Fatal moped accident in North Carolina prompts questions

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is reminding drivers that moped riders have the same rights on the road as other motorists after a car accident fatality involving a moped and a tractor-trailer occurred earlier this week.

The Highway Patrol said the fatal accident happened after a moped rider tried to move into the left lane on a highway and ended up hitting the back of a tractor trailer. Authorities say that the driver of the tractor-trailer never stopped, most likely because the driver was unaware of the accident. The moped rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities are still looking for the tractor-trailer driver involved in the accident. They said they are not planning on charging the driver with a hit-and-run. Rather, they would just like to talk to the driver about the accident.

The fatal moped accident has prompted some safety concerns and questions from motorists in North Carolina. Despite many thinking that mopeds are not supposed to ride on highways and other roads, under North Carolina law, moped drivers have the same rights as any other motorist.

Law enforcement authorities said that mopeds are able to have full use of the lane but many motorists end up passing them by straddling the center of the lane. Authorities say that this is wrong and can be very dangerous.

Motorists should pass mopeds as they would pass any other vehicle and change lanes completely instead of straddling the center lane. Drivers who straddle the center lane while passing may end up clipping the moped and would be at fault for causing an accident or injury to the moped driver.

Authorities said the main issue motorists should take away from this accident is that all drivers need to be aware of how their driving may cause an accident or injury to another motorist on the road, regardless of what they are driving.

Source: Star News Online, “Mystery truck driver likely unaware of fatal moped crash, authorities say,” F.T. Norton, Feb. 6, 2013

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