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little girl looking out the car window in the drivers seatThink about driving for a moment. Ask yourself if when you are in the car you are truly focused on the road. If you’re someone who frequently drives with children in the vehicle, chances are the answer to that question is, “no.”

In an Australian study, researchers discovered that people driving with children in the backseat were 12 times more likely to be distracted behind the wheel than a person talking on their cell phone. According to the study, a person diving with children in the backseat takes their eyes off the road for a total of three minutes and 22 seconds in a short, 16-minute drive.

According to AAA, parents do a variety of things when their kids are in the car. Children are up to eight times more distracting to a driver than adult passengers. People behind the wheel do everything from breaking up fights to calming fussy babies. Anything that takes attention away from the road can be dangerous. While children are lovely, they are dangerous as well.

Distracted driving is risky, but experts agree that there are things you can do to reduce the distractions provided by children in a vehicle.

1. Pack Snacks

Pack a few snacks for your kids, and keep them nearby. You don’t want to have to go digging for them when you need them.

2. Bring Activities

Let your children choose quiet things to do in the car and let them pack a road bag. The bag can be filled with books, crayons and small toys that will keep your children entertained while they are in the backseat.

3. Do Not Adjust Your Mirror

One of the worst things that parents do is to adjust their rearview mirror so that it is looking at the children instead of the road behind the car. Don’t do this. Keep your mirror as it is and buckle your children safely so you don’t have to worry.

4. Pull Over

If you need to discipline your children, grab a snack or find a lost toy, pull over into a parking lot before you lose focus on the road ahead. Don’t do these things while you are driving.

5. Establish Rules

Your kids have rules for behaviors in the house, and they should have rules for behavior in the car. Establish these rules, and consequences of breaking them, before your children get in the backseat.

Driving with kids can be distracting. Any adult who has had young passengers can tell you that. It’s how you handle those distractions that could make the difference between being in an accident and arriving at your destination safely.

If you are in an accident in Charlotte, call our team of car accident attorneys to arrange a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of the legal options that pertain to your case. Reach out to us today or browse our website to learn more about our firm and how we can assist you.

Man using cell phone texting while drivingDistracted driving is on the rise across America, and the behavior has been contributed to thousands of accidents each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Injury Center, there are more than 3,000 deaths each year due to motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving.

Three Categories of Distracted Driving

At this point in time, most people know what distracted driving is: A lack of attentiveness behind the wheel that leads to an inability to drive appropriately. What many people don’t know is that there are actually three categories of distracted driving.


Visual distractions are those that take your eyes off the road. A visual distraction could be any number of things. Your children may be fighting in the backseat, causing you to turn around and discipline them. You may pass a car accident on the opposite side of the road and turn your head to look. Anything that causes you to remove your eyes from the road is considered a visual distraction.

2. Manual

This is when your hands leave the wheel or your feet lose contact with the pedals. You may drop something on the seat beside you and reach to pick it up. You may drop something onto the floorboard and move your feet to pick it up. Any of these types of things are dangerous behaviors as they cause you to lose total control of the vehicle. Keeping your hands on the wheel and your feet on the pedals is necessary to drive your car properly.

3. Cognitive

A cognitive distraction is one that causes your mind to wander. This may not seem like an issue, but that feeling of auto-pilot that we have all had when we get to wear we are going isn’t safe. People may daydream behind the wheel. They may slip into the driver’s seat after just having a fight with their partner. They may have had a terrible day at work and are unable to think of anything else. Cognitive distractions can be just as dangerous as physical distractions when it comes to driving.

As you may well know, cell phone use is the most common form of distracted driving. It fits into all three categories, especially if you’re texting. You look at your phone, use at least one hand to text, and stop cognitively paying attention to the road.

When a person is distracted from the task of driving, they make mistakes. It is these mistakes that can lead to collisions, and those accidents can lead to serious injury or even death. When a person causes an accident due to distracted driving, they may be held liable for paying medical bills, making up for lost wages and more.

If you have been involved in an accident in Charlotte, you may have the legal right to compensation for injuries, lost wages and more. Call our experienced team of personal injury attorneys today to arrange for a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation and discover more about your options. We are here for you and your family as you begin to move forward with your lives.

If your smartphone is sitting nearby, pick it up. Tap on the Facebook icon and open your feed. Look there at the bottom (or, on Android, at the top in between the Newsfeed and Marketplace icons). You will notice a circular icon with a triangle pointing to the right or, as you’re used to it being so-named, the play button. That is the icon that will let you know when one of your Facebook “friends” is or has been live.

