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Teenage drivers cause more auto accidents than people in any other age group. This can be attributed to a general inexperience behind the wheel and an overall sense of invincibility. Teens very rarely believe that anything will happen to them or their friends, and they believe that driver’s education gives them all of the training they need to be experts on the road.

Neither of these things are true, of course. Teens are not invincible, and a few months of driver’s education does little but teach children the basic mechanics of driving and the laws in their state. As more students drive to school this year in North Carolina, here are five tips that will help keep teens safe when they get behind the wheel.

1. Turn Off the Phone

Even adults have a difficult time not reaching for their phone if it rings or an alert sounds. Put your phone in your purse, in the glove box or even in the backseat. Don’t be tempted to use it for any reason while you are behind the wheel.

2. Headlights

Headlights increase a vehicle’s visibility even when the sun is out. Teens should always drive with their headlights on to make their car easy to see. Don’t rely on a vehicle’s automatic light system to control your headlights for you.

3. Don’t Speed

Speed limits are put in place for a reason. They tell you what speed is safe for the are you are driving in. Avoid the temptation to speed, no matter how big of a hurry you are in. Get in the habit of leaving your house five or 10 minutes early so you are sure to get where you are going on time.

4. Drive Alone

Teenagers should not drive with a car full of people and, in some states, it is actually illegal to do so. Passengers should be kept to a minimum when a teenager is behind the wheel.

5. Minimize Distractions

When you are behind the wheel, your sole focus should be on driving. Eating, using a cell phone, drinking, grooming and anything else that takes your focus off of the road ahead should be avoided at all times.

Teenage drivers are no inept, they are simply inexperienced. That inexperience means that teens don’t react to emergency or unexpected situations like a more experienced driver would. If your teen is getting behind the wheel for the first time, share this article with them and use it to establish house rules.

If you or your teen has been injured in a car accident in Charlotte, our lawyers are here for you. Call now and let us review the details of your accident at no cost to you. We will advise you of your options and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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A teenager and alcohol is not only an illegal combination, it is a dangerous one. Teenage drunk driving injures or kills thousands of people each year. You may have had a talk with your teenager, or one that you know, about the dangers of alcohol and drunk driving, but have you given them the skills they need to say no?

It can be difficult for teens to say no to their friends. It can also be difficult to refuse temptation. By developing the right skills, your teen will find it easier to overcome peer pressure. Here are some skills you can help your teen practice.

  1. Reasoning

Sometimes simply saying no is not enough. People will continue to pressure your teen because, in reality, there has been no reason given. Help your teenager come up with a few good reasons for saying no. These might include a desire to keep a clear head, an unwillingness to lose privileges in or out of the home or even a simple, “I don’t drink because I don’t want to.”

  1. Concern

Teach your teen to verbalize their concern for friends who choose to drink. This can be helpful for teens who find themselves in social situations. What can your teenager say to their friend to persuade them to not drink? Brainstorm some ideas together.

  1. Alternatives

Help your teenager think of alternatives to drinking or to social situations in which drinking may occur. There are dozens of healthier and smarter alternatives to drinking alcohol.

  1. Body Language

If your teen turns down a drink while looking at the floor, shuffling their feet or talking under their breath, they aren’t going to be taken seriously. Teach your child about strong, confident body language. Eye contact, pulled-back shoulders and a firm stance will all make your teen come across as serious.

  1. Ride Home

Your teen may be confronted with a situation out of their control. They may encounter alcohol unexpectedly or be forced to deal with friends who choose to drink. Make sure that your child always knows that they can call you for a ride home that is free of lecture or punishment.

Teenage drunk driving is something that everyone needs to take seriously. When you take the time to equip your teen with ways to say no, they may be less likely to drink with friends and acquaintances. Use the tips above and start teaching your young adult how to turn down temptation.

If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, call our offices today. Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to assist you. Call now.

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As the parent or guardian of a teenage driver, you are understandably concerned about allowing your young adult to take control of the vehicle. Watching your teen pull out of the driveway in your car can be a stressful experience. When you have taken the time to lay down the ground rules, you can relax a bit, even if not totally. The following is a great set of rules for any teenage driver.

No Phone

Your teen should not be permitted to use their phone in the vehicle for any purposes outside of an emergency. That includes Bluetooth receivers that allow for hands-free phone conversations. Laws prevent people from texting and driving, and punishments are harsher for teens.

No Texting

No texting should go without saying, especially with a no phone rule. Be implicit with your teenager and include the no texting rule along with the no cell phone rule. It takes 4.6 seconds to cover the length of a football field…the same amount of time that texting, on average, takes your focus off of the road.

