Holidays and Car Crashes

Holidays and Car Crashes

By Roy McDonald, Attorney at Law The holiday season is fast approaching. While most of us will be celebrating with family and friends, there is something none of us want to think about: the holidays often mean increases in car crashes. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported the following statistics for 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available): For the four-day Thanksgiving holiday period, there were 2,746 crashes reported Those crashes resulted in 1,213 injuries and 23 fatalities 207 of those crashes were alcohol related Over the four-day Christmas holiday period, 2,206 crashes were reported Those crashes resulted in 1,011 injuries and 5 fatalities 176 of these crashes were alcohol related The NC DOT captures contributing causes of all accidents reported to the police. Speed, lane departure, and distracted driving are three leading causes of accidents. While crashes involving alcohol accounted for only 4.1% of all crashes, these accidents were deadly. During the holidays, we are often in a hurry and distracted by our busy lives. It is crucial that all drivers be in the moment when they are behind the wheel. You may be a safe driver, but if the other person is impaired or distracted, you may pay the price. Safety Tips You can take steps to help avoid car crashes. Here are a few safety reminders. Drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings. Obey the speed limit signs, adjusting your speed down in cases of reduced visibility or other dangers. Leave a safe stopping distance between you and the car ahead. Focus on driving. Put away the mobile device, food/drink, and...
Automobile Accident Checklist

Automobile Accident Checklist

If you have ever been in an automobile accident, you know that disjointed feeling of, “what do I do next?” Here’s a helpful checklist for you to review: If you are injured: Call 9-1-1 and ask for the police and paramedics to respond. Seek immediate medical attention, even if it means an ambulance ride to the hospital. Automobile accidents are stressful. Stress can mask the symptoms of an injury. If you are not sure whether you are injured, or if symptoms of any injury arise after the accident, go to the emergency room or get checked out by your family doctor. Do not worry about your vehicle. Your health is more important than your property. If you are not injured and it is safe to do so: Call 9-1-1 and ask for the police (and paramedics if anyone is injured) to respond. Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses. People sometimes leave the scene of an accident, so get this information as soon as possible. Get all the drivers’ insurance company names and policy numbers, license numbers, and the make, model, year, and tag of the vehicle they were driving. Take pictures of the vehicles and surrounding area, including any traffic lights, traffic signs, skid marks, debris, etc. If your car must be towed, remove all personal items and valuables from the vehicle (don’t forget your garage door opener). Do not make statements about or respond to statements about fault. When the police arrive, give a factual account of what happened. Do not say the accident was your fault – even if it...
Good News & Bad News About Automobile Accidents

Good News & Bad News About Automobile Accidents

Federal, state, and local governments have been tracking automobile accident data for many years now. In North Carolina, the data from 1960 through 2014 show positive and negative trends. On the positive side, there has been a steady decline since the early 1970’s in the rate of people killed in automobile accidents. This is due to a number of factors, including engineering and safety improvements in the manufacture of automobiles and advances in the medical field. Beginning in the mid-1990’s, the rate of injuries has also declined steadily, likely also due to safety improvements in automobiles and an increase in seat belt usage from the mid-1990’s to the mid-2000’s. On the negative side, there are still on average more than 600 accidents every day in North Carolina, with more than 30% of those resulting in injuries and 0.5% in deaths. Those statistics increase when there are tractor-trailers, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, bicycles, or pedestrians involved. When the weather gets nicer, the number of motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles on the road increases (e.g. most motorcycle accidents occur between May and October). Speed is a big factor in many automobile accidents, accounting for approximately one-third of all accidents, injuries, and fatalities. For teens, speeding is a factor in one-third of accidents, but still accounted for 65% of fatalities. While you may not be able to avoid being involved in an automobile accident, here are some steps you can take to minimize your risks: Wear your seatbelt and ensure your children and other passengers are properly restrained. Avoid distractions while driving (cell phones, eating/drinking, adjusting the radio or GPS, talking with passengers, etc.)....
Top 3 Causes of Auto Accidents in NC

Top 3 Causes of Auto Accidents in NC

By E. Drew Nelson, Attorney Whether we are drivers or passengers, most of us travel in vehicles on the roads in North Carolina every day. Unfortunately, each day a percentage of those vehicles will be involved in a crash. In 2012 (the most recently published statistics ), there were 213,605 crashes reported in the state. In those crashes, 110,406 people were injured and 1,262 were killed (including 34 in Davidson County and 42 in Guilford County). The Top 3 Causes Every time the police file a crash report, it notes any known circumstance that contributed to the accident. This includes such things as alcohol or drug use, speeding, mechanical problems, weather conditions, etc. Each crash may have more than one contributing circumstance, for example, a speeding driver may also be distracted. Here are the top three causes of crashes in North Carolina: #1 Speed: 32% of all crashes involved vehicles driving faster than they should have. This includes not only exceeding the posted speed limit, but also driving too fast for conditions and failure to reduce speed when necessary (the cause of many rear-end collisions). Speed-related accidents were responsible for 31.6% of fatalities. #2 Lane Departure: 24.3% of crashes involved vehicles changing lanes improperly, crossing the center line, overcorrecting, etc. #3 Distracted Driving: 23.2% of crashes involved drivers who were distracted. Distractions include anything that takes your attention away from driving, including texting, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio or GPS, talking with passengers, etc. While not in the top three, alcohol and drug related crashes account for 5.3% of auto accidents and a frightening...