A fiery sideswipe crash in an interstate work zone sent a woman in a car to the hospital with serious injuries and left the operator of a construction vehicle facing a moving violation charge. The wreck happened on I-77 in Iredell County, North Carolina (NC), on the evening of June 8, 2017.
According to Fox 46, “A diagram from the highway patrol report released Thursday shows the construction vehicle drove out of the work zone and into traffic. As it did so, it sideswiped a Ford Escape, propelling it into the guardrail. That's when the car caught fire.”
The woman behind the wheel of the car had to be pulled from her vehicle before she became engulfed in flames. The television news report also notes that she was traveling at the posted speed limit and had right of way when the heavy truck pulled out in front of her.
The truck driver was cited for unsafe movement. An analysis of the relevant statute that appears on the University of North Carolina School of Government’s criminal law blog notes that this is most often invoked when a driver fails to signal his or her intention to other drivers. That is, failing to use one’s turn signal or engaging one’s brake lights before turning, stopping, changing lanes or entering a highway can bring a charge for unsafe movement. For construction vehicles, using flashers, backup alarms and horns may also be required to protect other people’s safety.
Specifically, section 20-154(a) of the North Carolina Code states
The driver of any vehicle upon a highway or public vehicular area before starting, stopping or turning from a direct line shall first see that such movement can be made in safety, and if any pedestrian may be affected by such movement shall give a clearly audible signal by sounding the horn, and whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give a signal as required in this section, plainly visible to the driver of such other vehicle, of the intention to make such movement. The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.
Violating the unsafe movement statute constitutes negligence of the kind that can be cited in a personal injury insurance claim against the construction vehicle operator. The NCDOT contractor who employed the truck driver may also have some responsibility for making compensation and paying damages to the woman who got burned and injured in this Iredell County crash on I-77, Working with a dedicated Carolina personal injury lawyer will help the woman who was hurt through no fault of her own hold the truck driver and his employer accountable.