December 2010

Teen Killed in Winston-Salem Pedestrian Accident While Waiting for Bus

December 31, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Stefan Jalen Fairfax, 17, died on Wednesday when he was hit by an SUV in a Winston-Salem car accident. The teenager was waiting for the city bus on North Cherry Street when the vehicle drove off the road and hit him. Fairfax was pronounced dead at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

It is not yet known whether charges will be filed against Omar Joseph Daniel Scott, the 27-year-old SUV driver. MyFox8, however, says that investigators’ preliminary findings show that Scott may have been distracted at the time of the North Carolina car accident. The Winston-Salem Journal says that Fairfax’s mother Sandra wants more answers.

Our Winston-Salem injury lawyers know how hard it can be to lose someone you love during a North Carolina traffic crash—especially when the accident occurs during the holidays. Now, more than ever, when the road and weather conditions and visibility are not ideal conditions for driving, motorists must be extra vigilant to avoid becoming involved in a collision. For example, distracted driving, which sounds like a harmless enough activity, can prove fatal when the driver fails to pay attention to the road for even just a few seconds for any reason.

Distracted Driving
Distracted driving was the cause of death for almost 5,500 people in 2009. Another 500,000 suffered injuries. Often, when we hear about distracted driving, talking on a cell phone or texting while driving come to mind. While these two habits definitely rank high on the list of dangerous distracted driving activities, just looking down for a few seconds to fiddle with an iPod or open up a bag of chips can prove fatal if the driver ends up hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian.

Other Distracted Driving Activities:
• Applying makeup
• Removing nail polish
• Watching a movie
• Surfing the Internet
• Changing clothing
• Eating or drinking
• Playing with a pet
• Reading a book or newspaper
• Becoming engrossed in a conversation
• Changing songs on an MP3 player

It is important that you know that there are options available to you for holding any responsible parties liable.

Teen Hit by SUV, Killed While Waiting for City Bus, MyFox8, December 30, 2010

Victim’s mother wants driver charged in son’s death, Winston-Salem Journal, December 31, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving,

Distracted Driving, NHTSA

North Carolina Car Crash Involving Alleged Drunk Driver Kills 24-year-Old Chester Woman

December 28, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Hannah Floyd, a Chester resident, died this weekend in a Mecklenburg County, North Carolina car crash. The 24-year-old, who had just graduated from Winthrop University, was a passenger in a vehicle that went off the right side of northbound Interstate 85.

According to police, the car’s driver, Maegan Dacus, lost control of the auto on the icy road before striking a utility pole. They say that even though the vehicle was traveling at a velocity that was under the speed limit, the auto was still moving at a rate that was too fast for the snow and ice conditions on the road. Dacus and another passenger also sustained injuries.

Dacus, who was admitted to Carolina Medical Center, is charged with DWI. More charges are likely. There were at least three other deadly North Carolina traffic crashes over the weekend.

In other Charlotte, North Carolina motor vehicle crash news, police have apprehended 39-year-old Ronald Jason Butler after he allegedly fled a truck-bus crash site last night.

Butler is accused of rear-ending a Charlotte Area Transit System bus while driving a 2001 Chevrolet truck on South Tryon Street at the Interstate 485 ramp. According to bus driver Jerico Ortiz, he had just started to drive away from the intersection after stopping for a traffic signal when the North Carolina truck-bus accident happened. Ortiz and two bus passengers were transported to the hospital and treated for back and neck pain.

Butler, who was found not far from the collision site, is charged with hit-and-run, DWI, and driving with a revoked license.

Drunk Driving
Driving while intoxicated is dangerous when done anytime of the year. That said, in winter weather, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can make it even more difficult to pay attention to the road and traffic conditions and keep proper control of the vehicle when maneuvering over ice and snow.

Across the nation. law enforcement officers are engaged in their yearly winter holiday crackdown known as “Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest.” We hope this season is as safe one for you and your family.

Man charged after hit-and-run with CATS bus leaves several injured, WBTV, December 28, 2010

Winthrop grad, 24, killed in NC crash; Driver charged with DWI, Charlotte Observer, December 28, 2010

Safe Driving in Ice, Rain, and Snow May Prevent Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 18, 2010

38 School Kids Injured in Multi-North Carolina Bus Accident

December 22, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina bus accident involving three school buses on Monday inured 38 students. School bus driver Boyce Goldston has been charged with failure to decrease speed as necessary to avoid colliding with another vehicle.

Goldston, an Asheboro City school bus driver, is accused of rear-ending another school bus, which caused the multi-vehicle North Carolina bus crash involving the third bus. 35 of the middle school students were treated at local hospitals for non-life threatening injuries, including back and neck pain. The school buses were going to Raleigh for a field trip when the collision happened. Per Justice News Flash, according to Lt. Tracey Barker of the Cary Police Department, Goldston became distracted by the sound of a buzzer and looked down for a moment, which was when the vehicles in front of him stopped moving.

In other recent North Carolina car accident news, North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper Brett Daniels was sent to the hospital with hip and leg injuries after he was involved in a Winston-Salem traffic accident on Friday. Daniels was reportedly standing at the scene of another North Carolina motor vehicle crash on I-40 when a Ford Explorer driven by a woman hit a patch of ice and drove into the trooper’s patrol car. The trooper vehicle then struck Daniels. Charges are pending against the SUV’s driver over the Forsyth County car accident.

Exploring Your Legal Options After a North Carolina Car Accident
Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm is aware that exploring your legal options is probably the last item that you want to have on your To-Do List during the holiday season. That said, the sooner you have someone on your side investigating the crash scene, examining accident reports, talking to witnesses, and assessing your injuries, the better your chances of building a strong case for North Carolina injury recovery against all liable parties.

