As parents and students begin preparing for the coming school year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall for a single speed bicycle sold by Campus Cruisers LLC of Boulder, Colorado.
Although the bicycle is popular among high school and college students, the CPSC has received several reports of crashes caused by the bicycle's front fork cracking and breaking. This type of front fork failure is extremely dangerous because such a break generally causes the rider to go head first onto the ground or pavement. Serious head and neck injuries can result from this type of crash. The bicycle was sold to independent bicycle dealers in North Carolina and in other states from March 2010 through May 2010. The cost of the bicycle was approximately $450. The bicycle was manufactured by a company in China.
The leading cause of death for teenagers, ages 16 to 19, in North Carolina is motor vehicle crashes. This unpleasant statistic applies across the U.S. as well. In 2008, 9 teenagers died every day from injuries in car wrecks. More teens are killed in car crashes than in any other way. Thus far, almost all states have taken some action to try and reduce teen crashes. But the restrictions vary greatly from state to state.
In North Carolina, the state legislature implemented a graduated driver's licensing (GDL) law that restricts teenagers' right to drive. The law places more restrictions on younger drivers and eases those restrictions as the driver increases in age.
A recent study analyzing the hospitalization rates for teen drivers in North Carolina shows that the GDL system is working. Since the GDL program went into effect, the hospitalization rate for teenagers between 16 and 19 years of age has decreased. The study concluded that the decrease was due to reduced exposure to dangerous situations (e.g. several teenagers in a single vehicle) than to improved driving skills.
A new national study by the Pew Research Center finds that adults are just as likely to have sent text messages while driving as teenagers, and adults are much more likely to have talked on their cell phone while driving when compared to teenagers.
While much attention has recently been focused on teen texting while driving due to several fatal crashes, it appears that adults are just as deserving of similar attention and education. The study's statistics are startling, and it makes this author think that we adults need to look in the mirror before we are so quick to judge our teenagers.
On Thursday morning around 9:50 a.m., a motorcycle driven by Bruce Offenbacker, age 24, rocketed down NC Highway 10 at over 100 mph. On the back of the motorcycle was Offenbacker's 20 year old girlfriend, Jasmine Shope of Newton.
As the motorcycle approached the intersection of Bethany Church Road, Isaiah Edgell, 44, was stopped in his 1989 Mazda pickup truck facing west on NC Highway 10, waiting to make a left hand turn into the Country Market. Iredell County Trooper C.M. Trouille just happened to be sitting in his marked State Highway Patrol vehicle behind the stopped pickup truck. When the pickup truck began to make its left hand turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the pickup truck at a high speed and with substantial force. Trooper Truoille stated he never even saw the motorcycle before impact. This crash was orignally covered by the Hickory Daily Record. The following video is a good example of how this crash happened:
4. Texting drivers are five times more likely to cause a car accident serious enough to put themselves in the emergency room (source: Insurance Institute For Highway Safety); and
5. Using a cell phone while driving decreases a driver's reaction time to the same degree as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% - the legal limit in North Carolina (source: University of Utah).
A distracted tractor-trailer driver ran-over and killed a North Carolina Department Of Transportation (NC DOT) worker on Tuesday morning. The crash occurred as several NC DOT workers were beginning to place Work Zone signs and cones in preparation for a lane closure on I-40 West in Duplin County. North Carolina DOT was closing the lane so that workers could perform maintenance on a bridge at the intersection of NC Highway 24 and I-40 West. This is a rural area where Interstate 40 is straight and level, and the line of sight for approaching drivers is at least one-half (1/2) mile. Click here for 27 photos taken at the scene.
ABC News Channel 11 (WBTV) out of Raleigh dispatched a helicopter and crew to the scene and obtained areal footage of the crash site:
With the recent death of an Asheville teen caused by texting while driving, more attention is being focused on this extremely dangerous activity. Thus far, 25 states have passed laws banning texting while driving. In North Carolina, the ban went into effect on January 1, 2010, and the penalty if you get caught texting while driving is $100.00. So far, few North Carolina citizens have been caught breaking the new law, but, as anyone who is on the road knows, the illegal activity is rampant on our roads and highways.
Given the difficulty of enforcing the new law, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has taken a new strategy aimed at educating teen drivers when they are first learning to drive. The Highway Patrol is encouraging teen drivers to text while driving a golf cart around a parking lot full of orange cones. The results are eye opening for the teen drivers as they run over multiple cones while trying to navigate sharp turns and stop at stop signs. The golf cart experience is gaining popularity across the state and the nation. Each student in Lenoir and Duplin County will get behind the wheel of the golf cart before the end of the school year.
A serious crash closed Interstate 40 for over an hour Monday evening when a westbound Lincoln Town Car crossed the median and went under the rear wheels of an eastbound tractor-trailer. The collision happened just east of the Radio Road bridge that crosses I-40 near Mile Marker 150. Emergency workers and the North Carolina Highway Patrol shut down all 4 lanes of Interstate 40 while they attempted to rescue the occupants of the car.