Headlights On

If the car your teen is driving does not have daytime running lights, insist that they keep their headlights on at all times. Headlights increase the vehicle’s visibility to other drivers. When your teen gets in the habit of turning on the lights automatically, you don’t have to worry that they are not using them early in the morning or late in the evening.

Traffic Laws

Make sure that your teen is familiar with the traffic laws in the area. Speed limits should be obeyed, and traffic laws should be followed. Your teen should have learned these in driver’s ed.

Passengers

Even a single passenger in the car can increase your teen’s chance for being involved in an accident. Until your young adult gets more experience behind the wheel, no passengers allowed.

No Distractions

Make sure your teen understands that they are in the car to drive, and only to drive. Cars are not night clubs, they aren’t bedrooms, and they aren’t restaurants. Distracted driving is one of the number one causes of accidents among teenagers.

There is nothing that will eliminate the stress you feel at the thought of your teen getting behind the wheel. Knowing that they understand the ground rules can make you feel a bit more at ease. Take the time to tell your teen exactly what you expect, and don’t expect, when they are in control of a vehicle.

If you or your family member has been involved in an accident, call our offices today. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help. Call now.

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Thue via Wikimedia Creative Commons LicenseA 17-year-old girl is recovering from injuries she suffered in a single vehicle accident on Wednesday.

According to authorities, Kailey Miller was traveling at what investigators believe was excessive speed, on Parkwood School Road when she passed another vehicle in a non-passing zone. An oncoming vehicle forced her to swerve back into her lane where she lost control and struck a tree. Miller’s vehicle struck the tree with such force that the engine was expelled through the hood to land several feet from the point of impact.

Miller, who was pinned, had to be removed from her vehicle with the jaws-of-life. She was then transported to Parkwood High School where a volleyball game was in progress.  The game was interrupted so that a medical helicopter could be landed there to transport Miller to Carolinas Medical Center.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed, in a car, motorcycle or truck accidents, or any other serious personal injury claim, you don’t have to go through such difficult situations alone. With over 20 years of experience, the attorneys at Auger & Auger are here to listen to you and answer your questions. Call our offices today for a free consultation, where you will speak with an attorney, not an assistant, paralegal or sign up specialist. We’ll listen to your case and discuss your legal options, you don’t have to suffer alone. Call today

Recently, an 18 year old Asheville teen dropped his cell phone onto the floor board of his car. As he leaned down to retrieve it, he lost control of his car and plunged his vehicle 150 feet down a sharp slope. He and his 19 year old friend were ejected from the car, causing serious injury to the friend in the passenger’s seat.

Teenage drivers can cause a great amount of stress to their family and the family members of the passengers they have in their cars. Teens in North Carolina are twice as likely to have a car accident during the first month of driving compared to adult drivers. Three teenage behaviors can lead to crashes: Failing to yield the right of way, failing to reduce speed, and not paying attention. Inattention is often caused by cell phone use, which includes texting, emailing, or performing internet searches while driving.

Car Crashed into TreeAll drivers in North Carolina, regardless of age, are banned from texting while driving. Drivers under 18 are banned from any and all cell phone use while behind the wheel, unless they are dialing 911 for an emergency. Cell use can cause drivers to remove their eyes from the road, their hands from the wheel, and a level of mental distraction that results in slower reaction times and following distances.

In addition to a ban on cell phone use while driving while under the age of 18, North Carolina also implements a graduated license system. This system restricts unsupervised driving between the hours of 9PM and 5AM. A teen may drive unsupervised during the day for limited purposes like going to and from work or in response to a medical emergency. If driving with a supervisor, the teen driver must be overseen by a driver that has been licensed for at least five years.

For those who have been injured as a result of a teen car accident, several options are available for recovery under North Carolina law. A teen may be driving a friend’s, parent’s, or employer’s car, as teens are generally unable to purchase their own vehicle. If the teenager drove negligently and failed in their duty to drive safely, damages may be available under the teenager’s auto insurance policy, the teenager’s parents’ policy, or the employer’s policy. If the teen was driving with the permission of his or her parents and using the car for the good of the family, larger amounts of compensation and coverage under a family policy may be available. If the teen was driving a vehicle while working, then the coverage under the business policy may be available for recovery.

The North Carolina teen car accident attorneys at Auger & Auger understand the financial hardships clients face after an auto collision. Lost wages and mounting bills can make it difficult to concentrate on recovery. We have successfully litigated and negotiated personal injury claims across the state of North Carolina. If you have been injured in a car accident with a teenager and would like to work with experienced attorneys who understand the intricacies of insurance policies, then call our office today for a free, confidential consultation at (704) 364-3361 or (800) 559-5741.

