July 2007

North Carolina Authorities Pull Unsafe Truck Drivers Off Roads in Charlotte

July 26, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

As part of “Operation Road Watch,” North Carolina troopers spent two days monitoring roads in the Charlotte area to see whether any commercial truck drivers were in violation of the state’s safety regulations.

Highway Patrol officers cited large truck drivers for over 500 violations—some violations were minor, but other violations could have proven seriously dangerous to other North Carolina drivers if an accident had occurred.

Close to three-dozen trucks and over two-dozen truck drivers were pulled off the road for these serious violations. Almost 300 commercial vehicles were inspected and fines worth thousands of dollars were issued because a number of the trucks were overweight.

Here are the results from Operation Road Watch:

• 290 Commercial Motor Vehicles Inspected by Troopers
• 151 Driver violations (26 removed from service)
• 235 Truck violations (35 trucks removed from service) 
• $7,851 out of service fines 
• 211 trucks weighed
• 139,950 over-weight pounds
• $8,072.80 over-weight fines

State police also looked at other drivers to see whether or not they were driving safely, especially when there were large trucks on the road.

Operation Road Watch is the first program to concentrate its attention on commercial motor vehicles. The program comes following a series of motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks. Unmarked motor vehicles and helicopters are also being used in the crackdown. The watch, which has begun in Mecklenburg County, will sweep through other counties later this year.

Every year, North Carolina police officers and state troopers examine over 16,000 collisions involving motor carrier vehicles. In 2006, 5,845 people were injured and 151 others were killed in accidents involving commercial motor vehicles.

The drivers of commercial vehicles are mandated by law to not only follow the rules of the road that car drivers and motorcycle drivers must follow, but they must also abide by the safety standards that have been set in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the state.

In the event that a person is injured by a negligent truck driver, he or she should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney that understands the nature of truck injury accidents and the different regulations involved. Personal injury claims involving trucks are much more complicated to resolve than personal injury cases involving just cars or motorcycles. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you file a successful claim regarding your truck accident.

Authorities pull unsafe truckers, rigs off the road, News-Record.com, July 23, 2007

Operation Road Watch, NCcrimecontrol.org

Related Web Resources:

NC Department of Crime Control & Public Safety

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

North Carolina Hit-And-Run Driver Turns Himself in to Face Charges In Death of Autistic Teenager

July 20, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Shannon White, a 29-year-old Shelby resident, gave himself up to North Carolina police on Wednesday following his indictment on involuntary manslaughter and felony hit and run charges for the death of Jonathan Scruggs, 18. Scruggs was walking down Caleb Road in Shelby in May when he was hit by White’s motor vehicle.

Scruggs, who had been home-schooled his entire life and was autistic, was headed to his first day of school at Cleveland Community College and his new job at Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries during the time of the hit-and-run accident. His family went looking for him and found his body on the side of the road.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver in North Carolina, criminal charges can be filed against the driver for fleeing an accident scene. North Carolina law says that a driver has a “Duty to stop in event of accident or collision; furnishing information or assistance to injured person, etc.; persons assisting exempt from civil liability.” If found guilty for hit and run after causing an accident, the defendant may have to pay a fine and serve time behind bars.

As a victim of a hit-and-run car accident, you are entitled, by law, to seek legal remedies against the negligent party that caused your injuries. Injuries in any kind of car accident can range from mild to severe and can include mild bruises, broken bones, fractures, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can examine your injuries, investigate the accident, and prove that your injuries were caused by a hit-and-run driver. A criminal conviction will force the defendant to face the law for committing the crime of hit and run. A personal injury claim or lawsuit will allow you, the injured person, to collect damages for the injuries that have been done to you.

If your injuries are severe, you will need assistance covering your extensive medical bills and recovery costs. A personal injury case lets you hold the negligent party responsible for the costs that they have caused you to incur through your pain and suffering and injuries from the accident.

Shelby man turns self in to face hit-and-run charge, Charlotte Observer, July 20, 2007

Hit and Run Laws in North Carolina

Related Web Resource:

Fatality Facts 2005: Pedestrians

North Carolina Inmate Killed On Roadside Cleaning Crew Lacked Proper Safety Equipment

July 17, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

State officials in North Carolina are investigating whether the Department of Correction administrator let a group of inmates work on a six-person roadside cleaning crew last Tuesday without giving them the proper safety equipment that they needed to stay safe on Interstate 40 near Lake Wheeler Road. One of the inmates, Charles Wilson, died after an SUV struck an empty prison van nearby. The van then rolled onto him.

Several inmates and workers at the Wake Correctional Center said that a corrections officer told his supervisor that the crew lacked the proper safety equipment, including road signs to warn motorists of their presence while working in the area. They say that the supervisor disregarded the absence of the equipment. A corrections department spokesperson says that the accusations are being investigated.

The van also struck inmate John Terry and correction officer John McDonald.

Police have charged Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, a Clinton resident and the man driving the SUV, with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Road Construction Site Injury Statistics

• From 1995-2002, 844 workers died at a road construction site in the US
• More than 50% of these deaths involved motor vehicle accidents

The Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices defines a work zone as:

“an area of a highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. A
work zone is typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement
markings, and/or work vehicles. It extends from the first warning sign or high-
intensity rotating, flashing, oscillating, or strobe lights on a vehicle to the ‘End Road Work’ sign or the last temporary traffic control device.”

