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  • Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County ranks #1 in overall car accident fatalities as well as DUI-related deaths
  • Mecklenburg County has a high rate of deaths related to people not wearing proper restraints
  • Efforts by the city, county, and state intend to reduce these deaths by enforcing laws while also educating drivers of these risks
The sun setting over Charlotte, NC.

 

In terms of overall traffic-related fatalities, Charlotte, North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County ranks first — or last, depending on how you look at it. The most populous county in the state also had the highest number of drunk-driving related fatalities as well as fatal accidents involving occupants who didn’t wear their seatbelts.

These facts were compiled over several years by the state’s Governor’s Highway Safety Program and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2018 Highway Safety Plan Report for the state recorded incidents that occurred as recently as 2015. Our Charlotte car accident lawyers want you to be mindful of these statistics and we also want you to be aware of efforts taken by the state to reduce fatal road accidents in Mecklenburg County and throughout North Carolina.

By knowing what’s at stake and how our state intends to fix it, we hope that you will take steps of your own to reduce deadly serious accidents in North Carolina’s biggest city.

Charlotte: North Carolina’s Deadliest City for Road Accidents

According to the 2018 North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Report, Mecklenburg County ranked at the top of the list of North Carolina counties for overall road fatalities in 2015. The county had 80 overall deaths stemming from motor vehicle crashes that year, beating the #2 county (Wake) by 15.

On the other hand, Mecklenburg happens to be the state’s most populous county. In 2015, census estimates put the entire county, which includes the city of Charlotte, at 1,035,605 people. From that perspective, it makes sense that the county with the most people and likely the most cars on the road would by extension have the highest overall volume of motor vehicle accident fatalities. Looking solely at the county’s rate of car accident deaths per 100,000 people, Mecklenburg has 7.72. This figure means it ranks 90th out of 100 counties.

By comparison, rural counties in North Carolina tend to have a low number of overall road fatalities but a high rate relative to their population. Robeson County, for instance, which includes the cities of Lumberton and Pembroke, had 53 road fatalities in 2015. Compared to its population of 133,375 people, the county had a fatality rate per 100k population of 39.74: over five times the rate of Mecklenburg! Robeson also had the fifth-highest number of overall motor vehicle crash fatalities, making it somewhat of an outlier.

 

Other, smaller counties had more exaggerated fatal accident rates. Sampson County, with just 63,993 people in 2015, had 25 total road accident deaths, making it #2 in the state by rate.

Mecklenburg County Ranks High for Alcohol-Related Crash Deaths and Unrestrained Occupant Deaths

While one might be able to give context to Mecklenburg’s high accident fatality volume given its high population, but the county has no excuses when it comes to drunk driving and especially seat belt use.

Statistics from the report indicate that between 2011 and 2015 the county had 127 total fatalities in crashes where alcohol-impaired driving was a factor. That figure accounts for nearly 7% of all such fatalities in the state and gives the county a death rate of 1.23 per 10,000 people.

Again, rural areas in the state do tend to have higher rates than that. Hoke County, for instance, accounted for just over 1% of all DUI-related road deaths but had a rate 3.7 times higher than Mecklenburg’s. Robeson again topped the charts with its rate, which was an alarming 4.95.

In this case, even a relative comparison still makes Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte far from blameless. DUI-related deaths are entirely avoidable, yet they tend to cause an anguish-inducing amount of fatal accidents per year.

Even more alarming is the fact that Mecklenburg County has had a very poor record of seatbelt use, which directly contributes to the volume and rate of fatal accidents in the region. The report indicated that 44.6% of all road fatalities in the area happened to individuals who were not properly restrained. This figure includes both adults not wearing seatbelts as well as minors who were not given the proper restraints. In total, Mecklenburg saw 90 such fatalities between 2011 and 2015, accounting for just under 5% of the state’s total.

Reduce the Number of Car Accident Deaths in North Carolina!

The purpose of the state’s highway safety report was not just to scare individuals into making smart decisions — although that was certainly part of it. Alongside these grim statistics comes a ray of hope in the form of action-oriented programs designed to improve road safety and prevent avoidable deaths.

For example, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue its DWI task force project for the fifth straight year. The program aims to reduce alcohol-related fatalities, traffic crashes and injuries through both enforcement and education efforts. This task force includes seven dedicated officers who cooperate with other local offices to set up DWI checkpoints during peak hours at night, on weekends, and during holidays.

