With the beginning of another school year, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol has issued a reminder to drivers to use extra caution when in or around school zones. As a preventative measure, troopers are going to be visible around school zones and other known accident prone areas. First Sergeant Andreas Dietrich said, “Hopefully the sight of blue lights and a patrol car will get people to pay attention.” When our North Carolina personal injury lawyers read this article, we were reminded of some of the tragic accidents that we have seen over the years that caused families so much heartache.
The beginning of school is always exciting for children of all ages, and with all of the excitement, they often forget to use the safety precautions that they have learned. Traffic levels are increased due to school buses, parents that drop off/pick up their students, and the newly licensed high school students now driving to school.
High school drivers are considerably more likely to be distracted while driving, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the UNC Highway Research Center. Some of the frightening statistics about teenage drivers, includes the following:
• Car accident fatalities are three times higher for 16 year olds than other drivers
• 25% of all 16 year old North Carolina drivers have a car accident and half of those accidents cause injuries or fatalities
• 66% of the fatalities in teenage accidents involves the driver or their passengers
• 61% of teenage drivers and 54% of their passengers do not wear seat belts
In addition to being extra watchful for school children, all drivers need to understand the North Carolina school bus laws. The yellow flashing lights warn that the bus is slowing down to let children on or off. The red flashing lights and the extended arms mean children are getting on or off. Drivers cannot proceed until the lights cease to flash and the extended arms are retracted. Children should be warned to stay far enough back from the buses so the driver can see them and never walk behind a bus.
The Highway Patrol also issued warnings about distractions that are dangerous or prohibited. Cell phone usage or other mobile phone technology is prohibited for those drivers under the age of 18. Drivers of all ages are prohibited from texting or reading text messages while operating a vehicle. For all drivers, driving and talking on a cell phone increase the odds of having an accident and should not be done. Finally, “Buckle Up!” Wearing a seat belt will increase your odds of avoiding serious injury or death in any type of vehicle.
If you, a relative or a friend have had a child suffer injuries or death while crossing a street in a school zone, you need to immediately seek the advice and counsel of a North Carolina personal injury lawyer. Remember, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state and the insurance company representing the other party will be doing everything possible to place negligence on someone else to avoid any monetary responsibility.
Auger & Auger has been representing the people of North Carolina in personal injury matters for nearly 40 years. Its lawyers are well respected by the insurance industry, as well as being held in high esteem by the judiciary and their peers.
The firm has three offices in Charlotte and an office in Raleigh and Greensboro, for your convenience.
Contact us to arrange a confidential, no obligation consultation to discuss your particular case. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means you only owe us a fee if we secure a monetary recovery for you.
Highway Patrol Urges Safety In School Zones, Richmond County daily Journal, Article by Mallory Brown, August 23, 2012
Related Blog Posts:
Dangerous School Crossings in North Carolina Result in 3 Major Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 26, 2012
Recently Released Data Confirms Benefits of Safety Restraints For Drivers of All Kinds of Vehicles, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 31, 2012
North Carolina Ranks #2 in Teenage Deaths From Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 4, 2012