January 2010

Elizabeth City Bus Accident Leaves Several Students with Injuries

January 30, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina traffic accident involving a school bus and a pickup truck has left the truck driver and several students with injuries. The Elizabeth City bus collision happened on Tuesday at around 3:39 pm at the US Highway 17 and Main Street intersection when one of the motor vehicles ran a traffic light.

The pickup truck struck Bus 137, which was carrying 42 students from Pasquotank High School and Elizabeth City Middle School. The school bus overturned, and 11 people were hurt.

Most of the students sustained bruises, joint injuries, bruises, and cuts, or experienced back or neck pain. One student suffered an asthma attack. Another student, age 15, started having seizures and was flown to a hospital for treatment of possible head injuries. The bus driver also was injured in the North Carolina bus accident.

The pickup truck’s driver, a woman in her 50’s, sustained multiple trauma and she may have internal injuries. She had to be cut from her vehicle, which had pinned her in.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been 1,409 school transportation-related crashes since 1998 resulting in 1,564 injuries, which breaks down to approximately 142 deaths/year. School-transportation-related collisions usually involves a school bus vehicle or a non-school bus that is used to transport kids to and from school or school-related activities.

Most school buses don’t have safety belts installed in the passenger seats, This can place students at risk of serious injury during a North Carolina bus crash. Kids can easily get thrown on top of each other, or into the front, back, or sides of the vehicles involved. In the event that the school bus were to overturn, students can easily strike their heads on the bus roof, resulting in injuries to minors.

North Carolina school bus accidents can happen because a driver, another motorist, or another party was negligent.

Students injured in school bus accident Tuesday, Daily Advance, January 27, 2010

Students injured in Elizabeth City school bus collision, Hampton Roads, January 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

School Transportation News

20-Year-Old Charlotte, North Carolina Pedestrian Struck by Alleged Drunk Driver Dies from Her Injuries

January 19, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Yesterday, mourners gathered on north Tyron Street to grieve over Shalenia Smith, who sustained serious injuries in a Charlotte, North Carolina pedestrian accident on Friday night. She died on Sunday.

Karen Owens, Smith’s mother, says her daughter and friend were crossing the street after a visit to Walmart when a car driven by 28-year-old Christopher Breeding struck her. He claims that the North Carolina pedestrian accident victim ran in front of his vehicle and he was unable to stop. He also says it was difficult to see the women that night because they were wearing dark clothing.

Breeding was arrested and charged with DWI. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says that more charges may be filed against him.

Smith leaves behind her mother and three siblings.

North Carolina Pedestrian Deaths
Losing someone you care about in a North Carolina pedestrian accident or car crash is tragic. All of a sudden, your life is irrevocably changed while the life of the person you love has been cut short for one of the worst reasons—because someone was reckless or careless or negligent. Drunk driving, speeding, texting while driving, talking on the phone will driving, failure to obey traffic signals, and driving under the influence of drugs are some reasons why pedestrian accidents happen.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding a Charlotte, North Carolina motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, funeral or cremation services, lost wages, loss of future wages, loss of benefits, punitive damages, mental trauma, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of inheritance, and other damages.

Vigil honors woman, 20, killed by car, Charlotte Observer, January 19, 2010

Woman hit by DWI suspect dies from injuries, WBTV, January 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Transportation

Pedestrians, 2008 Traffic Safety Facts, NHTSA (PDF)

Several People Injured in Durham Car Crashes Involving Driver Who Was Fleeing From Police

January 15, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A number of people were injured on Thursday when their vehicles were struck by a driver who trying to avoid getting a citation for a traffic violation. Now, Christopher Cyr, 20, faces charges of careless and reckless driving, felony hit-and-run, driving without a license, felony fleeing to elude officers, possession of drug paraphernalia, and running a red light while allegedly causing several North Carolina car crashes.

At around 12:45pm yesterday, Durham Police Officer R. L. Green reportedly tried to stop Cyr, who was driving a 1996 Chevrolet pickup truck. The Raleigh resident drove into a Hog Heaven parking lot but then left as Green exited his police car.

Cyr then drove onto an Interstate 85 South entrance ramp where he hit a Toyota Camry. Police were not chasing Cyr when the Durham car crash happened. The Toyota’s driver sustained minor injuries.

Cyr entered the freeway, exiting through the Hillandale Road exit where he is accused of running a red light and crashing into a work van driven by Durham resident Matthew Furtick. The van then crashed into a 2001 Toyota Tacoma, driven by 63-year-old Burlington resident David Donovan, before going across the median and rolling over a Durham police car driven by Officer B. T. Francis.