Mecklenburg County has also participated in concerted efforts to improve proper restraint use. 2016 data from the seat belt survey indicates an observed seat belt use rate of 92.7% in Charlotte and the county at large.

Drivers can help with these efforts — and reduce their risk of being part of a fatal crash — by practicing smart, safe driving techniques. Always use a seat belt, never drive impaired, and obey all road laws including posted speed limits.

You Need Charlotte Car Accident Lawyers on Your Side

Every accident can be serious, but the dangers are increased when drivers engage in reckless behavior such as DWI. Even the most careful driver may suddenly find themselves the victim in a life-changing accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident — remember that you have the right to get legal representation to assist you with your injury claim. You could be eligible for not just medical bill reimbursement but also compensation for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

You can contact our Charlotte car accident lawyers today if you have any questions or want to find out how you can have someone fighting for your rights as soon as possible. Get in touch, and we will try our best to answer your questions and see how we may be able to help.  Your first call starts our initial case evaluation process. Call us today! Our phones are answered 24 hours per day, 7 days a week! (855) 971-1114

Evidence is the backbone of any injury case, and having solid evidence could mean the difference between your claim succeeding or not. While you do have several top priorities after your accident — such as calling the police and seeking medical attention for all hurt parties, including yourself — documenting the accident scene as soon as possible falls right in after those in terms of importance. This evidence typically includes photos, eyewitness testimony, detailed notes, official documents, and anything else that’s relevant.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys have seen countless cases where solid evidence either strengthened a claim or poked holes in the negligent driver’s defense. Without evidence, negotiating or receiving a judgement in your favor could easily turn into a game of “he said, she said.” With it, you can definitively and confidently point to the truth of the matter. You may also be better equipped to remember crucial facts or details you may have otherwise gotten mixed up.

evidence to collect after a car crash

In short, documenting evidence of your car accident could easily play in your favor in most injury cases.  You can use the following tips to help you gather evidence on your own at the scene of your next car accident.

 

First Make Sure Everyone Is Safe, and Call an Ambulance for Anyone Who Needs It (Including You)

Before you gather evidence after your car accident, you should take some immediate steps to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

  1. Check if you’re ok. If you need an ambulance, dial 911 immediately.
  2. If you are able and can do so safely, go check on the other people involved in the accident. Determining their condition and whether they need emergency medical attention is critical.
  3. Get to a safe place away from the road, and dial for emergency services if you haven’t already. Inform them of how many people are hurt and if possible, give them information regarding their injuries. Give 911 your location as accurately as you can. Use nearby landmarks and businesses to supplement any street names you offer. If you are on the highway, try to identify a billboard, road sign, nearby exit, or a mile marker. 

Capture Photos of the Other Driver’s License Plate

Your next order of business is to protect yourself if the other driver decides to speed off.

You should immediately capture a picture of their vehicle and, preferably, a close up picture of their license plate to help with identifying them if necessary.

If they allow you to, you will also want a photo of their driver’s license and insurance policy card. Do not confront the driver if they are being belligerent or simply refuse to present this information to you.

 

Document Your Injuries

Once you have the other driver’s information, document your injuries. Snap a few quick photos now while the injuries are fresh. Try to have a strong, clear light in all the photos. You can include common objects like a quarter or dollar bill as reference props to give an idea to the size of your bruises or cuts.

Later, you can get some better close-ups of your injuries in proper lighting. You will want to document the condition of things as they develop, such as how the color of a bruise deepens hours after your accident.

 

Take Wide Photos of the Accident Before Vehicles Are Moved

After you get at least one photo of all your injuries, you will want to snap photos of the accident.

Try to capture multiple angles and viewpoints. You will want a few wide angles of the entire accident scene so that everyone reviewing the case can have a frame of reference. You can also take a few orienting pictures with road signs or landmarks in the background to verify the accident’s location.

A walking video “tour” of the accident may also help orient people trying to recreate it.

At this point, if your vehicles are functional and you can safely enter them and move them, you should immediately move to a safe, secure location nearby with all the other drivers involved. North Carolina law mandates that you remove vehicles from the main roadway unless they are disabled or you cannot reasonably approach them.

When moving your vehicle, go to the closest location where you feel safe. That may mean the shoulder of the road or a short drive to another location. If one is available, you may wish to find a well-lit area where other people are present.

Ideally, you will have told 911 dispatchers that you intend to move the vehicles if possible and let them know where you will be going.

On the other hand, your vehicles may not be functional or safe at all to approach. For instance, you may have gotten into an accident along a busy freeway with poor visibility. If this is the case, find a safe place for yourself to wait for police and medics.

