February 25th, 2015
Crash test between a 1996 Ford Explorer and 2000 Ford Focus photographed at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center. Category:Ford_Focus_NA_Gen._I Category:Ford_Explorer_(second_generation) Category:Crash tests (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At about 6:13 a.m. Sunday morning, a fatal car crash occurred in Austin, Texas, on West Parmer Lane and Lamplight Village Avenue. According to witnesses, a motorist lost control of his vehicle and rear-ended the car 37-year-old Jong Kim was driving. The driver and passenger of the car that struck Kim’s vehicle both fled the scene. When Austin-Travis County EMS arrived, they found the two wrecked vehicles and the deceased in his car. Police located and arrested the other motorist and the passenger after they were treated at University Medical Center Brackenridge for non-life-threatening injuries. The driver is charged both with fleeing the scene and failing to stop and render aid.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been very interested in making a case for standardizing Electronic Stability Control (ESC), pre-braking systems, sensors, and other collision avoidance technologies and is trying to require that these be standard for passenger vehicles and commercial trucks. The NHTSA released some statistics related to traffic accidents, including rear-end collisions in particular, as follows:
- 23% of all crashes in the U.S. are loss of control or run-off-the-road incidents.
- 28% of all traffic collisions are rear-end collisions.
- About 9% of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by bad lane changes.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), forward collision warning systems will prevent many fatalities. They provided the following statistics about forward collisions:
- There are 115 fatal collisions in large trucks every year.
- There are 897 fatal crashes in passenger vehicles annually.
- Approximately 247 fatal crashes could be prevented annually with lane departure warning systems.
- ESC, it is believed, will prevent about 439 traffic fatalities each year.
February 18th, 2015
2006-present Dodge Charger photographed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Category:Dodge Charger SRT-8 (2006-2010) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Early this month on Highway 259 just north of Henderson, Texas, a 33-year-old Henderson man was killed in a crash near Highway 322. According to authorities, a motorist in a Dodge Ram was headed southbound on Highway 259 at a high rate of speed when he veered onto the center median, overturned, and struck a Dodge Charger in the northbound lane. The collision was front driver’s side to front driver’s side. The motorist in the Charger was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Ram was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released. The crash is under investigation.
The specific cause of this fatal collision has not been determined by officials, though speed was mentioned. According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most drivers are unaware that speeding is as serious as other traffic violations and that it puts people at great risk. Excessive speed carries the following consequences:
- Occupant protection equipment in vehicles is not as effective;
- There is a much greater chance that the driver will lose control of the vehicle;
- The severity of the crash itself is increased, and the result is that injuries are more disabling;
- More fuel is consumed and the cost of travel is higher;
- Once a driver perceives danger, the stopping distance is greater; and
- Speed-related crashes have unexpected psychological and economic implications.
The NHTSA considers the message about the dangers of speeding to be as important as reminders about wearing seatbelts for safety and the hazards of impaired driving.
February 11th, 2015
English: A sign that states “No Texting While Driving” in West University Place, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides information on their website about the dangers of texting while driving. The clear danger of the activity has become a rallying point for agencies focused on public safety. The FCC works with other government agencies as well as safety organizations and industry organizations to try to find ways to reduce occurrences of distracted driving.
The FCC provides the following suggestions for getting involved with efforts to discourage motorists from driving while distracted:
- Parents are urged to be good examples to their children, with regard to driving with attention focused on the road. When driving, do not text, talk on the phone, eat, drink, groom, or engage in any other activities that shift focus away from the road. If you need to make a phone call or answer a text, pull over to a safe location first.
- Clear, simple instructions should be given to teenagers so that they understand that wireless devices should never be used while driving. A great slogan to use is “On the road, off the phone,” according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. Anything that pull eyes off of the road for even a few seconds could result in an accident, injuries, and death.
- Spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. Mention the importance of driving without distraction at organization meetings, with family and friends, and with your children’s schools.
Across the country, texting while driving has been banned in 44 states. Many people in Texas are anxiously waiting to see whether the current Texas legislature will take action on a bill they are scheduled to consider which would ban texting and driving in the Lone Star State. Governor Greg Abbott has not said whether he would veto such legislation, as Former Gov. Rick Perry did, but he has indicated a desire to solve the problem without government involvement and without micromanaging the activities of mature drivers.
Learn more about the proposed legislation and distracted driving in Part 1 of this two-part series.