Live videos are quickly gaining popularity on Facebook. People are no longer happy sharing photos of their pets, their meals or their significant others. The newest trend is to take live video during which people can respond with emoticons and comments. While these live feeds may be safe to record in the privacy of your own home or while sitting in a public location, many are taking to streaming video while they are driving. Facebook Live is on its way to becoming the newest hurdle to eliminating distracted driving.

Recently, a man in Rhode Island streamed himself traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. He was speeding through traffic when he crashed into a median and then into a garbage truck. The video cut out after the man struck the median. What wasn’t seen was the driver being extricated from his severely damaged vehicle. Luckily, the man is recovering from the injuries he sustained.

In a separate incident, an 18-year-old was driving too slowly and streaming on Facebook while operating her vehicle. The passenger in her car, a 19-year-old, could be heard asking, “Are you going live?” just before the vehicle was struck in the rear by an 18-wheeler that couldn’t stop. What followed the question was flashing lights, the sound of screeching tires and several minutes of silence. The truck driver was not injured, but both women were killed instantly.

Smartphones are an essential piece of daily life for many people. The thought of leaving a phone at home or having a dead battery are enough to send some into a panic. While smartphones can be useful, they can be deadly as well. Just think of how many drivers you have been irritated by, only to pull next to them and see them behind the wheel with smartphone in hand. Now imagine how easily that person’s distracted driving could have done more than cause you a moment’s annoyance.

You may think that you can’t live without your smartphone, but if you use it for things like streaming, texting and emailing behind the wheel, you may not be able to live with it. There is nothing so important that it cannot wait until you arrive at your destination.

If you are involved in a car accident due to distracted driving in Charlotte, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, property damage and more. Call our experienced team of car accident attorneys today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details surrounding your accident and help you determine if you have a case.

While experts tell us that we should never drive drowsy, the truth of the matter is that most of us do. We need to get where we are going, and not having had enough sleep is no excuse to not make it to school, work or important appointments. It’s not an acceptable excuse anyway. If you find yourself more tired than awake the next time you have to drive, use these tricks to stay awake.

1. Take a Break

If you can swing it time-wise, taking a break can help to recharge your batteries if you feel yourself falling asleep behind the wheel. If you notice that you are having difficulty focusing, are struggling to keep your eyes open or are missing signs that you pass, pull over. Stop at a gas station or rest area and stretch your legs for a few minutes.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine can heighten your awareness and focus for several hours. If you are tired in the morning, drink two cups of coffee before you head out. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, two cans of soda can have the same effect, though it is not nearly as healthy as coffee.

3. Skip Medication

Prescription medication can make you more drowsy. We are not suggesting that you don’t take your medication, only that you wait to take it until you have reached your end destination.

4. Take a Buddy

If you notice that you are frequently tired during your commute, consider joining a carpool. Driving with other people in the car can help keep you awake. Let your friend know that you are feeling a bit sleepy and ask them to be on the lookout for any signs that it would be a good idea to switch drivers.

5. Stop

Many people travel for work or recreation. Some choose to travel at night when the roads are less congested. If you count yourself among this group and find yourself getting sleepier than you feel is safe, stop for a few hours. If you can stop for a full night’s rest, even better.

Driving while drowsy is a dangerous habit that too many people get into. It’s understandable that you need to get where you are going, but getting there may not happen if you drive while you are too tired to do so. Use the tips above the next time you are feeling your eyes getting heavy behind the wheel.

If you are injured in a car accident in Charlotte, call our team of attorneys. We will discuss your accident with you for free and advise you of your options. Call now for more information about how we can assist you.

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In Amanda Clark’s senior project, she wrote about the accident that almost claimed her life. She was talking on the phone while driving and ran a stop sign. As a result of her failure to stop, she was broadsided by another vehicle. Her Chevrolet Trailblazer rolled three times and landed on its roof. Clark walked away from the accident with only scrapes and bruises. The accident occurred in 2006.

In her paper, Clark wrote:

“I believe everything happens for a reason and the reason for my car accident is to let me know that I need to slow down and pay more attention. I know that I need to change the way I have been living my life. My phone and talking to my friends put me in danger. I realize how easy it is for my life to be over because I wasn’t paying attention.”

In 2007, Clark was killed in a car accident. It was almost a year to the day of her first.

Driving on the Highway 5 bypass on her way to Manteca, California, Clark was texting someone she knew. She lost control of her car. According to reports, it took 40 minutes to remove Clark from her car, and she had ceased breathing. She passed away at the hospital the next day.

Today, Clark’s mother travels to schools and other venues to tell her daughter’s story. She tells her daughter’s story about once a week, despite the emotional toll it takes. The first time she told her daughter’s story, Bonnye Spray says that she cried the entire time. She looked up to see several people wiping tears from their eyes. She knows that Clark’s story has an impact.