 

Take Closeups of Vehicle Damage and Debris

Regardless of whether you moved the vehicles, your next step is to get a close up photo of all the vehicle damage. Try to capture details like crunched metal, broken glass, or obvious indicators of damage. If your front tire is pushed into the driver’s side fender, for example, get a closeup of that.

 

Get Video Statements of Eyewitnesses

If you have a smartphone that you’re snapping photos with, you can switch to video mode to interview any eyewitnesses.

Capture statements that include specific details, like the timing of who hit whom and where it happened. Do not interrupt the witnesses to correct them or attempt to lead their answers in any way. Ask them to tell you their full name and contact information in the video. If they’ll let you, take a photo of their ID.

 

Take a Video Testimonial

You will want to take notes of your experience during the accident before you forget important details. You can take notes using a pen and paper or your smartphone’s note-taking function. Or, you could simply record yourself making a statement as you did for eyewitnesses.

 

See Police and Medics

At this point, the police may have arrived and begun providing instructions. Or, maybe you have been largely incapacitated because you knew you had a major injury and shouldn’t move.

In either case, you should accept all medical care offered to you. That may include accepting an ambulance ride to the hospital even if you did not initially request one on your emergency call.

Provide complete, accurate, detailed statements to the police officer so they can note them on their report. Remember that the police report may be very helpful in proving the cause of the accident. You are the only person who can tell the police what happened from your perspective and the police report is your opportunity to explain how the accident happened.

 

Request Copies of the Police Report and Your Medical Documentation

A copy of the accident report will be made available to you within a few days or weeks after it is filed. Request several official copies, including some for your Charlotte car accident attorneys.

Likewise, keep a copy of every bit of medical notation or billing information you receive. Keep a running tab of your out-of-pocket costs, too, like copays. You can even track incidental expenses that were only made necessary because you had an injury, such as mileage to and from your doctor visits.

 

Make Copies of Your Evidence as Backup and to Provide to Your Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys

All of these bits of evidence can greatly benefit your personal injury case. Since they are so important, you should make backup copies just in case something happens to your device. Consider saving them to the cloud or emailing yourself the information from your phone.

After an accident, you should consider speaking to an accident lawyer about your potential injury case.  Initially an injury lawyer may be able to help you determine if you need their assistance. An injury lawyer is going to want to see your police report (let them pull it for you) and to speak to you about your recollection of the accident and the evidence that you have gathered.

You can reach out to Auger & Auger today to schedule a free case review regarding your accident when you call us or contact us online. With your evidence and your attorneys’ legal expertise, you stand equipped for the fight for compensation relating to your medical bills, lost wages and your pain and suffering.  Call Auger & Auger at (855) 969-5730 to find out more about how we may be able to help you!

Busiest Holidays for Road Travel in the United States

  • All holidays have a higher-than-average drunk driving accident rate of 30% or more.
  • Warm holidays and especially 3-day weekends correlate with the highest driving risks.
  • New Year’s Eve and Christmas have a lower-than-average fatal accident rate.

Top Holidays for Dangerous Road Travel

Holidays make most of us want to travel, whether it’s to see family or just explore somewhere new. This inclination makes the roads busier and consequently raises our risk of a getting in a serious car accident. Holidays also correspond with a rise of alcohol consumption, and not everyone makes the right decisions to avoid driving while impaired.

These two factors combined can mean that your favorite holidays are dampened by the risks others create on the roads. While we don’t want that to sour your excitement for holiday road travel, but we do want everyone to be aware of the risks so that they can be more careful while traveling.

Our North Carolina car accident lawyers also want you to know that you have the right to representation if you have been in a car accident. A car accident attorney can help you negotiate settlements with insurers and if necessary, represent you in court against negligent drivers and the big insurance companies.

Be safe out there, and be aware of the following 7 most dangerous holidays to travel so that you can exercise caution appropriately.

Christmas

Christmas has the lowest travel risks of all the major holidays both according to fatal accident rates and drunk driving rates. The period around Christmas has an average of 231 fatal accidents throughout the U.S., although this number can grow or shrink depending on whether the holiday falls near a weekend. In 2014, for instance, a four-day weekend led to a higher-than average 355 fatalities.

However, alcohol tends to play a significant role in car accidents around Christmas, with over a third of all accidents in recent years involving inebriated drivers.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving means a heavy travel schedule for millions of families, and it also corresponds with a rise in drunk driving accidents. The holiday falls on a four-day weekend, raising the relative risks. On average, there are 258 fatal accidents around Thanksgiving, and 35% to 40% of accidents involve alcohol impairment.