Trooper Marty Liles of the State Highway Patrol (SHP) investigated the crash and reported that the car, driven by Rashad Whitner, 32 of Hickory, originally went off of the right side of the westbound lanes, re-entered and crossed the westbound lanes, entered the median and went under the median cables, and then entered the eastbound lanes at which time the car went under the rear of the tractor-trailer and was run over by the trailer's rear axles.
On Friday, Asheville Police disclosed that they had accessed the information stored in Ashley Johnson's cellphone. Police investigators who examined the Arden teenager's cellphone stated that the information showed that Johnson, 16, was retrieving a text message just seconds before the BMW she was driving crossed the center line and struck an MB Haynes pickup truck head-on. Investigators also retrieved data stored in Johnson's vehicle's airbag module to determine her pre-impact speed. The airbag module showed that the she was traveling 52 mph. The posted speed limit for Long Shoals Road is 45 mph. The driver of the pickup truck suffered injuries, but he is expected to recover.
Emergency workers airlifted Johnson to Mission Hospital's Trauma Unit, and she remained in the Intensive Care Unit for several days before she eventually died from her injuries. This is a terrible tragedy that should never have happened.
The 10th grader was an exceptional and popular student. She attended Buncombe County Early College, where she was working toward earning her associate degree.
I have several prior posts about the deadly dangers associated with texting while driving. Unfortunately, many people feel that, if they are careful, they can safely text while they are driving. This is impossible. Several studies have shown that if you text while driving your attention level is worse than that of a drunk driver. In fact, a texting driver is 23 times more likely to have a deadly accident that a non-texting driver.
Several mobile applications (apps) are on the market to help us restrict our, and our teenage children who drive, impulse to text while driving. Applications that can deactivate a phone's ability to send or receive texts while in motion are quite effective.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the good, old fashioned copier machine. Over the years, copiers have become increasing sophisticated, and many of today's copiers are more like computers than the copiers that originally hit the market.
As a result, all of the information that is copied is now permanently stored on the copier's hard drive, just like on your computer's hard drive.
From medical records to tax returns, it is all there on the copier, just waiting to be retrieved by anyone who has the desire to use other peoples' personal information for their own gain.
CBS News recently aired a story on this issue, and the implications range from identity theft to national security. It's worth watching.
The National Law Journal recently reported that plaintiffs' class action attorneys could seek more than $7 Billion in damages from Toyota Motor Company for the decreased value to Toyota consumers' vehicles as a result of the problems associated with sudden unintended acceleration.
Plaintiffs attorneys believe that the members of the Toyota class action will enjoy some distinct advantages over members of other class actions, in that numerous consumer rating agencies have indicated that the value of Toyota vehicles have dramatically declined from 2.6% to 3.77%. Those figures may not sound like much, but, when you consider that Toyota sold almost 9 million vehicles in 2008 and is the world's largest automaker, it quickly adds up.
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) also fined Toyota the maximum amount ($16.4 Million) for its failure to timely disclose its knowledge of the sticky pedal problem. The basis for the fine was that manufacturers are required to notify the government whenever they have reason to believe that a product they manufacture may not be safe. Toyota did nothing until the issue was picked up by the national media. NHTSA has confirmed that Toyota knew that there were safety issues with its gas pedals for several months before they publicly disclosed the problems.
Toyota could have easily taken issue with the amount of the fine and demanded explanations about the method NHTSA used to arrive at the record penalty. $16.4 million is a mere drop in the large bucket of cash Toyota has amassed in recent years. Toyota paid the full fine last month without so much as a whimper. The auto manufacturer was careful not to admit any legal liability with regard to the sticky pedal problem. The following statement by Toyota indicates that the plaintiffs are probably going to be in for a fight as they seek to recover for their harms and losses.
"We have acknowledged that we could have done a better job of sharing relevant information within our global operations and outside the company," Toyota said, "but we did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem".
At this point, Toyota would probably just like to "move forward."
This shocking image illustrates the potential dangers of trying to use a cell phone while driving. The young driver of the Volkswagen failed to see the motorcycle when he pulled out into the highway. Records showed that the Volkswagen driver was texting at the time of the collision. Not surprisingly, the driver of the car, his passenger, and the motorcyclist were all killed instantly.
Our nation's Congress has also been evaluating ways to prompt each state to enact legislation to ban texting while driving. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, asserts that, if it were up to him, he would ban texting while driving immediately.
A lack of manpower in the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Motor Carrier Enforcement Section means that many tractor trailer trucks are running illegally on North Carolina roads and highways.
North Carolina currently ranks sixth (6th) in the nation for truck accidents. This staggering statistic is certainly related to the fact that so many trucks and their drivers are operating outside of the law. In 2009, more than 50 percent (50%) of the tractor trailers inspected in North Carolina had serious safety and/or equipment violations. Of those found to be in violation, more than twelve percent (12%) were in such bad shape that they were shut down and "put out of service." Being "put out of service" means that, as a result of serious safety violations, a tractor trailer or its driver are deemed an imminent danger to the general public.
Of the almost 10 million tractor trailer trucks coming through North Carolina weigh stations each year, only a mere one percent (1%) are inspected. If more than fifty percent (50%) of those inspected are in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, then one can conservatively surmise that at least every other truck you see on the road is operating in violation of the law.