More Blog Posts:

North Carolina Texters May Need to Refrain From Texting Friends On the Road, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 20, 2013

Are You Prepared For The $5,000 Prom Ride, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 2, 2013

An accident off of 1-40 occurred earlier this week in North Carolina. Seven people in a sport utility vehicle were driving back from a beach trip when the teenage driver ran off the road, hit a guardrail, over corrected, and flipped the car twice into the opposite lane. The reported ages of the driver and the passengers ranged from 16 to 21. Two of the passengers were seated in the cargo area without seat belts. One passenger was seriously injured and four others were taken to the hospital.

Steering WheelsTeenage driving is replete with risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that drivers aged 15-24 account for almost 1/3 of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries. The risk of accidents with teens is believed to be larger than other portions of the population due to their inability to appreciate dangerous or hazardous situations as well as more experienced drivers. Teen drivers also have a lower rate of seat belt use and an increased likelihood to drive with alcohol in their systems.

North Carolina utilizes a graduated license system so drivers can comfortably learn the road while minimizing the risks to themselves and others on the road. A Limited Provisional License restricts any teen between the ages of 16-18 from driving unsupervised before 5 AM and after 9 PM. The supervising driver must be a licensed driver, licensed for at least 5 years, and seated next to the driver when supervising. Even then, the teen may only drive unsupervised directly to or from work or any voluntary fire, rescue, or emergency medical service. There can also be no more than one passenger under the age of 21 years of age in the vehicle with them, and cell phone use is banned while driving on public vehicular areas.

If an accident does occur and a teen is behind the wheel, the financial repercussions and legal liability of the accident may be borne by the parents of the driver. Parents may bear some of the financial responsibility if the teen driver is sued and they either own the car or have the teen insured under their family policy. In North Carolina, the Family Purpose Doctrine holds the vehicle owner liable if the driver was negligent while using the car for a family or household purpose. North Carolina courts have held that liability occurs if the operator of the car was a member of the family or household of the car’s owner, that the car was provided and maintained for family use, and that the car was used with expressed or implied permission.

In the North Carolina Court of Appeals case, Tart v. Martin, 137 NC App 377 (N.C. App, 2000), a nineteen year old son who lived with his parents ran a stop sign and collided with another vehicle. The court ruled that a parent holding the title to a car and assisting with payments did not fall under the Family Purpose Doctrine since the car was driven and maintained exclusively by the son. However, the court ultimately found that the parents, who knew of the son’s bad driving record, could be held liable under the theory of negligent entrustment. The theory of negligent entrustment holds the owner of an automobile liable when they entrust the car to someone they know who knew or should have known that they were an incompetent or reckless driver likely to cause an accident.

The North Carolina Teen Car Accident attorneys at Auger & Auger know how to find you the compensation you are entitled to and need to recover from your injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident with a teen driver and would like to talk to one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today for a free, confidential consultation at (888) 487-0835.

More Blog Posts:

North Carolina Texters May Need to Refrain From Texting Friends On the Road, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 20, 2013

Are You Prepared For The $5,000 Prom Ride, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 2, 2013

Hand CuffsYou have paid for the tuxedo, tickets, dinner, flowers, dress, hair, make-up, and nails, but are you prepared for the price tag that comes with a DUI?

Senior prom, along with graduation, are the pinnacles of a student’s high school experience, and with all of the excitement comes the opportunity for some teens to make poor choices. This is a time for celebrating, but too often, teen celebrations involve underage drinking. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during prom and graduation season, defined as April, May, and June, more than one-third of alcohol related fatalities involving people under the age of 21 will occur.

This scenario reads like the children’s book If You Give a Moose a Muffin. If your teenager is caught driving under the influence, he will likely be hauled off to jail. While he is being hauled off to jail, his car will likely be towed or impounded. To recover the vehicle, you will have to pay towing/storage fees in order to recover the vehicle. To recover your teenager, you will have to post bail. To post bail, you may need the services of a bail bondsman. Once out of jail, you will need the services of a criminal attorney. To pay the attorney, you may need several thousand dollars. If your teenager has to go to trial, you may need several more thousand dollars. And when you think it is over, it really isn’t, because you may need a few more dollars to pay the increased premium on your car insurance. And when it’s really over, you can count your blessings that it only cost money to survive your teen’s DUI.

