September 2010

Speed Was a Factor in North Carolina Car Accident Involving Teen Driver and School Bus

September 30, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to police, the 16-year-old driver of a car that rear-ended a Wake County school bus had been speeding. Charges are pending against David Lawrence Asato, a Franklinton teen.

The Raleigh car crash happened on Monday afternoon when Asato, who was driving a 2006 Kia, ran into and the bus, which then collided with a 1999 Honda. Killed in the North Carolina traffic accident was 14-year-old Jared Paul Williams, who was a passenger in the Kia. Asato and another passenger, 15-year-old Nolan Mayo Lundberg, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

There were no students on the bus when the North Carolina bus accident happened. The bus driver and the two people in the Honda did not get hurt.

Police say that Asato had been driving at 60 mph when the speed limit was 45 mph. Also, they say there is no indication that the teenager tried to swerve or brake to avoid causing the traffic crash.

Asato has a provisional driver’s license. He is not allowed to have more than one non-family passenger in his vehicle when he is driving.

Speeding is one of the most common traffic violations committed on US roads. Many people don’t think they are doing anything wrong when they over the speed limit or fail to slow down when the road or weather conditions are poor. However, speeding is a factor in many US car crashes.

Why speeding can be dangerous:
• It makes it easier for a driver to lose control of a vehicle.
• It increases how much time a driver will need to stop his/her car.
• It increases the force of impact during a traffic crash.
• It takes longer for a driver who is driving at a high speed to come to a stop.
• It makes it harder for a driver to regain control of a vehicle.

Report: Teens were speeding before fatal north Raleigh wreck, WRAL, September 28, 2010

Car-school bus crash kills boy, 14, NewsObserver, September 28, 2010

Related Web Resources:
What Causes Car Accidents?,


Keeping Your Child Safe During North Carolina Car Crashes

September 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

This week is Child Passenger Safety Week and Governor Bev Purdue is reminding parents and guardians to make sure that their kids are safely secured—whether by a eat belt or child safety seat—when riding in a vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that motor vehicle collisions continue to be the leading cause of fatalities for children in the 3 to 14 group.

Making sure that your child is using a safety restraint system that is free of defects, properly installed, and used correctly can save their life. According to the NHTSA, use of a child safety seats can lower an infant’s fatality risk in a car crash by 71%. Toddlers’ risk of fatal injury can go down by 54% when they too are properly secured in a child safety restraint system. Older children see their fatality risk lowered significantly too when they use seat belts correctly.

Unfortunately, according to the NHTSA three out of every four car seats used are not installed correctly—and this error can prove deadly. Sometimes, improper installation will occur because a parent or guardian failed to read the instructions that come with the product. That said, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that their child safety restraint products have no defects, include any necessary warnings, and come with the proper instructions for installation and use. They can be held liable for North Carolina products liability if injuries or deaths result from negligence on their part.

As part of Child Passenger Safety week, Safe Kids North Carolina Coalitions will hold child passenger safety clinics. They are also offering low-cost safety seats to recipients that qualify. September 25 is National Seat Check Saturday. If you go to a safety seat inspection site near you, an inspector will check your child’s safety seat for free.

In 2009, 1,314 kids in the 14 and under age group died in US traffic crashes. 179,000 of them suffered traffic crash injuries.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm represent families whose children were injured in motor vehicle crashes because a motorist, an automaker, a child safety seat manufacturer, a seat belt maker, or another party was liable for personal injury, products liability, or wrongful death.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Unveils New Data and Urges Parents to Install Proper Safety Seats During Child Passenger Safety Week, NHTSA, September 23, 2010

Children: Traffic Safety Facts 2009 Data, NHTSA (PDF)

North Carolina Holds Child Passenger Safety Week, GovMonitor, September 21, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Child Safety, NHTSA

SafeKids North Carolina

Six-Year-Old Struck by Cabarrus County School Bus Sustains Life Threatening Injuries

September 18, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A six-year-old boy injured in a Kannapolis, North Carolina school bus on Wednesday had to be flown to the hospital for treatment of his life threatening injuries. Demarea Jwantae Porter is a student at Royal Oaks Elementary School. As of Thursday, he remained in critical condition.

The Kannapolis bus accident occurred past the school bus stop in a cul-de-sac at the end of University Drive. According to police, Bus #48 was turning right into the cul-de-sac when Porter, who was chasing after the bus, went off the curb and fell. It was then that the bus’s right rear tires hit him. According to Porter’s family, he sustained internal bleeding in his brain and stomach.

School bus driver Thomasina Colclough has been placed on paid suspension while an investigation is conducted. At this time, there are no charges pending.

North Carolina School Bus Accidents
If you, your child, or another family member was injured in a school bus crash it is important that you speak with a North Carolina motor vehicle crash law firm immediately to determine whether you should file a claim. The sooner you begin exploring your legal options the easier it will be for your North Carolina injury lawyer to start gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses.

