North Carolina residents may have heard that the number of road users killed around the country fell slightly in 2018, but pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose sharply. Data released by the National Highway Traffic Administration reveals that 36,560 people died on the nation's roads in 2018, which represents a 2% decline over grim 2017 figures. However, pedestrian deaths rose by 3% to 6,283 and cyclist fatalities increased by 6% to 857.
While accidents happen simple because it was an accident, others are caused due to negligence. South Carolina has not had a great year when it comes to the number of motorcycle accident related deaths. A recent crash that happened on a Midlands road became the 102nd death this year involving a motorcyclist or moped driver. The state had only 88 of those same death in the entire year of 2018.
Because of their size and strength, professional athletes, especially football players, often appear to be immortal. Sometimes, this image of immortality extends to their families or girlfriends. When death or serious injury strikes one of these elite people, the reaction can be intense grief mixed with disbelief. These emotions were on the loose recently after the girlfriend of Cleveland Browns player Chris Smith was struck and killed by a car while she was standing on the shoulder of I-90.
When cars and motorcycles collide, the persons on the motorcycle generally suffer more severe injuries than persons in the car. Occasionally, the truth of this adage can be questioned if the motorcycle driver was driving too fast or was impaired by alcohol or drugs. A car and motorcycle recently collided in west Charlotte, killing the motorcycle operator and three people in the automobile. Police have not yet completed their investigation or issued a definitive statement about the cause of the crash.
Multi-vehicle accidents can be difficult to sort out. In the space of a few seconds, several vehicles can collide for very different reasons, and determining liability may require a significant post-accident investigation. A recent multi-vehicle accident on Highway in Monroe demonstrates the difficulty of establishing causation and liability.
North Carolina has many winding and hilly roads that can be very scenic but also very dangerous. Many driveways and smaller roads enter these highways without any traffic signals or other warning. People who live in the vicinity of dangerous spots, such as blind curves or steep hills, are often familiar with the hazards, but people who rarely travel these routes are not. A recent head-on collision near Gastonia demonstrates the kinds of cataclysmic automobile accidents that result from such roads.
The front passenger seat in an automobile is sometimes ominously referred to as the "suicide seat" because persons who sit in that seat are especially vulnerable to serious injury or death in a head-on collision. A recent head-on motor vehicle accident in northwest Charlotte proved the sad truth of this name.
Anyone who has driven on an Interstate highway has undoubtedly wondered about the horizontal bar on the rear of semi-trailer trucks. Why is it there? What does it do? The bars are called underride protectors or rear guards, and they are supposed to prevent passenger vehicles from sliding under the truck in the event of a rear-end collision. As a recent accident in Charlotte demonstrates, they do not always fulfill their function.
Churches in North Carolina often use vans to transport parishioners, youth groups and church staff to activities at other churches and religious organizations. Such trips are generally safe for all concerned, but occasionally, other drivers create unexpected hazards. On May 28, a church-owned van was carrying a number of parishioners to a revival meeting at another church. The van was turning into the church drive way when a Ford F-450 truck rear-ended it. The results of the collision were calamitous.
Buses often appear to be very safe, because they are larger than most vehicles that share the roads and strongly built to withstand crashes. Unhappily, buses can experience accidents caused by driver error, lack of proper maintenance and, of course, collisions with another vehicle. A recent bus accident near Uptown Charlotte tragically demonstrated the risks faced by bus passengers.