North Carolina has a Zero Tolerance Law for underage drinking and driving. No one under 21 years of age can have any alcohol in their blood. Despite these strict laws, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 4.6 and 8.9% of teens in North Carolina admit to drinking and driving, and in South Carolina, the rate is even higher, with 11.3 to 14.5% of teens admitting to drinking and driving. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 16 to 20, and nearly 20% of teen drivers tested positive for alcohol.

So, what can you, as a parent do?
-Talk to your teen. Remind him that it is illegal and the criminal penalties can affect his future.
-Arrange for transportation with a limousine company. It is a small price to pay compared to the alternative.
-Do not allow your teen to attend a party where alcohol will be served, and if you are hosting the party, do not allow alcohol for the teens, even if everyone is spending the night. Under North Carolina law, you can face criminal penalties for allowing minors to have alcohol.

A recent study shows that a driver’s response time and eye contact with the road is significantly decreased if they are texting while driving, regardless of whether the texting is done manually or by voice. The greatest concern derived from the study is that drivers perceived the voice-to-text method as safer, even though it wasn’t. The study also revealed it actually took twice as long to use voice-to-text as opposed to manual texting because of the time required to correct errors.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and North Carolina’s Department of Transportation highlighted this point by producing two public service announcements videos that illustrate a driver’s diminished mental capacity when using a cell phone while driving. North Carolina currently bans all drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle on the road. Drivers under 18 and school bus drivers are banned from all cell phone use while driving. The lone exception is for dialing 911 for an emergency. The North Carolina Legislature has previously considered banning cell phone use, including hands free devices, but has yet to pass a more comprehensive law that would outlaw general cell phone use by all drivers on the road.

Old Cell PhoneLast year in North Carolina, 904 accidents were reported where an electronic device was a contributing factor. The World Health Organization has summarized the effects of mobile phone use, stating that cell phone use can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the steering wheel, and their minds off the roads and surrounding locations. Not thinking about the road while driving is called a cognitive distraction that leads to slower reaction times, shorter following distances, and inability to stay in the correct lane. Another study from the University of Utah compared drunk driving to driving while using a cell phone and concluded that while the impaired driving manifested itself in different ways, the effects of cell phone use impairment were just as profound as those while driving under the influence.

Car accident injuries are life changing, regardless of whether they occurred because of a drunk driver or a driver distracted by his or her cell phone. Insurance claims must be made and damages proven in order to receive the compensation that is needed. To succeed in a civil action, the injured party must show that his or her injuries were caused by the other’s negligent driving, provide documentation of the medical bills incurred, and produce evidence of any need for future medical care.

The experienced North Carolina car accident attorneys at Auger & Auger have handled numerous personal injury claims and will aggressively fight for the compensation an injured person needs to cover the lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses incurred because of a car accident. They know your distracted driver case is unique and that the other party needs to be held accountable for their negligent driving. If you have been injured in a car accident and would like to speak to one of our attorneys, call (888) 487-0835 today.

MORE BLOG POSTS:

Impaired Driver Hits North Carolina Couple in Head-on Collision in Raleigh, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 19, 2013

Freedom, Safety, and Liability: Legislator Joins the Cause to Repeal North Carolina’s Motorcycle Helmet Requirement, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 13, 2013

Odometer

Two Orange High School juniors from Hillsborough, North Carolina were killed on Saturday, December 29, 2012, when their truck ran off the road at a high rate of speed and struck a tree. The students, William “Chase” Underhill and Kacie Leann Chamberlain, both 16, were pronounced dead at the scene of the collision on Little River Church Road in Orange County.

North Carolina Highway Patrol investigated the accident and reported that it occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night. They indicated that speed was a factor in causing Underhill to lose control of his pickup. Two other teens, McCray Williams, 15, of Mebane and Sam Whaley, 16, also passengers in the pickup, were seriously injured and transported to Duke University Medical Center in Durham.

Troopers said that none of the teens were wearing seat belts.

Collin Lunsford, 17, is now facing multiple charges filed against him by the North Carolina Highway Patrol and being pursued by Orange County District Attorney Jeff Nieman. The charges are for prearranged speed competition, reckless driving and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. All of the listed charges are misdemeanor offenses. Lunsford’s next court date is set for January 24, 2013.

Prearranged speed competition is the unlawful racing on streets and highways of the state, as provided under the North Carolina General Statutes, Section 20-141.3.

According to Trooper Stephan Foster, Lunsford was operating a 2005 Chevrolet 1500 and Underhill was driving a Ford F250 at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. Neither vehicle made contact prior to Underhill losing control and hitting the tree. Following the crash, Lunsford returned to the scene with his two passengers and called 911.

