record, November 12, 2009

Semi T-bones Compact Car in N.C.: Three Die, Two Injured, EMS Responder, November 13, 2009

Related Web Resource:
Large Truck Causation Study, NHTSA (PDF)

Raleigh, North Carolina Ranked As #6 Most Dangerous US City for Pedestrians, Say Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership

November 10, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

America, Raleigh, North Carolina is the 66h most dangerous city in the US for pedestrians. The two groups, Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, say that over 76,000 US pedestrian fatalities have occurred over the last 15 years—that’s 11.8% of all traffic deaths. They want more federal funds spent on better sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian/pedalcyclist safety programs.

Federal data report approximately 4,500 pedestrian deaths a year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 4,378 pedestrian fatalities for 2008 and 69,000 pedestrian injuries. There were 160 North Carolina pedestrian deaths and 100 pedestrian fatalities in 2009.

In the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan region, there were 43 North Carolina pedestrian deaths in 2007 and 2008. Efforts are being made to improve pedestrian safety, including additional sidewalks, wider sidewalks, roundabouts for slower traffic, and wider lanes so that cars and bicycles can travel next to each other.

While local officials are responsible for making sure that roads and sidewalks and walkways are designed in a manner that minimizes the chances of a North Carolina pedestrian accident or auto collision from happening, pedestrians and motorists are also responsible for making sure that they don’t cause a Raleigh traffic crash.

Some Common Causes of North Carolina Pedestrian Accidents:

• Distracted driving
• Drowsy driving
• Drunk driving
• Speeding
• Driving fast for present road conditions
• Failing to stop at a traffic light or stop sign
• Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian
• Auto products liability
• Driver inexperience
• Texting or talking on the cell phone while driving

Raleigh And Cary Rank Among Most Dangerous Cities For Pedestrians,, November 9, 2009

Raleigh-Cary ranks No. 6 in pedestrian danger, NewsObserver, November 10, 2009

Related Web Resources:
University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

Transportation for America

Surface Transportation Policy Partnership