Wake County drivers may notice a lot of construction on one of our busiest roads, Interstate 40. The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced that starting today and continuing for more than a year they will close some lane on I-40 in order to rebuild the roadway. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/traffic/article29890144.html
Safety in a work zone is of utmost importance. The leading cause of crashes in a work zone is speeding. Being caught speeding in a work zone, even without a crash, can lead to significant financial penalties. If speeding causes a crash in a work zone very serious criminal charges could be filed . As always, if a driver is negligent by speeding, or in other ways, and causes a wreck, then he is responsible for the injuries that he causes.
NCDOT has provided a helpful website to educate the driving public about safety and work zones. In particular they post the following tips:
STAY ALERT: Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION: Signs and work zone flaggers save lives.
TURN ON YOUR HEADLIGHTS: Workers and other motorists must see you.
DON’T SPEED: Note the posted speed limits in and around the work zone.
KEEP UP WITH THE TRAFFIC FLOW
DON’T CHANGE LANES IN THE WORK ZONE
MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS: Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones while driving in the work zone.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
BE PATIENT: Remember the work zone crew members are working to improve your future ride.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT WHICH CAUSED DEATH OF YOUNG WOMAN RESULTS IN $25 FINE FOR DRIVER, AND AN UPSET WAKE COUNTY MOTHER
At times, the justice system produces odd results. It’s an escapable fact that, in many cases, the punishment will not fit the crime.
In a motor vehicle accident, which occurred over two years ago, a young Pitt County woman lost her life after a teenage driver crossed the centerline and crashed head-on into her vehicle. At the time, the driver of the truck was seventeen years old. Immediately after the accident, the district attorney charged the driver with misdemeanor death by vehicle. The charge is appropriate where: (1) the act was unintentional; (2) the person was violating a state law regarding the operation of a motor vehicle; and (3) the violation of the law was the proximate cause of the death.
This would have seemed like a slam-dunk case, as the facts suggested that the driver was using his cell-phone at the time, in violation of state law. However, after two mistrials, the district attorney was forced to allow the defendant to plead guilty to driving while using a cellphone and pay a $25 fine. This case exemplifies how difficult it can be to prosecute criminally for traffic accidents due to how fact intensive they can be.
On a separate note, the driver would certainly have some liability in tort law for his actions. A negligence action, unlike a criminal case, only uses a preponderance of the evidence standard. This just means that the jury must find that it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused the death of the woman. However, in many cases involving a defendant teenager, there simply may not be any funds to which a judgment could be attached.