February 5th, 2015
Driver in a Mitsubishi Galant using a hand held mobile phone violating New York State law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is way up because drivers are involved more and more in mobile communications such as talking and texting on cell phones. In 2012, 18% of all fatal crashes were linked to driver distraction; in addition, there were 421,000 injuries associated with activities such as texting and driving. Among drivers ages 18 through 21, 11% who were involved in a traffic accident said they were receiving or sending text messages when they crashed. Texting while driving is widely recognized as a dangerous activity. It has been banned in 44 states, but Texas is not one of them. There is currently proposed legislation that will make texting illegal in Texas, as well.
On Tuesday of this week, an anti-texting bill was reintroduced. Some supporters of the bill are optimistic that Governor Greg Abbott will prove to be more receptive than former Governor Rick Perry was. In 2011, the Texas legislature passed a texting ban; but Perry vetoed the measure.
Forty cities in Texas have passed city ordinances which ban texting and driving, including Arlington and Denton. Some cities also ban the use of any hand-held device when driving.
According to Matt Hirsch, a spokesperson for Abbott during the campaign last year, Governor Abbott has expressed support for the current laws that are in place, including prohibiting the use of cell phones in school zones and by young drivers. He also expressed an aversion to government mandates which tend to micromanage adults and their driving habits.
Many advocates of a texting-while-driving ban are the loved ones of people who died in crashes that were believed to be caused by distracted driving associated with cell phone use.
Learn more about the proposed legislation and distracted driving in this ongoing series.
January 28th, 2015
Took this awesome pic of i-10 and i-45 right at the northern edge of downtown Houston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At about 2 a.m. in Houston, Texas, yesterday, a 23-year-old man was driving in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class near South Rice on South Braeswood; and a passenger was in the car with him. According to authorities, the driver lost control, veered off of the road, struck several cans, and crashed into a tree. The Mercedes then burst into flames. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, and the driver was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening. The driver has since been booked in the Harris County Jail without bail. He has been charged with the murder of the passenger. It’s likely that the formal charge is vehicular manslaughter.
In Texas, if a driver accidentally causes an accident which results in the death of a passenger in the vehicle, occupants of other cars, pedestrians, or bicyclists, he or she may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
At least one of the following factors usually exists if a driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter:
- The driver was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or
- The driver was driving recklessly or negligently or breaking some other traffic law.
More about negligent, careless, or reckless driving and what may constitute reckless driving follows:
- Reckless driving usually involves demonstration of a disregard for traffic laws.
- Driving 25 miles per hour or more over the speed limit posted is considered reckless.
- Trying to evade police officers is considered reckless.
- Racing another automobile on public streets is deemed careless.
- Passing another vehicle on a two-lane highway when there is limited visibility of oncoming traffic is another example of reckless driving.
January 21st, 2015
Deutsch: Verkehrsunfall mit zwei PKW. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two young brothers, ages 6 and 11, were killed in a head-on crash last Thursday night at about 6:30 p.m. at the San Jacinto River on Beaumont Highway. Their mother suffered a broken leg and two broken arms in the collision. According to Harris County deputies, a 19-year-old driver was attempting to pass another automobile when he crashed head-on into the SUV the children and their mother were riding in. The devastating collision occurred near Crosby, Texas.
The accident is still under investigation, but at least one deputy suggested that the 19-year-old was driving carelessly when the fatal crash occurred. There are risks involved with passing other vehicles. It’s best to weigh priorities and be careful not to take unnecessary risks. Passing vehicles on narrow highways frequently results in collisions for various reasons, such as:
- The driver who is passing misjudges the speed of the on-coming vehicle.
- The driver who is passing makes a wrong judgment about the amount of distance required to complete the maneuver.
- Motorists often pull out of intersections, not realizing a car is in the process of passing another vehicle.
- The driver who is passing fails to check to the rear and doesn’t realize a car from behind has begun trying to pass on the left.
Passing vehicles on Texas streets and highways is a complicated maneuver. A driver should never attempt to pass unless there is no doubt that there is plenty of time to safely pass. You can be confident it is the right time to pass when the following conditions exist:
- You can clearly see the oncoming lane, and no vehicles are approaching.
- There is no doubt in your mind that you can safely complete the maneuver.
- There are no double lines that indicate no passing is allowed.
- No intersections are ahead.
- No cars are currently behind you trying to pass.
January 14th, 2015
2005-2008 Chevrolet Cobalt photographed in College Park, Maryland, USA. Category:Chevrolet Cobalt Sedan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At about 3 a.m. on Monday, three women were traveling on the North Loop in Houston, Texas, when the Chevrolet Cobalt they were in was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver traveling at a high rate of speed. The two passengers in the backseat, both in their early 20s, were killed in the crash. The driver of the Chevy was seriously injured.
The wrong-way driver in this fatal crash suffered minor injuries. According to police, they smelled alcohol in his vehicle. Part of the investigation into this tragic incident involved determining whether or not the wrong-way driver was alcohol-impaired. According to officers, the wrong-way driver is being formally charged with one count of intoxication assault and two counts of intoxication manslaughter with a motor vehicle.
