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Tips for avoiding accidents with commercial vehicles

Large truck accidents that take place on North Carolina roads can result in injuries or death to all involved. According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 66 percent of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks were in the passenger vehicles. Therefore, it is important for those driving lighter cars to know how to stay safe when sharing the road with large trucks.

It is a good idea to stay at least 500 feet away from any commercial vehicles. This gives them enough space to stop or slow down suddenly without causing a crash. When driving near a larger vehicle, drivers should be sure to stay focused on road conditions as opposed to a smartphone or other electronic device. Drivers should also take time to observe the actions of other drivers on the road. If a vehicle is swerving or braking in an unusual manner, it could indicate a drowsy or distracted driver.

Things to consider before becoming a franchisee

Opening a new business in North Carolina as a franchisee can be a lucrative endeavor, but it's important to consider a variety of risk factors before moving forward with an investment. One of the first factors to analyze is whether or not a business opportunity is in an established or relatively new market. Old markets aren't 100 percent safe, and new ones aren't always fads, but how established a particular business is should weigh heavily in calculating the risk.

Another factor to consider is locality and seasonality. Some businesses only generate enough revenue to operate in specific regions or during specific times of the year. Running a surfing supply franchise in Minnesota during the winter isn't likely to be profitable. Franchisees who only want to work half the year may benefit from opening a business that's only busy from April to October. Recession resistance is also important. Whether or not a franchise can hold up during an economic downturn will help determine long-term success.

What to consider before selling a business

For business owners in North Carolina who are looking to exit their companies, 2019 could be an ideal time to do so. However, this doesn't mean that they should sell without first thinking through the sale process. For instance, it is important to understand how market conditions could impact what a buyer is willing to pay. The economy is expected to slow going into 2020 and 2021.

That might make it worthwhile to sell a company in 2019 while conditions are still favorable. Of course, it is also worth noting that available inventory is going up as older company founders are looking to retire. Therefore, it could result in lower prices even in good economic times. When preparing to sell a company, it is critical to have detailed and organized financial information available for buyers to review.

Exemptions for agricultural drivers may hinder safety

Commercial truckers in North Carolina know how the electronic logging device mandate went into effect back in December 2017. They may also know how drivers carrying agricultural commodities were granted a temporary exemption. This was just one of a long line of exemptions granted to truckers in the agricultural industry since the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995.

With that act, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration established a 100 air-mile radius, which was expanded to 150 in 2012, around pickup spots inside of which drivers were exempt from hours-of-service regulations. They only had to log in their hours if they intended to go outside the radius. Then, in the summer of 2017, the FMCSA revised this law so that now truckers only need to log in their hours when completely outside the radius, never inside.

North Carolina zoo intern killed by lion

A North Carolina zoo has experienced a major tragedy, after an escaped lion killed a 22-year-old intern on her second week on the job at the facility. The Conservators Center is located in Burlington, between the cities of Greensboro and Durham. It is home to over 80 animals, including 20 big cats; the collection includes lions, tigers and leopards. The woman lost her life while she participated in a routine cleaning of an enclosure for zoo animals on Dec. 30, 2018.

The intern was working toward a career in animal care and had recently graduated from Indiana State University, coming to North Carolina from her home state of Indiana in order to take the internship with the zoo. In a statement released by Conservators Center, the zoo said that a trained team was performing a routine cleaning of an animal enclosure area at the zoo, led by a professional animal keeper. During this cleaning, the lions were supposed to be held in a locked space nearby. However, one of the lions escaped from this area, entering the enclosure while the humans were cleaning. It quickly attacked and killed the intern, taking her life.

FMCSA reports on increase in dump, concrete truck crashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found that the number of serious dump truck accidents and ready-mix concrete truck accidents rose by 9 and 9.6 percent, respectively, in 2016. By "serious," the FMCSA report means accidents where the truck in question had to be towed away. Though 2016 is the latest year with complete data, there is little doubt that this upward trend has not changed. Truckers in North Carolina may wonder why.

A major reason is poor driving habits among truckers. Fatigued driving, speeding and distracted driving, especially cell phone use behind the wheel, are all too common among truckers. Many feel encouraged to speed and violate federal hours-of-service guidelines because of the by-the-load incentives they receive.

Woman killed in collision with logging truck

On December 18, a North Carolina woman lost her life in a two-vehicle crash in Surry County. The accident occurred at around 9 a.m. in Mount Airy.

According to Surry County Emergency Services, the victim, who was in her 80s, was driving a pickup truck on Old U.S. 601 when she collided with an empty logging truck. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The driver of the truck suffered unspecified injuries and was taken to Northern Hospital of Surry County for treatment.

The possible benefits of a collection attorney

Business owners in North Carolina may encounter a situation in which customers refuse to pay for goods purchased or services rendered. While it may be necessary to go to court to resolve the matter, this isn't always true. The first step in the process should be to send a debt collection letter. This letter should state how much is owed, when payment was due and what could happen if payment isn't received in a timely manner.

Usually, a business will send a follow-up letter prior to taking any further action on the matter. It is important to keep in mind that a debtor does have rights that business owners and other creditors need to respect. In the event that a business chooses to hire an attorney, that person should understand the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and stay in compliance at all times.

What to know about business transactions in the new year

North Carolina business owners are likely aware of the implications associated with a judgment either for or against their companies. For instance, if a company is being sold, a judgment that is waiting to be collected could be an asset. For someone looking to buy a business, a judgment against that entity could be a liability to consider during the due diligence process.

In some cases, a judgment that was thought to have expired could still be enforceable. For example, a change to the law could increase the amount of time that money could be collected from a business by a creditor or defendant in a lawsuit. In Arizona, judgments used to be enforceable for five years. As of August 2018, they became enforceable for 10 years. This could mean that business owners who believed that a judgment had expired could still be collected for another five years.

Underride guards could help prevent fatal collisions

Residents of North Carolina and elsewhere in the U.S. should be aware of efforts to increase road safety by requiring trucks to have guards that would prevent deadly underride crashes. An underride crash is a type of accident that occurs when a vehicle slides under a truck. These accidents are often fatal, and hundreds of people are killed each year in these crashes.

In 2017, federal lawmakers attempted to pass legislation that would require underride guards on the sides and fronts of all large trucks. Underride guards are already required on the backs of trucks. The bill would also require that annual truck inspection include inspection of underride guards. However, the legislation has not progressed since it was introduced.

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