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Shapiro & Appleton

When Does a Rural Road Become Too Dangerous?

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Every morning seems to bring sad news of another fatal car accident on a two-lane rural road in North Carolina or Virginia.

Over just the last week, a mother, two of her young children and another elementary school-age girl lost their lives in a T-bone collision with a pickup truck on Sandbridge Road in southeastern Virginia Beach. Two days before that, a high schooler drove off a state highway in Orange County, VA, before hitting a tree. That crash claimed the life of a passenger.

Then, on April 21, 2014, an SUV left the pavement while rounding a sharp curve on Rocky Run Road in eastern Onslow County, NC, near Jacksonville. The 15-year-old front-seat passenger died at the scene of the accident, and the driver, who was a classmate of the deceased victim, sustained serious injuries.

Several other people also required hospital treatment following the three wrecks.

 

 

In addition to their locations and deadly outcomes, each of the crashes involved speeding, which makes the drivers liable for compensating victims. Or, rather, the drivers' insurance companies will have to settle injury and wrongful death claims.

Another factor contributing to the fatal accidents that cannot be overlooked or left unaddressed is the design of the roads. Narrow lanes, absent shoulders and medians, high posted speed limits and tight bends make country roads inherently dangerous. Unsurprisingly, then, each of the crashes mentioned here were followed by calls for safety improvements from people who live along or frequently travel the routes.

As one Onslow County resident told CBS affiliate WNCT 9, if the North Carolina Department of Transportation does not widen Rocky Run and put in safety features, "this won't be the last fatality on it." 

EJL

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