Four people died and a fifth person went to the hospital with severe injuries after their vehicles collided head-on in a rural part of Robeson County, North Carolina (NC), on the night of March 29, 2018. State troopers said operating at an unsafe speed caused one of the drivers to cross the center line of the highway, setting the stage for the deadly crash.
The fatal collision on U.S. 501 was reported just after 8 pm. Upon arriving at the scene south of Maxton and a short distance west of the intersection with NC 83, first responders found all 3 people in a Kia deceased. A passenger in a Ford survived and needed to be airlifted to McLeod hospital in Florence, South Carolina.
The driver of the Ford also died at the scene of the crash. Investigators determined that the Kia driver caused the collision by entering the Ford’s lane.
News reports do not indicate whether the at-fault driver was exceeding the posted speed limit of 55 mph or if the person was just driving too fast for road and traffic conditions. Section 20-141 of the North Carolina General Statutes make it illegal to “drive a vehicle on a highway or in a public vehicular area at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.”
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our condolences out to the friends and families of all the individuals who lost their lives as a result of this head-on collision in Robeson County. We see almost every day the terrible toll speeding and driving too fast for conditions take.
As we note elsewhere on our website, “For every one percent that a driver increases their speed, the risk of being involved in a crash increases by two percent and the risk of being seriously injured in a crash increases by three percent.”
Bearing this out, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles recorded the following crash facts during 2016:
- “Crossed center line/going wrong way” contributed to 9,368 crashes in the state, 290 of which resulted in deaths and 4,303 sent people to hospitals with injuries.
- “Exceeded authorized speed limit” contributed to 4,043 crashes, 240 of which resulted in deaths and 2,088 sent people to hospitals with injuries.
- “Exceeded safe speed for conditions” contributed to 15,175 crashes, 107 of which resulted in deaths and 5,016 sent people to hospitals with injuries,
One reason speeding or going too fast so often proves deadly relates to something we have observed while helping victims of speed-related crashes. Specifically, a driver who is speeding often engages in other bad driving behaviors such as attempting reckless passes or taking their eyes off the road.
Vehicles cover considerable distances at 55, 65, or 75 miles per hour. A driver traveling at such speeds has very little time to recognize or correct errors that can lead to serious injuries or deaths.