If you are concerned about the recent rise in traffic fatalities in North Carolina, you are not alone. Last year, the state saw a record number of deadly accidents, and police report dealing with an astounding number of drivers traveling well over the speed limit. In fact, the Department of Transportation estimates that about 15% of drivers routinely travel faster than 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. Several factors have combined to create this perfect storm.
First, because of the recent health scare, fewer drivers are on the road, making plenty of room for those with a need for speed. Second, budget constraints forced many police agencies to reduce the number of patrol officers, giving free rein to those with no concern for your safety on the road. Finally, the court systems are not leveling consequences to deter speeders from returning to the highways with the foot to the floor. However, you may be relieved to learn that this may be about to change.
Where is the justice?
State Highway Patrol and other authorities are looking for ways to obtain more funding so they can more strictly enforce traffic laws with the aim of saving lives. This includes public awareness campaigns aimed at reminding drivers to buckle their safety belts. If you have suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a speed-related accident, this may seem too little too late. However, authorities also hope to bring about the following important changes:
- Working with the district attorney to force those facing extreme speeding charges to plead guilty
- Adding more officers to patrol areas where speeding is a problem
- Increasing the fines that speeders pay after a conviction
- Raising court costs for those found guilty
- Targeting those with previous speeding violations for harsher sentencing
- Encouraging prosecutors to resist dismissing or reducing charges against those accused of extreme speeding
Shockingly, at this time only about 5% of those ticketed for driving more than 20 mph over the speed limit ultimately face extreme speeding charges. Instead, many of them accepted deals by pleading to having improperly working speedometers, despite having no evidence that this was true. If your family is struggling with the aftermath of an accident, this may feel like a slap in the face. However, you may find there are effective ways to pursue justice through the civil court system.