A rear-end collision in southeastern North Carolina sent three motorcycle riders to hospitals with injuries and took the life of a fourth biker. The deadly wreck happened on NC Highway 410 near where the northeastern corner of Tabor City transitions into Columbus County on the South Carolina line.
A little before 1 pm on October 8, 2017, the four riders sharing two motorcycles stopped in the roadway as emergency responders worked to clear an earlier crash on the two-lane rural highway. State Highway Patrol officers said the Jeep “failed to reduce speed” before running into the back of the motorcycles.
Two of the motorcyclists suffered relatively minor injuries and are expected to recover. The man driving the other motorcycle was transported in critical condition. That man’s passenger, identified as a 29-year-old resident of Franklinton, NC, died at the scene.
The driver of the Jeep will face charges. North Carolina statutes make it a criminal offense to fail “to decrease speed as necessary to avoid a collision.” A driver who does not slow down sufficiently or come to a stop when necessary can also face civil liabilities, meaning he or she would have to settle insurance claims or pay monetary damages to victims after a lawsuit.
News reports do not mention why the person behind the wheel of the Jeep did not slow down and stop. When researchers from the National Transportation Safety Board analyzed nine rear-end collision that resulted in multiple deaths and dozens of injuries, they found that
Common to all nine accidents was the rear following vehicle driver's degraded perception of traffic conditions ahead. … The striking vehicles and did not find mechanical defects that would have contributed to the accidents. In each collision, the driver of the striking vehicle tested negative for alcohol or drugs. Some of these collisions occurred because atmospheric conditions, such as sun glare or fog and smoke, interfered with the driver's ability to detect slower moving or stopped traffic ahead. In other accidents, the driver did not notice that traffic had come to a halt due to congestion at work zones or to other accidents. Still others involved drivers who were distracted or fatigued.
These findings suggest that a combination of distraction, inattention and poor visibility lead to most rear-end collisions. None of those explanations alone or together would automatically excuse a driver for hitting other vehicles from behind and inflicting injuries or causing deaths.
Working with a dedicated and caring Carolina personal injury lawyer and wrongful death attorney would help the victims of this rear-end collision in on Highway 410 Tabor City hold the at-fault Jeep driver financially accountable.