Francis, Furtick, and Donovan were treated for injuries.

North Carolina Car Accidents
If you were injured in a North Carolina motor vehicle crash, it is important that you document as much as you can about what happened, including when and where the collision happened and who was involved. You should also obtain the contact information of the other motorists, as well as any witnesses.

Do NOT speak with the other party’s insurer without consulting with a Durham car accident law firm first. Many times, a negligent motorist’s insurance company will try to get you to settle your North Carolina motor vehicle claim before you even have an opportunity to find out about the extent of your injuries and damages, as well as how much your medical expenses, rehabilitation services, and lost wages will cost.

Man Fleeing From Traffic Stop Causes Five Accidents, DurhamCountyMyNC.com, January 14, 2010

Durham officer injured in chase, WRAL.com, January 14, 2010

Related Web Resources:
What to do after a car accident, MSN

NCDOT Division of Motor Vehicles

North Carolina Auto Products Liability?: NHTSA Reports 16.4 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2009

January 13, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The National Highway Safety Administration is reporting that auto manufacturers recalled 16.4 million motor vehicles last year—that’s 6 million more autos recalled than in 2008. Granted, the 492 vehicle recalls of 2009 is less than the number of vehicles recalled in 2007 and 2008, respectively, but significantly large campaigns by Ford Motor Co. and Toyota resulted in an increase in the total number of vehicles recalled for the year.

With 9 recalls involving 4.87 million autos, Toyota led the list as the auto manufacturer with the most recalls for 2009. This included the recall of at least 3.8 million vehicles after four people were killed when the floor mat on the driver’s side jammed the gas pedal, making it impossible for him stop the vehicle as it accelerated to speeds of over 100 mph before crashing.

Other large vehicle recalls of 2009:

• Ford Motor Co. announced 8 recalls involving 4.5 million motor vehicles. The car maker recalled just 1.5 million autos in 2008.

• General Motors. Co. recalled 2.2 million autos during 16 campaigns.

• Nissan Motor. Co. recalled 706,000 autos during 7 campaigns.

• Chrysler Group LLC recalled almost 590,000 autos during 15 campaigns.

• Honda announced 4 recall campaigns involving 454,000 motor vehicles.

• Hyundai Motor Co. recalled 1.3 million autos during 8 campaigns.

• Volkswagen AG recalled 100,000 autos during 8 campaigns.

Auto defects can prove dangerous for vehicle occupants and others on the road. Poorly designed seat belts, faulty seat backs, engine defects, accelerator defects, defective tires, poorly designed roofs, airbag defects, and defective brakes are just some of the many reasons why an automaker might decide to recall a particular make and model. Unfortunately, North Carolina personal injuries and wrongful deaths may already have occurred before the defective part is identified and the recall is announced.

Auto recalls surge in ’09, NHTSA says, Detroit News, January 12, 2010

AutoRecalls, Justia

Related Web Resource:
Motor Vehicle Safety Defects and Recalls Campaigns, NHTSA

Texting while Driving Increases North Carolina Car Crash Risk by Six Times

January 5, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Researchers are now saying that drivers who text have a six times more likely chance of being involved in a car crash than motorists who are just focused on driving. They also say that texting while driving is more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

The researchers, a group of psychologists at the University of Utah, studied young adults while they were in a virtual driving simulator. All of the participants were seasoned texters. The researchers discovered that when a “driver” was texting, the motorist exhibited a decrease in reaction time when the distance between the his/or her auto and the vehicle ahead narrowed.

Researchers report that when a driver was taking on a cell phone, the motorist’s attention was divided between two tasks. This allowed the driver to navigate between two activities and adjust processing priorities based on what was needed in the moment.

Meantime, texting required the driver to take attention completely off driving and onto text messaging, lowering braking and reaction times. Reading texts also proved more distracting than composing text messages.

According to the simulator test results, compared to when a motorist was driving without distraction, driver reaction time went up 30% while texting and 9% when talking on a cell phone. More about the study and its findings can be found in Human Factors.

Texting while driving is becoming a common killer of motorists and pedestrians. There is no longer any doubt that it is a distracted driving habit that is a careless and reckless practice and one that can be grounds for a North Carolina car accident lawsuit.

Unfortunately, despite a ban in North Carolina prohibiting texting while driving, there are drivers who continue to send and receive messages.

Texting While Driving Raises Crash Risk Sixfold, Business Week, December 21, 2009

Why texting while driving is so dangerous, University of Utah, December 21, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Drowsy and Distracted Driving, NHTSA