David Bridgman joins O'Malley Tunstall
During the Great Recession and economic recovery, great improvements were made when it came to keeping roads and citizens safe from driving fatalities. However, per the National Safety Council, the number of traffic-related deaths hit 40,200 in 2016, which is up 6 percent from 37,757 in 2015. This is the highest number for a single year in almost the last decade. Before 2016, the highest number of fatalities hit was 41,000 in 2007.
The holidays are a time of joy and merriment and usually involve alcohol. It is also a time for travel, and drinking and driving are not a good combination. It is important to know how alcohol affects your ability to drive so you can make smart choices as you attend holiday parties and celebrate the season. Do not be a part of the 1.4 percent of North Carolina residents who drive despite being intoxicated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Los Angeles drivers made national news the weekend before Thanksgiving when there were reportedly hundreds of accidents because of a torrential downpour that dumped up to two inches of rain in the area. While we on the Atlantic Seaboard may have a laugh at the idea of these Californians panicking because of a little rain, North Carolina drivers are not immune to accidents in the rain.
A recent study by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety focused on the effect of momentary distractions on a driver's performance. Distracted driving is becoming a major problem on today's roads due to the constant presence of smartphones, GPS systems and DVD players inside the vehicle. Looking away for a mere two seconds at 70 miles per hour causes a driver to miss approximately 200 feet of road.
North Carolina drivers who operate a vehicle at any time while drowsy or sleepy dramatically increase their chances of being involved in an accident, according to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drinking, use of sedative medications and age may all play roles in increasing the likelihood of a drowsy-driving accident. Young males, graveyard-shift workers and people with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may be at higher risk than the general population.
On March 13, 2015, North Carolina police in Durham were planning a meeting in the District Attorney's Office to decide whether to go forward with more charges against a 41-year-old Durham man responsible for a fatal car crash that killed a 53-year-old youth counselor. The drunk driver was going southbound on Fayetteville Road when he struck the counselor's car from behind, causing him to go into oncoming traffic. A local woman was also hit in the crash.
North Carolina residents might benefit from learning more about some of the facts associated with distracted driving as described by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to minimize the risks associated with distracted driving, many states now prohibit texting on a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. During 2011, researchers with the CDC discovered that motorists in the U.S. text and email at a significantly higher rate than those living in Europe.
Traffic accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers were responsible for one fatality every 51 minutes in 2012, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Such accidents took the lives of 10,322 people in the United States, a 4.6 percent increase from 2011. In North Carolina, 460 people died in collisions involving impaired drivers.
Many people who have been involved in car accidents in North Carolina have suffered whiplash injuries. Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury that is commonly caused by the force of a vehicle collision. When two vehicles collide, the force of the impact can cause the passengers to be jolted forward and backward. This sudden motion can cause the sensitive muscles and ligaments in the neck to overextend or tear, resulting in whiplash.