Study Finds North Carolina’s Vehicle Safety Laws Lacking in Many Areas

North Carolina’s vehicle safety laws put it in the middle of the pack when compared to the other states in the Union, according to a report issued by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an organization that represents insurers, public health, and medical groups to increase automotive safety.

North Carolina had 1,450 auto-related deaths in 2016, which resulted in an estimated annual economic loss of nearly $8 billion.

The report lauded the state for its strong texting-while-driving rules, which helped contribute to reductions in distracted-driving incidents. The report went on to chastise the state for failing to require children to be in rear-facing car seats until the age of two and for not requiring a booster seat until children reach the appropriate age and height. Additionally, North Carolina does not require an ignition interlock for all DUI convictions. An interlock prevents drivers with a blood-alcohol content more than the legal limit from starting and driving their vehicles. North Carolina only requires interlocks in situations where the charges show the defendant had an excessive blood-alcohol content or where there were other aggravating circumstances.

Being involved in an accident where any injury results starts the ball rolling on a lot of frustrating items: insurance claims, traffic tickets, and hospital bills, to name a few. Take every precaution you can to avoid exposing yourself to increased injury by taking advantage of every safety measure available to you. Just because the law doesn’t require it does not mean it isn’t a good idea.

Stringent automobile safety laws are important, but to be effective, they must be obeyed as much as they must be enforced. They are designed to protect motorists, but ultimately motorists are responsible for obeying the laws and having concern for all persons on the road.

One question that can come up in these situations deals with drivers from other states. A driver from Virginia may only know the laws for Virginia and may not be aware of how strict or lenient another state may be. The important thing to know is that if you are involved in an accident in another state or if you are stopped and ticketed in another state, you are subject to the laws of that state. Though each state has different laws, you are subject to the laws of the state in which you are located. By driving on the roads of that state, you are agreeing to be bound by its laws.  Do the best you can to make yourself aware of the rules of the jurisdiction in which you are driving and remember that just because a state has less stringent laws than what you are used to doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to be less safe.

Ben Whitley is a car accident attorney with Whitley Law Firm. He can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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