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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

Weren't wearing a helmet? We can still help

As last week's post discussed, sometimes, there is a public misconception over motorcyclists and their use of helmets. Specifically, the misconceptions is that North Carolina motorcyclists, who are involved in a serious motorcycle accident with another vehicle, are not entitled to compensation for their injuries if they chose not to wear a helmet at the time of the accident. This is simply not correct.

Of course, our law office strongly encourages all motorcyclists, both in Cary, North Carolina, and around the country, to wear appropriate head protection, particularly where doing so is required by law. However, we also encourage those who, for whatever reason, were injured on a motorcycle and were not wearing a helmet not to lose hope of give up the possibility of being compensated.

Could later high school start times improve road safety?

For many teenagers, getting a driver's license and having access to a car is a dream come true. It can provide young people in this age range with a new found freedom. While this change may be one of the most exciting things in the life of a teen, for many parents the feeling is the exact opposite. There is good reason for this since some of the activities kids this age engage in could lead to car accidents. These crashes could leave those involved with serious injuries.

How effective are helmets in saving motorcyclists' lives?

Of course, it is important for motorcyclists who ride in and around Cary, North Carolina, to wear their helmets when they are riding. They really do save lives and prevent or mitigate serious injuries.

However, it is also important that the North Carolina public realize that helmets are not the equivalent of magic spells that automatically mean that a motorcyclist walks away from a serious motorcycle accident. Such a misperception can lead to people thinking that a motorcyclist who chose not to wear a helmet is solely at fault for his or her injuries following a serious collision.

Recent statistics on motorcycle accident causes

According to a recent report, there were 4,586 deaths in connection with motorcycle accidents in 2014. While this marked a slight decrease in fatalities from the previous year, the number is still remarkably high. In fact, a North Carolinian traveling on a motorcycle is 26 more times likely to die in an accident than a person who is traveling in a passenger car.

Interestingly, while 92,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2014, those who were traveling on a motorcycle were only 5 times as likely to be injured in an accident as a person traveling in a car.

Woman dies in Raleigh-area truck accident

A recent truck accident relatively close to Cary, involving two commercial vehicles and a minivan left a North Carolina woman dead. The woman was an English teacher at an area high school.

According to the police investigating the truck accident, a dump truck did not stop in time and rear ended the minivan that the victim was driving. The force of the impact then pushed the van into the rear of the truck in front of the van. According to witnesses, the resulting impact sounded like explosives detonating. The crash crushed the van. Although, the van pushed the truck in to another car, the damage to that car was minor.

Holding tired or distracted commercial drivers accountable

Last week's post on this blog discussed how a commercial driver who experiences sleep apnea can easily become dangerous both to any passengers he or she is transporting and to other motorists on the road. A driver with sleep apnea is more likely than another driver to be experiencing exhaustion since he or she will not ordinarily get quality sleep at night.

Whether caused by sleep apnea or otherwise, someone who is operating a large commercial vehicle while being too tired to do so safely runs the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel or suffering from highway hypnosis, a condition in which a person can be dazzled by a light or some other object on the road.

How does sleep apnea affect your driving?

In a previous entry, this blog explored common causes of motor vehicle accidents, citing distractions of any kind as one of the top culprits. However, a major hindrance to safe driving, especially in drivers of commercial vehicles, originates in reduced alertness and tiredness as a result of sleep apnea.

A study conducted by University of Pennsylvania found that 28 percent of commercial truck drivers suffer from sleep apnea. While there is not necessarily a direct correlation between commercial vehicle accidents and sleep apnea, the disorder does affect sleeping patterns and thus can affect one's ability to drive.

Common causes of fatal accidents

North Carolina residents are probably already well aware that distracted driving can be deadly. For example, a negligent driver could end up steering his or her vehicle either off the road or in to another car causing a fatal accident. Distracted driving accidents involving commercial vehicles can be especially disastrous, as these vehicles may transport lots of passengers at once or haul heavy cargo, meaning that the possible if a serious injury or fatality increases when one of these vehicles gets involved in an accident.

With respect to distracted driving, one report has identified the sorts of behaviors that are more likely to lead to a fatal collision. Some behaviors on the list might not surprise our North Carolina readers. For example, adjusting things like the rearview mirror or the air conditioner while driving can lead to deadly accidents. Not surprisingly, texting or talking on a cell phone while driving also made the list.

Serious injuries reported in recent Raleigh-area accident

According to reports, at least two people were thrown from their vehicles following an accident on Interstate 540, which as most residents of Cary, North Carolina, know, is located in the Raleigh metro area.

The accident involved a van that was carrying several passengers and a box truck, the type of the truck that can be used as a delivery truck for food and for smaller loads.

Could your vehicle's safety features be dangerous?

All who used their vehicles to get from one place to another in the Raleigh area are likely aware that one focus for carmakers is building vehicles that are designed to keep passengers as safe as possible. Accordingly, certain safety features are standard in all vehicles currently manufactured. One of those features is airbags.

Unfortunately, in some cases it is possible those very devices might actually be a hazard to vehicle occupants. Thus far, defects in airbags made by Takata are responsible for more than 100 injuries and 10 deaths. While approximately 28 million airbag inflators have been recalled, not all cars potentially containing the defect have been recalled.