In 2013, 3,154 people were killed nationwide due to distracted driving. What you have heard is true: Texting can wait.

If you have been hurt in a car accident in North Carolina, call our office. A member of our team will review the details of your crash at no cost to you and advise you of your options. Call us today to find out if you may be entitled to compensation under the law. We are here for you as you begin to put the pieces of your life back together. Call now.

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distractionDistracted driving is any activity that occurs while you are operating a car that diverts your attention away from your primary task of driving. Distractions endanger not only the driver, but passengers and bystanders as well. The most common distractions include:

  • Using a cellphone
  • Texting
  • Drinking
  • Eating
  • Talking to others in the vehicle
  • Putting on makeup or fixing hair
  • Using a GPS
  • Adjusting the MP3 player or radio

While any of these distractions are dangerous, texting is considered the most hazardous. When we text, we are using visual, cognitive and mental skills. All three are necessary for driving, and all three are being used in a manner which takes away from our ability to operate a car safely.

It is difficult to find a person who can say that they have never driven while distracted. Whether performing some activity behind the wheel of a car or simply being too emotional to drive, most of us have done it. Here are some statistics from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  1. The age group with the largest proportion of distracted drivers involved in accidents are those 15 to 19 years old. Ten percent of the people in this age group involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of impact.
  2. Drivers in their 20s made up 38 percent of those who were using cellphones at the time they were involved in a fatal accident.
  3. For the past five years, this statistic has held steady: At any moment during daylight hours, there are approximately 660,000 people driving and using a cellphone or other electronic device at the same time.
  4. In 2014, 2.2 percent of drivers had been seen visibly using an electronic device while driving. This number was up from 1.7 percent in 2013.

Distracted driving kills. Consider that at normal highway speeds, you can cover the length of a football field in five seconds or less. You can easily cover that distance while your eyes are off the road and on your mobile device. The answer? Simple. When you are behind the wheel of your car, focus on driving.

If you have been involved in a car accident in North Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Call our office today and let us review the details of your accident. A member of our team will provide you with a free initial consultation and help you determine your best options. Call now.

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If you drive tired, stressed, depressed, annoyed or angry, you are a distracted driver. Many people don’t consider that emotions can take a toll on the way that we drive, but they most definitely do. If your mind is occupied by anything but the task of driving safely, you are distracted and pose a danger to yourself and others on the road. Here’s what you can do.

  1. Angry or Upset?

You get into the car just moments after getting bad news. You get into an argument with your teenager just seconds before you get behind the wheel. Before you head off down the road, take a few deep breaths. If that doesn’t work, get out of the car and take a brisk walk down the block. You may think that you don’t have time, but you’ll be even later getting to your destination if you get into an accident.

  1. Depressed?

There are a few steps you can take to rid yourself of depression so that you can drive. One such step is working to focus all of your energy on the road ahead. Turn on the radio, listen to a humorous audiobook or tune into talk radio. Do something that will help you focus on driving. If you find that you simply cannot concentrate on the road, consider getting a ride or opting for public transportation.

  1. Rushed or Hurried?

It’s not unusual for people to feel generally hurried or impatient. We run late and all of a sudden find ourselves leaving our houses 10 or 15 minutes after our normal time. If being hurried starts to happen to you more often than not, adjust your schedule. Plan on leaving before you need to. You will be less likely to get frustrated with slow drivers, heavy traffic or even backups.

Research has shown that people in the grips of emotion operate their vehicles in a similar manner to those that are intoxicated. Reaction times are slowed, they fail to recognize dangerous situation as quickly as necessary, and they lose precise or subtle driving skills. If you are feeling emotional, take some time to steady yourself before you get behind the wheel.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation by law. Call our offices today and let our personal injury attorneys review the facts of your case. We will advise you how to proceed. Call now.

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16467802971_f7f8b31a4c_zDriverless cars will soon be coming to a market near you. Do you think that statement is false? Think again. The technology is there, even if the interest of the masses isn’t. But what will driverless cars mean for America? Sweeping changes could be the answer to that question. Here is what we may be able to expect.

Fewer Accidents

Without humans behind the wheel, much of the risk factor involved in driving is eliminated. Estimates of just how many accidents will be eliminated each year vary. No matter what the statistics say, driverless cars will undoubtedly have a great impact on health and safety.

Fewer DUIs

Cars can’t drink and drive but people can. Without human drivers, there would be literally no risk of running afoul of an intoxicated vehicle operator. When the risk of DUIs is eliminated, we may see the drinking age fall to 18.

