A head-on collision in Wake County, North Carolina (NC), sent three innocent people in an SUV to the hospital with injuries. A 5-year-old boy was among the injured victims of the late-night May 27, 2017 crash south of Wake Forest.
Preliminary investigations reveal that the driver of car caused the wreck by crossing the double yellow center line of Mitchell Mill Road at around 10:30 am. The collision killed the at-fault driver, who is believed to have been speeding around a curve near the intersection with Watkins Road.
Section 26-146 of the North Carolina Code makes it illegal in most circumstances to cross a double yellow line on a two-lane rural highway such as Mitchell Road. Specifically, subsection d1 of the statute states that “a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.” Keeping as far right in one’s own lane as possible is also part of the law meant to prevent head-on collisions.
This crash in Wake County shows the tragic consequences of neglecting to meet these legal requirement for driving safely and staying in one’s lane. As for why the at-fault driver crossed into the path of the SUV approaching from the opposite direction, research conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration provides a plausible hypothesis.
Analyses of speed-related crashes done by that federal agency’s National Center for Statistics & Analyses revealed that “about a third of all fatalities that occurred in motor vehicle traffic crashes were speeding-related.” Researchers also uncovered two common characteristics of those fatal collisions:
- Close to 40 percent happened while the at-fault driver was negotiating a curve.
- The greatest number happened on rural roads.
It may be tempting to say the stage was set for this head-on collision in central North Carolina, but that would overlook the ways the wreck could have been prevented. Even though the driver who struck the SUV and injured two adults and a young child lost his own life, his insurance policy will remain in effect. Consulting with a knowledgeable Carolina personal injury lawyer will help the victims work with the insurance company to file claims for coverage of medical bills and other damages.