Fatal Crashes a 'Real Problem' in North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA downtown skyline.

A North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Explains What Drivers Should Know

To its credit, North Carolina five years ago recognized it had an unacceptable problem with fatal car accidents and took steps to address the tragic issue. The effort, unfortunately, is not working.

'We've Got a Real Problem'

Being the victim of a car accident is difficult enough. You may have suffered serious injuries or, unimaginably worse, lost a loved one in a fatal crash. Everything – from the legalities and financial worries to dealing with the personal trauma and insurance companies – is complex.

North Carolina instituted NC Vision Zero, aimed at cutting the state's number of traffic fatalities by half in 15 years after the state recorded 1,464 deaths in 2016. In 2020, however, fatalities rose more than 200 to 1,687, including drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

“There’s no question we’ve got a real problem,” said Mark Ezzell, executive director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We never thought that accomplishing our vision of zero deaths on North Carolina roadways was gonna be easy and it’s clearly not.”

Ezzell attributed at least part of the recent rash of highway deaths to the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that, with fewer vehicles on the road, some drivers are more comfortable taking risks behind the wheel.

Addressing Top Safety Concerns

Ezzell says Vision Zero will continue to combat highway fatalities in the state through the creation of a public crash database. He said the information can be used by communities to better design and plan roads. Another program specifically targets drinking and driving.

The University of North Carolina's Highway Safety Research Center, an NC Vision Zero partner, identified speeding as a factor in 24% of fatal accidents in 2020. As a result, Ezzell said the state is examining the construction of more traffic roundabouts, which researchers believe will slow drivers on streets that sustain high rates of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.

Another common-sense way to protect motorists involved in crashes is to promote the wearing of seatbelts, Ezzell said. He said data showed seatbelts were not worn in 40% of fatal crashes.

The University of North Carolina's Seth LaJeunesse said he believes the goal of cutting fatalities in half is still realistic. He says it will take the teamwork of safety advocates, engineers, and local communities, among others.

Crash Victims Have Legal Rights

A bad car accident has the potential to turn your whole life upside down. Your injuries may leave you unable to work, require extensive medical treatments, and prevent you from doing the things you once loved to do before your accident.

If you were injured in an accident that wasn't your fault or a loved one died in a crash caused by someone else, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The problem is insurance adjusters are financially motivated to minimize and deny injury claims to save insurance companies money, and without the help of a car accident attorney, you may lose out on the compensation you're entitled to.

At Brent Adams & Associates, we don't let insurance adjusters push our clients around. We build strong cases based on cold hard facts that the insurance company won't be able to ignore. And if we need to, we aren't afraid to file a lawsuit on your behalf and take the fight to court.

Find out how an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Dunn, and Clinton.

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