Trooper Treated For Leg, Hip Injuries, WXII, December 17, 2010

Bus Driver Charged in Accident that Injured 38 Students, Fox8, December 21, 2010

Cary NC Chain-Reaction Crash: 38 Kids Hospitalized After 3 School Buses Collide, Justice News Flash, December 22, 2010

Related Web Resources:
The National Coalition for School Bus Safety

School Bus Passenger Safety, National Transportation Safety Board

Safe Driving in Ice, Rain, and Snow May Prevent Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accidents

December 18, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

During this time of year, poor weather conditions can make the roads dangerous for motorists, which is why it is even more important than ever that drivers operate their vehicles safely. Driver inattention, speeding, drunk driving, drugged driving, and distracted driving can be deadly especially when there is rain, ice, or snow on the roads.

To avoid becoming involved in a Charlotte, North Carolina car crash, truck collision, motorcycle accident, or bus collision, here are some winter safe driving tips:

• Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so you don’t have to rush.
• Wait until sanding trucks and snow plows have done their jobs before getting on the road.
• Make sure that your vehicle is properly maintained and ready to tackle the road conditions.
• Drive at a slower speed when the weather conditions are rough.
• Brake gently to decrease the chances of skidding.
• Activate your lights so other motorists can see you.
• Don’t use cruise control when driving on icy roads.
• Try not to pass sanding trucks and snow plows whose drivers likely have limited visibility.
• Make sure that your windows and lights are cleared of ice and snow before driving.
• Pay attention to the road conditions and traffic.

Even if weather conditions are not ideal, it is still a driver’s responsibility to operate a vehicle safely. Careless, negligent, or reckless driving can cause catastrophic Monroe, North Carolina car wrecks that may leave victims with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, internal injuries, back injuries, broken bones, and head injuries. Thousands of people are killed in US motor vehicle wrecks annually.

Driving in Snow and Ice, The Weather Channel

Safe winter driving tips, Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Weather

North Carolina Department of Transportation

North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Crash Involving School Bus Injures Seven Middle School Students

December 13, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina semi-truck crash involving a school bus on Friday left seven Bunn Middle School kids and their bus driver with minor injuries. Town officials say that the tractor-trailer accident happened because the truck’s brakes allegedly failed as it attempted to stop for a red light. The semi-truck then struck the bus and a smaller truck. State Highway Patrol’s Motor Carrier Enforcement section is probing the truck collision.

Brake Failure
According to the US Department of Transportation Large Truck Crash Causation Study, brake failure and other brake-related issues are the cause of 29.4% of all large truck crashes. Large trucks, which weigh thousands of pounds and can carry thousands of pounds of cargo, cannot afford to have their brakes go out on them.

Brake malfunction, brake defect, and improper brake maintenance can all lead to catastrophic truck crashes. Brake problems can increase the amount of time a truck needs to come to a full stop. They can also make it harder for a truck to avoid getting involved in a traffic crash.

Commercial truckers must be properly trained when operating their large vehicles. An inadequately trained trucker may not know how to perform the proper braking method, and this too can result in serious truck collisions. The sudden stepping of the brakes is a common cause of jackknife truck crashes, which can cause collisions involving multiple vehicles.

7 students, driver injured in activity bus accident in Wake Forest, News Observer, December 10, 2010

7 Students Treated For Minor Injuries After Bus Accident, NBC17, December 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
The Large Truck Causation Study, FMCSA, July 2007

North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog

Heavy Truck Brake Lining Performance Characterization, ESTD

Fatality Analysis Reporting System, NHTSA

Will Proposed NHTSA Rule Help Prevent North Carolina Backover Accidents?

December 8, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule that will hopefully decrease the number of vehicle backover accidents that occur. Under the proposed rule, pickup trucks, passenger cars, buses, minivans, and low-speed autos that have a gross vehicle weight rating of no more than 10,000 pounds would have to be equipped with a field of view that would allow their drivers to see directly behind the autos when the cars are going in reverse. NHTSA believes that in-vehicle displays and rear-mounted video cameras could satisfy this requirement.

Meeting the proposed rule’s requirements means that 10% of new autos have to be in compliance by September 2012, 40% by September 2013, and 100% by September 2014. The proposed rule was required under the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, which was named after a 2-year-old boy who died when his dad accidentally backed over him with an auto.

NHTSA says that about 292 deaths and 18,000 injuries annually can be attributed to back-over accidents. Light weight vehicles weighing no more than 10,000 pounds or under played a role in 228 of these deaths. About 44% of the victims of these light vehicle crashes were kids, while 33% were seniors from the 70 and over age group.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers represent the families of children and the elderly who have suffered serious pedestrian injuries in a traffic crash. In some cases, a tragic traffic crash will happen because a driver was negligent. In other cases, pedestrian error was the cause. Still, other cases can occur because of a vehicle malfunctioned or was designed inadequately.

Even when all new vehicles are equipped with new backover prevention technology, a driver must still pay attention and exercise caution. Here are some steps to prevent becoming involved in a backover crash:

• Look behind the car and make sure there is no one behind the vehicle.
• Back up slowly.
• Constantly check back there to make sure there is no one behind you.
• Know how big your blind spot it so that you can work with it.
• Pay attention
• Don’t drive while distracted.

U.S. DOT Proposes Rear View Visibility Rule to Protect Kids and the Elderly, NHTSA, December 3, 2010

Rear Visibility Rulemaking, NHTSA (PDF)

Backover Crashes, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Blind zones and backover accidents, Consumer Reports