New Year’s Eve

Shockingly, New Year’s Eve is far from the worst holiday for car accidents and drunk drivers. The holiday tends to be particularly safe when it falls on a weekend, which is the complete opposite trend compared to the most dangerous holidays to travel by car. Perhaps partygoers tend to make more responsible plans when they don’t have to worry about going to work the following day?

Whatever the reason, New Year’s averages 245 fatal accidents annually, which is lower than an average weekend on the calendar. Even still, 36% to over 50% of these accidents involve alcohol as a factor, which means drivers should be cautious, especially in the wee hours of the morning after the New Year has begun.

Easter

Easter offers another curve ball for this list: it has the fourth-highest fatal accident rate and the third-highest average for drunk driving accidents. The combination of warm spring weather and a weekend holiday may be behind this trend, which sees an average of 280 fatal accidents and 37% of accidents involving alcohol.

4th of July

Independence Day falls right in the middle of the summer, and it’s also a holiday that strongly encourages people to go all out when enjoying themselves. As a result, America’s Birthday also tends to be an extremely dangerous day on the road. On average, there are 307 fatal accidents and high drunk driving accident rates that usually exceed 40%.

The risks of driving on 4th of July grow bigger when the holiday falls on a weekend. For example, in 2014 there were 461 accident-related deaths on July 4th when the holiday created a four-day weekend.

Labor Day

Both of the most-dangerous holidays to travel create three-day weekends and happen during warm weather. Labor Day is the second-worst of these, with an average fatal accident rate of 308.

Last Labor Day was one of the most dangerous on record, with 394 deaths reported as a result of car and truck accidents. Around 40% of people also tend to have excess alcohol in their system when they get in an accident on Labor Day weekend.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is consistently the most dangerous holiday to drive out of the year. The holiday represents the first vacation opportunity of the summer for many, and millions of people are anxious to take trips and enjoy themselves. Congested roads and a higher likelihood of drunk driving combine to make the holiday weekend risky and outright deadly year after year.

On average, there are 312 deaths over Memorial Day weekend, and over 40% of all accidents involve alcohol. In 2015 (the most recent year for which FARS data is available), there were 367 deaths total across the three-day weekend period.

Driving Safely on the Holidays, and Know Your Rights!

You unfortunately can’t control anyone else on the road, but you can control yourself.

Start by only driving when you are alert, aware, and fully awake. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drink in your system. Avoid driving if you feel ill or are on any medications that warn you about operating machinery. Definitely do not drive if you have consumed alcohol that has impaired your abilities or put you over the legal limit.

Know your route so that you don’t have to divert your focus to navigation and so you also aren’t caught by surprise by sudden turns.

Obey all speed limit laws. Give other cars a wide berth, especially on highways. Anticipate when others may stop suddenly or come into your lane unexpectedly. Predicting that other drivers might make careless decisions or mistakes is the root of defensive driving techniques.

Finally, know your rights if you are in a car accident. Don’t speak to an insurance company without first speaking to a lawyer. You don’t have to accept an insurer’s first offer or negotiate your accident settlement alone. You do have the option to pursue a personal injury claim and potential lawsuit in order to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your damages after a car accident.

Know that you can trust in North Carolina car accident lawyers to be by your side after a serious car accident. If you have been in a car accident on a holiday or any other day of the year, you can reach out to our knowledgeable team for a free case evaluation.

Enjoy your holidays, drive safe, and know your rights!

A common riding safety viewpoint often expressed to motorcyclists over the past decades has been to tell them to ride like they are a target for everyone. It is almost like saying to bikers that they should assume that other vehicles are out to get them (even thought that is not remotely true). The point of all of this kind of talk is to try to make bikers remember to always drive defensively. This advice is not new, but even with all of the technological advances in motor vehicles, it is still very relevant.

 

Motorcycle riders on today’s highways and roadways are always vulnerable to potentially serious injuries. Motorcycles are frequently said to be difficult to see by other vehicles on the road. That is true under even the best driving conditions.  If you throw in the reality that there are many distracted drivers on the roads, the chances of a distracted drive not seeing a motorcycle on the road can are very high. Distracted driving has become a major problem in the United States, and it has put bikers at a higher risk than ever before. Motorcyclists must be prepared to drive defensively.