By law, safety markers must be in place to ensure that workers on the road are safe. If North Carolina’s Department of Corrections knowingly allowed the inmates to work on the roads without the proper safety equipment, they could be held liable for the personal injuries and wrongful death sustained by some of the inmates. The driver of the SUV, Frederick Henri Beaujeu-Dufour, could also be held liable for the wrongful death of inmate Charles Wilson.

Inmates in roadside accident lacked safety equipment, Winston-Salem Journal, July 13, 2007

1 North Carolina Inmate Dies, 2 Injured in Roadside Crew Accident, WRAL.com, July 11, 2007

Fatal occupational injuries at road construction sites

Related Web Resource:

Notification of the Work Zone Safety and Mobility Final Rule, U.S. Department of Transporation Federal Highway Administration

North Carolina Pedestrian Dies After Being Struck By Ford Fusion In Charlotte

July 10, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 25-year-old female pedestrian was declared dead at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say that Lavonda Gibson sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a Ford Fusion while crossing South Tryon Street.

The Ford’s driver, Nicholas Fratantonio, age 22, was not hurt in the motor vehicle collision.

The University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center says there are about 2,200 motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians in North Carolina every year. About 500 pedestrians are injured in these accidents, while 150 to 200 people are killed.

If you are a pedestrian that has been injured in a traffic accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim if another party’s negligence caused your accident.

Common kinds of pedestrian accidents that are caused by driver negligence:

• The car, truck, motorcycle, or SUV driver was not paying attention to the road and did not notice the pedestrian.
• The driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he or she struck a pedestrian.
• The driver was driving above the speed limit and could not stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
• The driver did not see and/or did not stop at the pedestrian crossing/at a red light.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can investigate your case and help you recover compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and other damages. Your personal injury attorney can also determine who was at-fault.

The NHTSA says that 64,000 pedestrians sustained injuries in traffic collisions in 2005. It also says that at least one pedestrian is injured in a traffic crash every eight minutes.

Pedestrian killed on South Tryon, The Charlotte Observer, July 8, 2007

North Carolina Pedestrian Crash Statistics, The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

2005 Data: Pedestrians, National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration

Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration

Adult Pedestrians

North Carolina Woman Dies And Six Others Are Injured In Deadly SUV-Van Collision on South Carolina’s I-77

July 5, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina woman was killed on Tuesday when the 1995 Isuzu Trooper SUV she was riding in overturned after colliding with a 1999 Chevrolet van on South Carolina’s Interstate 77 in York County. Six other people were thrown from the sports utility vehicle. Three of these passengers were young children, ages 5,4, and 3.

The woman who died, 53-year-old Alice Mouzone, had been riding in the front passenger seat at the time of the motor vehicle accident. She was the only one who was not thrown from the SUV because she was the only person in the motor vehicle who had been wearing a seatbelt. They were headed to a 4th of July celebration when the crash occurred.

The six injured passengers were taken to a local hospital. Two of them had to airlifted from the accident scene. All seven people in the SUV were from Thomasville, North Carolina and from the same family.

The passenger and driver of the Chevrolet van were both wearing seatbelts and were not injured in the deadly motor vehicle crash.

The cause of the motor vehicle accident is under investigation.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to cover your medical and recovery costs.

Medical care for serious injuries can be expensive and ongoing, which is why you need to retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer that knows how to handle personal injury claims.

Potential liable parties can include a negligent driver, a manufacturer of a motor vehicle (if the car, truck, or vehicle in question was defective or malfunctioned), and possibly even the local or state government if, for instance, a faulty traffic light was the cause of an injury or wrongful death accident.

SUV rollovers are not uncommon, especially because the way this kind of vehicle is designed puts it at a greater risk for a rollover accident. A lawsuit can be filed against the manufacturer of an SUV if a person is injured or killed because of the vehicle’s design.

I-77 Accident Kills Woman And Throws 3 Children Onto Road In York County, WSOCTV.com, July 4, 2007

I-77 reopens after fatal wreck, Charlotte.com, July 3, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Rollover: The Hidden History of the SUV

The Physics of SUV Rollover Accidents

North Carolina Motorcycle Accidents and Deaths on the Rise

July 2, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says that the number of motorcycle fatalities is growing. This year, the Highway Patrol has so far reported 47 motorcycle deaths, compared to 93 fatalities for all of 2006.

This rise in motorcycle collisions is reflected nationally. In 2003, 3,661 riders were killed while riding motorcycles in the U.S., while more than 67,000 sustained injuries. Police reported more than 79,000 traffic collisions involving motorcycles.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol cites better gas mileage as one of the reasons that motorcycles are growing in popularity. The increase in the use of motorcycles is one of the reasons that more accidents, injuries, and deaths are occurring.

Despite the laws and safety measures that exist to keep motorcyclists safe on our roads, riding a motorcycle can be a very dangerous experience. Motorcycle riders do not have anything to protect them from becoming seriously injured when they are involved in a traffic collision with a truck, car, or another motorcycle.

North Carolina is one of the U.S. states with a mandatory helmet law. Also under state law, motorcycle drivers are required to have a passenger seat and footrest on their motorcycle if they are carrying a passenger with them.

Injuries from a motorcycle accident can include broken bones, severed limbs, severe burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, road burns, disfigurement, and wrongful death.

Motorcycle Fatalities Up Across State, News14.com, July 1, 2007

Motorcycle Rider Safety Data, Bureau of Transportation Statistics

North Carolina State Laws, AMA Database of Motorcycle Laws

Related Web Resources:

Motorcycle Safety, NCDOT.org

State of North Carolina Mandatory Helmet Law


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