Extended Telecommuting

Working from home is as popular as it has ever been, but imagine being able to turn your car into a mobile office. Without the worry of distracted driving, you can read, work, and study in your car as it takes you where you need to go.

Reduction in Car Theft

Any car that is operated by a human driver is done so manually. This makes a car inherently easy to steal, provided you know what you are doing. Driverless cars will utilize technologies that make it difficult to steal them.

Erosion of Privacy

Not all of the things that come along with driverless cars will make life better. Today, you can hop in your car and go anywhere with complete anonymity if you so desire. Driverless cars will rely on GPS, meaning that your vehicle will store information about every trip you take.

Driving Jobs Eliminated

On the list of cons must be the elimination of driving jobs. When driverless cars hit the road, cab, truck and delivery drivers may find themselves out of work. This is huge news for the more than three million truck and cab drivers across the nation who rely on their paychecks to support themselves and their families.

While not everyone is on board with driverless cars, they truly may be the wave of the future, and that future will look vastly different than any we have imagined. We have to wait and see if the pros outweigh the cons, but if a reduction in the number of accidents and impaired drivers on the road will be a result, driverless cars may indeed benefit us all.

If you have been hurt in an auto accident, please call our offices today. We are here to help you. Call now for a free initial consultation.

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AT&T’s campaign entitled “It Can Wait” released results from its survey last week which should be disturbing to most drivers. 2,000 people responded to the survey, and each reported both owning a smartphone and driving at least once each day. Driving, as defined by the survey, includes both being in motion and stopped at a traffic signal.

In the survey, drivers admitted to using social media sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as texting, emailing, and video chatting while driving. Respondents also admitted to taking selfies while driving and posting those pictures to social media sites.

Four in 10 of the people surveyed admitted to using social media while operating their vehicles. One in 10 admit to chatting via video, and even more admitted to texting, either reading or composing, while driving. The results show just how dangerous it is becoming to drive on the road.

Florida state Representative Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, says that it’s a free-for-all on the roads. “They’re texting, GPSing, they’re Instagramming and on Facebook,” Slosberg said. Calling the behavior of distracted drivers crazy, the representative is calling for car manufacturers to help solve the problem.

Slosberg’s idea is for auto manufacturers to design and install technology in new cars that would disable cell phones once drivers begin to operate their vehicles. If car manufacturers don’t get on board, Slosberg wants to see the laws changed.

Currently, texting and driving is illegal in many states, but it is a secondary crime. That means that unless you are pulled over for speeding or another citable offense, you cannot be charged with the crime of texting while driving. In many states, this is similar to seat belt laws.

Texting and driving is undoubtedly the leading cause of distraction. 59% of respondents say that they read texts while driving. 43% of drivers admit to composing and sending a text. A startling 17% of drivers are taking selfies behind the wheel, and 14% are hanging out on Twitter.

Perhaps more disturbing that these statistics is that close to half of the people surveyed believe that they are performing these actions without risk of harm to themselves or others. According to Dr. Michael West of St. Mary’s Medical Center, that simply is not true. There is, according to the doctor, an increase in trauma accidents due to distracted driving.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our compassionate team of attorneys immediately. We are here for you and want to help you get your life back on track. Call us now.

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download (14)A woman is now facing the charge of DUI manslaughter after driving under the influence while sending text messages to her boyfriend.

According to investigators, Mila Dago, aged 22 at the time of the crash on August 14, 2013, was behind the wheel of a rented Smart Car when she ran a red light at around 4:45 a.m., crashing into a truck driven by Benjamin Byrum, 51.

A passenger in Dago’s car, Irena Reinoso was killed in the crash.

Last week, prosecutors released new evidence in the case. The evidence included a string of text messages sent by Dago while she was driving, the last of which said, “Driving drunk woo” and “I’ll be dead thanks to you”. The text was sent just three minutes before the fatal crash that killed Reinoso.

Police reports indicate that two hours after the accident Dago had a blood alcohol level of .178 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit.

Court records indicate that Dago entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, and two counts of DUI.

No matter what emotional hardships a person is going through, there is just no excuse for getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking. Texting while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is potentially an even more lethal combination.

No amount of money can replace a loved one.  At Auger & Auger, we are here to help you in any possible after the accident. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in personal injury and wrongful death claim cases. We are here to help. .

DISCLAIMER: The listed settlements and client reviews/testimonials do not constitute a promise or guarantee of any particular result in any particular case, as every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any particular case cannot be predicted by a lawyers or law firms past results. If a recovery by settlement or trial is made, the client will be responsible for cost advanced in addition to attorney fees. Client remains responsible for costs, expenses and disbursements, including medical bills, within the scope of representation. The attorney’s contingency fee percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.