Most states operate their inspection and weigh stations for commercial motor vehicles on a 24/7 basis. But not North Carolina. In North Carolina, weigh stations operate approximately 15 hours a day, five (5) days a week. At many weigh station locations, there is no State Trooper present to chase down truck drivers who refuse to stop at the weigh station. In the truck industry, North Carolina is considered "trucker friendly" due to our low number of inspections.The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says the problem is manpower. If that is the case, the North Carolina General Assembly needs to dedicate some funding toward increased enforcement. It should crack down on the truck industry by requiring that more trucks be inspected, by putting dangerous truck drivers and their unsafe rigs out of service, and by levying heavy fines to the truck companies that allow these drivers to be on the road.
On October 13, 2005, a young man road his bicycle on the side of a rural North Carolina highway from his cousin's house back to his own home. At the same time, a truck driver had been driving his tractor trailer for 23 hours in a row and was heading back to the truck terminal. As the trucker came up from behind the bicyclist at 73 mph, he didn't see the bicycle or rider until the last second. The collision killed the young man on the bicycle, and then the truck company cover-up began. Because of the cover-up, no criminal charges were filed, but a relative decided to go under-cover and work for the truck company. The hidden evidence he discovered became the foundation of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Channel 11 ABC Eyewitness News (WTVD) decided to run a feature story about this case because of the disturbing evidence Truck Accident Attorney Brian Davis discovered during the litigation of this case. Click on the below window to view the ABC News Video and see how greed and big business drove one North Carolina truck company to ignore the law and the safety of the general public.
Ralph Terry Dowdle had a history of minor traffic accidents in his bus prior to the serious crash he caused on Saturday, April 17, 2010 in downtown Asheville. The attached video shows the bus driver slumping over to his right just a few moments before the bus veers left and crashes into a parked car and the fronts of several buildings along College Street.
The accident seriously injured 55-year-old Susan Jane Zakanycz. Her leg was almost severed in the wreck. Unfortunately, the doctors at Memorial Mission could not save her leg, and she had to undergo an amputation.
The Buncombe County District Attorney's Office decided not the charge the bus driver criminally after it was discovered that he was suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition. Officials have said that the condition is what caused him to crash the bus. Strangely, no one has indicated what this undiagnosed medical condition is or how long he has had it. One condition that could cause similar symptoms is narcolepsy. This is the condition that causes one to suddenly fall asleep. We have encountered this condition in some of the tractor-trailer accident cases we have litigated. In the cases that we've handled involving narcolepsy, the at-fault driver was aware of the condition prior to the crash and had not sought medical treatment for fear of losing their job.
Oct 23, 14 05:45 PMSchool Bus Rear-Ended in Henderson CountyOn Tuesday afternoon, a school bus was rear-ended in Henderson County. There were 22 students from Clear Creek Elementary School on the bus. They were headed back from a field trip at the time. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the driver that rear-ended the bus was looking down at his phone at the time of the crash.
Oct 22, 14 07:21 PMLeaf Season Wrecks on Blue Ridge ParkwayAn increase in car crashes on the Blue Ridge Parkway has law enforcement officials reminding motorists to drive safely while enjoying the fall scenery. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, this is one of the busiest seasons for the popular scenic roadway. There have been 19 crashes on the 469-mile stretch of road, and half of those wrecks happened in the Pisgah District. There is also some concern that drivers are looking at the leaves instead of focusing on the road.
Oct 16, 14 09:29 PMBicycle Safety in AshevilleCyclists are out in full force enjoying the crisp weather and beautiful fall foliage, so motorists in and around Asheville need to be on the lookout. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has great tips for cyclists and drivers to improve roadway safety for everybody.
Oct 14, 14 06:46 PMDeadly Wrong-Way Crash in Henderson CountyOn Monday night, two people died in a wrong-way crash on I-26. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the Henderson County wreck happened at about 9:30 p.m. in the eastbound lanes, near mile marker 50. Initial reports indicate that an elderly male driver was headed the wrong way and crashed into a pickup truck head on. First responders, crews and investigators were on the scene until about 11:00 p.m., and both drivers were killed in the crash.
Oct 9, 14 10:15 AMUnattended Waste Truck Slams into HomeOn Tuesday afternoon, an unattended dump truck crashed through a mobile home in Candler. The incident happened sometime before 1:30 p.m. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the Waste Pro dump truck rolled about 65 feet downhill before slamming into the house on Shelba Drive.
Oct 7, 14 12:23 PMSix People Hospitalized after I-26 CrashA rollover crash on I-26 that sent six people to the hospital is being blamed on driver inexperience. According to the Times-News, the 15-year-old driver was licensed in South Carolina and had some type of conditional or provisional license, also known as a "learner's permit." Apparently, the teen driver's vehicle drifted to the right shoulder of the road and hit a section of rumble strips. The driver then jerked the steering wheel and overcorrected the Mazda SUV. The vehicle flipped over on the roadway.
Davis Law Group, P.A.
1 North Pack Square, Suite 412
Asheville, North Carolina 28801