 

The Problems on the Roads

Most people haven driven distracted at one time or another. Cell phones are one of the most obvious distractions for drivers, but they aren’t the only problem. People have conversations with other passengers in their vehicles, use their rearview mirror to check their appearance and eat, all while they should be completely focused on their driving. . All of these distractions can take a driver’s focus away from the task at hand, and all are potentially dangerous things to do while driving.

Folks that ride (bikes) and people with family members and friends who also ride tend to be some of the most attentive drivers on the road. Even when paying attention, drivers don’t always hear or see riders. Now imagine how much more hazardous it is for the person on a motorcycle when the people around them are performing a variety of other tasks behind the wheel while driving…It is so dangerous and not just for the bikers, but for everyone!

Knowing how to spot distracted driving can help you make important decisions. Getting ahead of a vehicle or hanging far back could be what saves your life. Here are some warning signs that may suggest a driver is distracted:

  • They are consistently slowing down or speeding up without cause. It’s not fair to say that anyone who slows or accelerates is distracted, but it’s best to assume they are not focused when there is no apparent reason for their changes in speed. Be mindful that someone that is speeding up or slowing down for no reason may very well be a distracted driver. 
  • They fail to signal turns or lane changes. Unfortunately, some people have the bad and dangerous habit of never using their turn signals. However, if you are behind a driver who is only intermittently using their signal, the chances are high that they are distracted when they miss hitting their indicator. If you are near a vehicle that changes lanes or turns without signaling, they are a bad driver that also may be distracted. Stay a safe distance away from drivers that fail to use their signals as the law requires. 
  • They do not move at a green light.  Have you ever been behind that person who doesn’t seem to realize that the light turned green? Most of us have experienced this at least once. Take a look at the position of their head while they are sitting there. If you see their head snap up before they quickly accelerate, there’s a good chance that they were texting, reading, chatting or checking out their social media accounts. 
  • They never move. Look for a driver whose head never moves. They don’t look left or right. Their head remains straight ahead or at an odd downward angle. If they stay in one constant position, it is likely that this driver is doing something else behind the wheel.  Remember, you don’t have to be on a cell phone or actively doing something to be a distracted driver. Any driving where you are not focused (day dreaming, preocupised thoughts on something else) is distracted driving.

 

Keeping Yourself Safe

Sometimes noticing that a driver is distracted isn’t enough. Additionally you may need to be able to make maneuvers to keep yourself safe. Some of these things may come naturally to you, and others may require some practice.  Either way, consider the following:

  • Signal to drivers with your headlight. This is an easy way to show the driver your position. Move your bike in such a way that your headlight moves slightly back and forth, making other drivers look up and pay attention.
  • Use hand signals. You may be surprised at how many people fail to learn the hand signals that go along with riding a motorcycle. Some people assume that they are unnecessary because of the lights that are on all bikes. It’s simply a good idea to also use hand signals. Many people don’t, so it is an action that will get you noticed.
  • Evaluate traffic. You should be able to evaluate the flow of traffic, the vehicles on the road and the problems that may arise. The more information you gather through observation, the better chances you have of not being the victim of a distracted driver.

 

Distracted Driving Statistics.

  • 3,450 were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2016
  • Approximately 481,000 drivers use cell phones while driving during daylight hours
  • Eating is a close 2nd to cell phone use when it comes to being the #1 distraction
  • Tens of thousands (or more) of people are injured annually due to distracted driving

While distracted driving is a problem for everyone, motorcyclists may be at a higher risk of fatality due to their lack of protection. Learning how to spot and stay away from a distracted driver can go a long way in keeping you safer on your journey.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in the Carolinas that was caused by a distracted driver, reach out to our team. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation, and let us help you discover the options and rights that you have.

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.

1.Visual

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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The list of prior client settlement results and client reviews/testimonials, do not constitute a promise of any particular result in any particular case, as each and every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any case cannot be predicted by a lawyer or law firms past results.

If a recovery or settlement by trial is made, the client will be responsible for costs 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 percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.

The principal office for Auger & Auger Law Firm is located at 717 S. Torrence St., Suite 101, Charlotte, NC. The attorneys and staff of Auger & Auger Law Firm work and process all of the firm’s files at the principal office location in Charlotte, NC. Other office locations listed on our website are satellite offices that are not staffed daily. Satellite offices are operated for the convenience of our clients and who live outside of the Charlotte, NC metro area and are unable to meet with us at our principal office location. All meetings at our satellite offices must be made by appointment only. Phone numbers for satellite offices forward to our principle office location in Charlotte, NC.