Another wrong-way crash occurred in Houston on Tuesday. At approximately 3 a.m. motorists called 9-1-1 to report that a silver Chevrolet was driving the wrong way on the Eastex Freeway. Moments later, a head-on collision was reported near the North Loop. The Chevrolet struck a Toyota Camry. The drivers of both vehicles were injured, though the driver in the Camry suffered more serious injuries.
Johanna Abad, Houston police officer, spoke about the fatal drunk driving crash. She urges drivers to pay special attention, particularly when traveling in the early morning hours. No one expects to see a driver coming at them head-on. Be alert to the unexpected. If you do see headlights coming your way, make every effort to avoid the vehicle, mindful not to get in a crash with your avoidance tactic. Keep in mind that when drivers are going the wrong way, they are usually intoxicated and unaware that they are traveling in the wrong lanes.
January 7th, 2015
Road construction has many hazards but with proper warning cones and safety equipment a road can be marked during a busy work day of traffic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Construction zones can be dangerous, with drivers getting frustrated because of the need to slow down and merge. Drivers need to take extra care when driving in construction zones. It seems that extra caution may not have been used on FM 43 in front of Church Unlimited in Corpus Christi, Texas, this week. According to Pete Nava, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the driver of a Grand Marquis failed to yield the right-of-way at a stop sign in that construction zone; and the result was a three-car collision.
DPS officials said that after the Grand Marquis driver failed to make the stop, a BMW struck it in a T-bone collision. The impact caused a Dodge Challenger to be struck, and one of the occupants was a pregnant woman, who was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution. DPS gave a ticket to the Grand Marquis driver for failure to yield the right-of-way.
Highway construction zones are hazardous areas. In a study of fatal road construction accidents covering the years 2003 through 2007, 639 workers were killed during that period in the U.S. Although workers are in danger, motorists are also placed at greater risk when special care isn’t taken by all drivers.
Have you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence? If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance related to a personal injury which occurred in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Plano, Mesquite, Irving, De Soto, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Carrollton, Arlington, The Colony, Allen, Lancaster, or anywhere in Texas, contact Texas personal injury lawyer Dean Malone at (214) 670-9989.
December 31st, 2014
Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, Austin Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tragedy occurred on the morning of December 23 near Baytown, Texas, when a wrong-way driver entered the westbound lanes of I-10 not far from Highway 146 and crashed into a car head-on. The 22-year-old occupant of the vehicle that was struck, a senior at Texas Southern University, died at the scene. An arrest warrant has since been issued for the wrong-way driver. No further details were released about the fatal collision, but it is reasonable to assume that the crash may have involved drunk driving.
The holiday season is historically the most deadly, as far as fatal crashes caused by drunk driving. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has issued public service announcements that on New Year’s Eve and January 1, 2015, law enforcement will be out in full force. The goal is to try to reduce the occurrences of drunk driving and alcohol-related collisions.
The annual Holiday Impaired Driving Campaign began December 1 and ends January 2, and it aims to promote the importance of making arrangements for a sober ride home. There is an increase in police patrols during the campaign. There are also no-refusal initiatives being implemented by numerous law enforcement agencies throughout Texas. A no-refusal initiative means that police can and will take a blood sample from any motorist who refuses to give a blood or breath specimen.
In Austin, Capitol Metro is offering free rides after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, to give partiers another option for getting home safely.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), approximately every 53 minutes, on average, someone in the United States is killed in an alcohol-related crash.
December 29th, 2014
Texting on a qwerty keypad phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some statistics can be a bit terrifying, as regards distracted driving. For instance, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of teens and young adults surveyed, 71% admitted to composing or sending text messages while they were driving. Another 78% of young adults and teens said that they have read a text message while driving. What makes this news especially alarming is that texting is an activity that fully diverts attention away from the task of driving for a significant amount of time. The risk of getting into a traffic collision is 23 times greater when texting as compared with driving while not being distracted, according to a transportation survey.
There are a few things parents are urged to do when their teenagers begin driving:
- Be a good example. Children learn many things by the way their parents behave, and that includes how to drive. If they see you texting and talking while driving, they will consider it part of the driving experience. The best practice is to lead by example, demonstrating that no one should text and drive. Pull over to a safe place, if you need to talk or text on the phone.
- Instruct your children that when they are on the road, they are off the phone. Be sure the new drivers in your household understand that a few seconds of having your eyes off of the road can result in a crash that can lead to injuries and death.
See Part 1 of this two-part series for more information about the devastation that can result from distracted driving.
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