Porter is not the only one to get hurt in a North Carolina bus crash this month. Following a Davidson County bus crash on September 10, at least six students were transported the hospital after their school bus, which was headed to Reeds Elementary School, was rear-ended by an SUV. A school official says no one was seriously hurt. The SUV driver sustained serious injuries.

Just the day before, a High Point, North Carolina school bus crash injured two people that were riding in other vehicles during a multi-vehicle crash that occurred close to the intersection of West Lexington Avenue and Rotary Drive. The bus driver, who reportedly wasn’t looking at the road and was disciplining a student, caused a chain reaction crash by rear-ending a car. Fortunately, none of the 59 children on the bus were hurt.

6-year-old falls, run over by school bus; in critical condition, WBTV, September 15, 2010

6 Students Taken To Hospital After School Bus Crash, WXII, September 10, 2010

Bus Driver Cited in School Bus Accident, Fox8, September 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Child Passenger Safety, NTSB

North Carolina School Bus Safety

The Number of North Carolina Motorcycle Deaths is On the Rise

September 16, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The NC Highway Patrol says that the number of North Carolina motorcycle deaths went up 20% this year. As of last Thursday, 78 people had already died in North Carolina motorcycle crashes this year—compared to the 65 North Carolina motorcyclist fatalities that occurred by around the same time last year. This year’s total so far already exceeds the 79 motorcycle fatalities that occurred in the state in 2009.

Meantime, the S.C. Highway Patrol reports that the number of South Carolina motorcycle deaths has been dropping for the last three years. The latest figures are not available at this time.

According to AAA Carolinas CEO and President David Parsons, motorcyclist inexperience and lack of safety training are just two of the causes of North Carolina motorcycle deaths. Motorcyclists in North Carolina can get a temporary, 18-month permit that can be renewed indefinitely merely by passing a highway sign test, a vision test, and a written motorcycle information test.

Also, a loophole in North Carolina law lets riders drive even if they haven’t undergone safety training. People that have lost their driver’s license after committing driving infractions, such as DWI, can still use a moped or scooter. Parsons notes that mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles are among the most vulnerable motorized vehicles on highways. Also, only some insurance companies require that motorcyclists take driver safety courses.

In South Carolina, motorcyclists can’t get their license unless they’ve passed a skilled road test. Riders in the state, however, are not required to wear a helmet when riding.

While rider inexperience can cause Charlotte, North Carolina motorcycle crashes, there are those accidents that occur because the driver of a motor vehicle or another party was negligent. Even with a helmet and protective clothing motorcyclists are at great risk of injury or death whenever they are involved in a crash—especially if another vehicle was involved. Road burns, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death can result.

Motorcycle deaths rise statewide, Charlotte Observer, September 13, 2010

Motorcycle Deaths On The Rise In The State, WCTI12

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina State Motorcycle Laws, American Motorcyclist Association

State Highway Patrol, North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety

NHTSA Reports 1,314 North Carolina Traffic Deaths and 894 South Carolina Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in 2009

September 9, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 33,808 US motor vehicle accident deaths in the US last year. This is the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1950 and 9.7% less than the number of auto crash fatalities that occurred in 2008 when 37,423 people were killed.

The decline in traffic deaths was also reflected in North Carolina, which reported 1,314 traffic fatalities in 2009—compared to the 1,423 North Carolina motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2008—and in South Carolina, where there were 894 traffic deaths last year compared to the 921 South Carolina motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2008.

Other Current US Traffic Facts, from the NHTSA:
• After 11 straight years that have seen a rise in the number of motorcycle deaths, the yearly number of motorcycle accident fatalities went down from 5,312 deaths in 2008 to 4,462 motorcycle crash fatalities in 2009.

• There were 23,382 passenger vehicle deaths last year. This figure is down from 25,462 passenger vehicle fatalities in 2008.

• Large truck fatalities saw a drop from 682 truck accident deaths in 2008 to 503 truck crash fatalities last year.

• There were 4,092 US pedestrian deaths in 2009. This is down from 4,412 fatalities in 2008.

• Pedalcyclist fatalities dropped from 718 deaths the year before to 630 pedalcyclist fatalities in 2009.

• Drunk driver-related deaths dropped by 7.4% last year to 10,839 fatalities.

• About 2.22 million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents last year. Compare this to the 2.35 million traffic crash injuries in 2008. This is the 10th year in a row that the number of motor vehicle accident injuries has gone down.

Any decline in traffic crash deaths is good news. However, as NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, over 30,000 people still died in motor vehicle collisions last year and 1/3rd of those deaths involved alcohol-impaired motorists. There is a lot more that needs to be done to bring down the traffic death and injury count down in this country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Lowest Traffic Fatalities in Six Decades, NHTSA, September 9, 2010

Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Transportation

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety