For residents of Mooresville and the nearby areas of North Carolina, the past year has been fluid with many changes due to unforeseen circumstances. While most have adapted reasonably well, there are fundamental adjustments to various aspects of life. That includes road safety. The roads are always rife with some level of risk – simply driving, riding a bicycle or taking a walk as a pedestrian could result in an auto accident with catastrophic injuries and fatalities. However, specific types of accidents have been on the rise, stoking worry among legislators, regulators and law enforcement. As decisions are made on how to address them, people who have been hurt or lost a loved one should know their rights.
Wrong-way accidents and distracted driving are worrisome problems
In 2020, North Carolina witnessed a sudden and dramatic increase in auto accidents in which one vehicle was going the wrong way on the road. Drivers who are heading in the opposite direction of traffic are prone to having an accident. Head-on crashes are among the worst for serious injuries and death. According to the numbers, there were almost 50% more such accidents in 2020 than the previous year. This happened even as traffic was markedly reduced because of the ongoing societal challenges, school closings and people working remotely.
There were 68 wrong-way collisions for the year. That is the worst in approximately two decades and perhaps longer. Eighty-two people were hurt and 13 died. Across the state, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recorded 723 wrong-way crashes since 2000. Almost 900 people were hurt and 200 died. It is not known why this is happening. Drivers might have become distracted due to the radically different situation, including less traffic on the road. Impairment, distracted driving and recklessness are potential contributing factors.
Drivers are not expecting a vehicle to be heading right toward them. In other situations, there may be a moderate level of consciousness that there is a chance that a fellow driver will behave recklessly and dangerously, making it more likely that the crash could be avoided. With a head-on crash, there is often nowhere to go. Regarding distracted driving – a known cause of many motor vehicle accidents – legislators were weighing the viability of a law to stop drivers from using their cellphones behind the wheel. In the state, drivers are not barred from texting, calling, using social media or using their devices in general. Given the 144 fatal accidents because of distracted driving in the state in 2020 with 157 people losing their lives, this is another worry. Unfortunately, the law many not get very far in its current form.
Drivers should be vigilant and aware, seeking professional help as needed
Many drivers might shrug, wondering about the odds that they will be in these kinds of motor vehicle accidents. It happens every day and people can be on the unfortunate end of a wrong-way accident, a distracted driving collision or a combination. Medical expenses, lost wages and the need for round the clock care are some common issues people face. Even those who have good health insurance and believe they are protected if they suffer injuries in a crash may face severe financial and personal challenges in the aftermath. Having guidance with the victim’s concerns in mind and comprehensive attention can make a vast difference. Whether the case can be settled or it needs to go to trial, consulting with experienced professionals can be essential from the start.