Articles Posted in Car Accidents

While different states have different laws regarding school bus safety, nearly every state has laws in place to penalize drivers who fail to exercise caution when driving behind or passing school buses.

shutterstock_148242869-300x199In North Carolina, for example, drivers are required to stop when a school bus turns on its flashing red lights or displays its mechanical stop sign. The driver must not attempt to pass the bus until the sign has been withdrawn, the lights have been turned off and the bus has proceeded along its route.

If you are on a “divided highway with four lanes or more with a median separation or a center turning lane: When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop” according to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS).

Violations of these laws are serious. Drivers can expect fines and repeated offenses can lead to a suspension of a driver’s license.

North Carolina’s New School Bus Camera Law

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When Memorial Day comes around each year, we know it is the start of summer. Since many families in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina spend time outdoors and take vacations, now is the perfect time to think more about summer safety, Memorial Day safety, and ensuring that your family remains healthy throughout the season.

stockfresh_7102509_memorial-day-celebration_sizeS-300x277In the event that you or someone you love does sustain a serious injury this summer, an experienced Western North Carolina personal injury lawyer can help.

History of Memorial Day

When we gather around the picnic table or head out of town for a Memorial Day vacation, few of us think about the history of the holiday. According to an article from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Memorial Day officially became a holiday three years after the end of the Civil War in 1868. At that time, the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization made up of Union veterans) established May 30 as “Decoration Day,” or a time to decorate the graves of those killed in the Civil War.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a proposed rule that would enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication for all new light-duty vehicles. The proposed rule aims to prevent car accidents by letting vehicles communicate with each other.

This idea was first floated by the NHTSA nearly 3 years ago. If put into effect by 2019 as proposed, it would start phasing in the new rule in 2021, with 2023 set as the deadline for compliance.stockfresh_6593245_connected-car-truck-vehicle-autonomous_sizeS-300x253

How V2V Technology Works

V2V technology uses dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) to allow vehicles within about 1,000 feet of each other to exchange information about location, direction and speed. That info is sent 10 times per second, and vehicles with V2V can use that information to warn the driver about safety hazards.

If a vehicle has automated driving features, it can also use the V2V information to adapt its speed, direction, or braking in order to avoid crashes.

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A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 35,092 people died in car accidents in the U.S. last year – a 7.2% spike over 2014, and the biggest increase in 50 years.stockfresh_5997305_exploded-airbag_sizeS-300x200

The increased deaths are not just for passenger vehicles, but across all categories: cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, etc. According to the National Safety Council, North Carolina had the 5th highest increase in the number of car crash deaths in the United States from 2014 to 2015, a shocking 26% increase.

The sudden increase is surprising, since advances in safety, such as improved airbags, automated braking, backup cameras and blind spot warnings, should theoretically continue to prevent more and more accidents and make injuries less severe when they do happen.

stockfresh_791688_two-semi-trucks-on-the-highway_sizeS-300x200The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) are proposing a rule for heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks to be equipped with speed limiters (also called “speed governors”), preventing the vehicle from exceeding a set maximum speed. The maximum speeds suggested for the final rule are 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour. The government agencies involved say they will consider other speeds after receiving input from the public.

Speed limiters are being recommended in order to save lives and fuel costs. Heavy-duty vehicles inflict much more damage at high speeds than lighter-weight vehicles, so the hope is that capping speeds will reduce truck accident fatalities and serious injuries. According to NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, “This is basic physics…. Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”

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New research confirms that drivers affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be involved in serious car crashes. An article in JAMA Psychiatry reports that drivers with ADHD are about 50 percent more likely to be in accidents as compared to the rest of the population.stockfresh_501611_broken-glass_sizeS-300x200

The National Resource Center on ADHD notes that individuals with ADHD are prone to distraction, inattentiveness and impulsive behavior. These three issues also happen to be among the most common causes of car accidents.

To make matters even more challenging for parents of young drivers with ADHD, cell phones have become an increasingly tempting distraction. Parents need to be able to keep their young drivers safe. In the unfortunate event that a serious accident does occur, you need to have an experienced car accident attorney by your side throughout the claims process.

ADHD and Car Accidents: Understanding the Risks

According to a report from Reuters, a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found a clear link between ADHD and car accidents. After reviewing the driving history of more than 40,000 young drivers, the researchers determined that people with ADHD are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a serious car accident. This is a very alarming figure.

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stockfresh_7194510_man-sitting-in-car-with-mobile-phone-in-hand-texting-while-driving_sizeS-300x200For those wondering why their city suddenly seems to have more people out and about, a hit new game called Pokémon Go has people of all ages outside searching for Pokémon (yes, from that ’90s Japanese craze) to add to their collection.

The smartphone app superimposes cartoon characters on top of the image from the phone’s camera and, in conjunction with its GPS, creates a virtual reality game that makes it look like the Pokémon are on your street, or in parks, restaurants, businesses, etc. The app was an instant success, earning $7.5 billion in just two days, and according to Reuters, already had a higher usage rate than Twitter or Instagram less than a week after it was released.

Risks of the Game

The runaway success of the app has some undeniable benefits. Local businesses, museums, and even churches are seeing more traffic and interest because of the hordes of people looking for Pokémon to collect. Many people are going outdoors more often than before, getting more exercise, and interacting with other Pokémon Go players. But there are major risks involved in playing the game.

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stockfresh_1602288_car-headlight_sizeS-300x201With all the high-tech safety equipment on new cars today, it’s surprising that one of the oldest and most basic safety features could fall short of the mark on many vehicles – yet that’s exactly what a new report has found. A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that “new ratings show most headlights need improvement.”

Few would argue that headlights are not one of the most essential safety features of a car. As such, headlights that fail to illuminate the road properly should be of significant concern to drivers.

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stockfresh_3555264_asian-man-texting-while-driving_sizeS-300x200There are ways to test for alcohol-impaired driving, but it is much more difficult to determine whether a driver has broken the law by texting behind the wheel. That may change soon.

Breathalyzers are used by police officers when alcohol impairment is suspected, either when a driver is operating their vehicle erratically, or at the scene of an accident, for example. The use of breathalyzers is widely accepted and allows police officers to crack down on drinking and driving – a deadly behavior.

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stockfresh_6776571_connected-autonomous-cars_sizeS-300x200Self-driving cars are coming, and in the future, they may be a common way for people to get to and from where they need to go. But a new study reveals that most people are scared to ride in autonomous vehicles.

However, the dangers of being on the road may be the same, regardless of whether you are the one driving, or the computer is in charge.  Negligent drivers are all around us, and cause thousands of car accidents per year.  Citing safety concerns, the Association of Global Automakers recently urged the National Transportation Safety Administration to “slow down” its production of guidelines for the vehicles.

Drivers Trust Their Own Skills – But Should They?

According to a recent study conducted by AAA, and summarized in an article published on AutoBlog.com, three out of every four Americans are fearful about riding in self-driving automobiles. The report found that 84 percent of drivers said that they trusted their own driving skills more than those of a car computer.

Up until late February 2016, all of the accidents in which a self-driving car had been involved had been caused by another driver, not by the self-driving car. That changed when a Google vehicle recently collided with a bus in Mountain View, Calif. The accident happened when the self-driving car traveled into the center lane to make a right turn around some sandbags, wrongfully assuming that the approaching bus would slow and let the car pass.

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