One of Underhill’s friends, Joe Rangel, talked to him before the accident and told him to drive safe. Underhill is the son of an Orange County EMS worker. He said he thought the accident happened when the teens were trying to pass each other on a curve going 100 miles per hour. Rangel related that the Whaley boy had sustained various serious injuries, including a broken collarbone, a fractured pelvis, a punctured lung and a back injury.

News of tragedies like this are especially difficult to hear, when perhaps lives could have been saved if these teens had been wearing their seat belts. Unfortunately, information compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that accidents among teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 is higher than any other age group and four times higher than older drivers. Some factors leading to accidents for this age group are being a newly licensed driver, having passengers, speeding with risky maneuvers and no seat belts. All four factors were present in this accident.

If you have had to face a parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child or having one severely injured in a teen driving accident, you need to talk to a North Carolina attorney experienced in handling car/pickup accident cases.

Auger & Auger is a Charlotte law firm that has represented thousands of North Carolina residents who have lost children or seen them seriously injured in crashes. With over 40 years of collective experience, our attorneys and staff can help you through these difficult times.

Contact us online or call us direct at (704) 364-3361 or toll free at (800) 559-5741 to schedule your free consultation. Remember, you will never owe us a fee unless we make a recovery for you.

Other Resources:
Authorities tie Orange County fatal crash to illegal racing, News Observer, Article by Anne Blythe and Tammy Grubb, January 1, 2013

2 NC teens were killed during 100 mph racing crash, teen boy charged, troopers say, WBTV News, January 1, 2013

North Carolina General Statutes

Related Blog Posts:

Recently Released Data Confirms Benefits of Safety Restraints For Drivers of All Kinds of Vehicles, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 31, 2012

The First Day of School Claims Lives of Two Sophomores, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 5, 2012

Crashed Car

Our North Carolina car accident attorneys were saddened to hear the news that two sophomores at West Rowan High School in Mount Ulla, North Carolina were killed in a car accident shortly after leaving from their first day of classes. The two young men were Cody Rives, 16, and Tyrelle Johnson, 15. School ended at 2:30 p.m. and the scene of the accident was only a couple of miles away at the Second Creek Bridge.

According to North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper C.F. Rogers, the accident happened at roughly 2:37 p.m. when Rives was driving a red 1990 Mazda Miata convertible, with Johnson after leaving school. The investigation revealed that Rives was speeding and lost control, leaving him unable to negotiate a curve as he entered the Second Creek Bridge. His car crossed over into oncoming traffic, and into the pathway of a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer being driven by Kara Graham, 42, of Salisbury. Rives hit Graham’s SUV head-on and flipped over. In trying to avoid the accident, Graham’s vehicle overturned. The boys died instantly and Graham was taken to the hospital with a possible broken arm.

Cody Rives’ grandmother, Diane Kirkpatrick, remembered him giving her a hug that first day of school and saying, “I love you. See you later.” She said that Cody was artistic and very involved at church. He had told the youth minister that he wanted to initiate a program to help feed children who did not have enough to eat.

Lt. Col. Herman Peterson of the JROTC, said that Tyrelle Johnson was very smart and a rising star who was scheduled to become a battalion commander, after having become a sergeant in his first year. He was intending to make a career in the U.S. Army.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the risk of a car accident for drivers ages 16 to 19 is higher than any other age group and four times higher than older drivers. Other data indicates that:

• The accident risk is particularly high during the first year a teen is licensed

• The presence of teen passengers increases the risk of accidents for teen drivers

• Teen drivers are more likely to speed, follow too closely and perform other risky
maneuvers than older drivers

• Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt usage

If you or someone you know has been faced with a parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of a child, you should seek the advice of an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to determine your options.

Auger & Auger
is a Charlotte, North Carolina law firm that has represented families throughout the state in a wide variety of cases involving serious personal injuries, including fatalities. Its attorneys have nearly 40 years of experience collectively and are held in high esteem by the judiciary and their peers.

For your convenience, we have five offices. Three are located in Charlotte and we have offices in Greensboro and Raleigh, as well.

Contact us
for your own no obligation, confidential consultation. Our firm handles its cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not owe us any attorney fees unless we make a monetary recovery for you.

Other Resources:

Update: Two West Students Die in Crash; Grieving Begins, Salisbury Post, August 28, 2012

Teen Drivers Fact Sheet, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Related Blog Posts:

New Law Aims To Reduce North Carolina Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 11, 2012

Driving Simulator Helps Young Drivers Realize Real Life Consequences of Their Decisions While Operating Vehicles
, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 26, 2012

AAA Carolinas Study Reveals Safest and Most Dangerous Counties For Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 16, 2012

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