Personal Injury Blog

3 Die in a Montgomery County Crash Involving an 18-Wheeler and Alleged Drunk Driving

April 29th, 2016
English: Volvo FH16 lumber truck in Pyhäjärvi,...

English: Volvo FH16 lumber truck in Pyhäjärvi, Finland Suomi: Volvo-puutavarayhdistelmä Pyhäjärvellä (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, April 22, at about 11:10 a.m., an 18-wheeler driver allegedly failed to maintain proper speed and crashed a lumber truck into four vehicles on Texas 105 not far from South Walker Road. Two of the crash victims were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim was taken to Conroe Regional Medical Facility and died at the hospital. A child was critically injured in the crash and was flown to Herman Memorial Downtown; there have been no further updates on the child’s condition. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the 38-year-old 18-wheeler driver was arrested on one charge of intoxication assault and three charges of intoxication manslaughter in connection with the fatal crash.

Large commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers add extra danger to our roadways, weighing up to 40 tons or 80,000 pounds.  The average weight of a car or light-duty truck is 4,079, which means 18-wheelers can weigh 19.5 times as much. When the driver of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drinks alcohol, the potential danger of big rigs is multiplied.

Driving while intoxicated is very dangerous. The legal limit for drinking is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. Drivers under the age of 21 are not allowed to have even a trace of alcohol in their system.

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system functions, which makes it a depressant. Alcohol normally causes delayed brain function, making it impossible for a person to perform the same as when sober. Cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, and processing skills are all affected by alcohol in ways that make it dangerous for someone to drive.

Vehicular deaths, highway injuries, and the risk of automobile accidents are all greatly increased when a driver is intoxicated.

Learn more about 18-wheelers and drunk driving in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

4 Adults are Dead and Children Injured in a Head-on Crash in Montgomery County, TX

April 22nd, 2016
Head-on crash test between 2009 Smart ForTwo a...

Head-on crash test between 2009 Smart ForTwo and 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 photographed at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center. IIHS crash test page Category:Smart_Fortwo_Coupé_(2nd_gen) Category:Mercedes-Benz W204 (pre-facelift) Category:Crash tests Category:Blue and silver vehicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday evening a fatal head-on crash occurred at Albert Moorehead Road on FM 3083 in Montgomery County, Texas, southeast of Conroe. Authorities say that the driver of a Toyota Tundra traveling southeast and reportedly going at a high rate of speed allegedly drove into oncoming traffic and struck a Chevy Tahoe traveling northwest. Witnesses told members of law enforcement that the Tundra was passing in a no-passing zone when the fatal collision occurred.

Just before the Tundra burst into flames, a child who suffered serious injuries in the crash was rescued from the vehicle. The two adults inside were unable to escape. The two adults in the Tahoe were also killed. There were three children in that car, and they were all seriously injured and transported to nearby hospitals.

Erik Burse, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the crash was entirely preventable and could have been avoided.

Statistics show that it is more accurate to refer to wrecks as collisions as opposed to calling them accidents, based on the following statistics:

  • Number of crashes caused by a wheel problem such as a blowout: 15,000
  • Number of crashes caused by slick roadways: 26,000
  • Number of crashes caused by a driver who made a bad decision: 684,000

When drivers make bad decisions, they put others at risk. The following are among the worst types of driving behaviors:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Texting and driving
  • Driving while fatigued or drowsy
  • Driving while distracted by anything that takes attention away from the road

Many states provide discounts on auto insurance when motorists take a defensive driving course because it reminds motorists of the dangers of these types of driving behaviors.

–Guest Contributor

3 Texas Teens Die in a Crash Attributed to Cell Phone and GPS Use – Part 2

April 15th, 2016
English: A sign that states "No Texting W...

English: A sign that states “No Texting While Driving” in West University Place, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month two sisters along with two of their friends got in a deadly collision in Corpus Christi, Texas. They were on their way home to Bellaire after a Spring Break trip to South Padre Island when the fatal crash occurred. The three girls who died in the wreck were Jade Robinson, age 17; Brianna Robinson, age 19; and Brittanie Johnson, age 18. Shelby Coleman, a high school senior, was critically injured and was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Corpus Christi. According to an officer with the Texas Highway Patrol Division, Coleman was driving and was distracted from the task as she looked her GPS on her cell phone. She allegedly drifted into the center median and lost control after overcorrecting her vehicle. The car then spun across the highway and into oncoming traffic. The vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler truck.

The following are more statistics related to distracted driving:

  • Erie Insurance found in a recent survey that drivers reported doing many dangerous things while driving, including changing clothes and brushing their teeth. About one-third of drivers surveyed admitted to texting while driving. Another three-quarters of the drivers said they’ve seen others text and drive.
  • The National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) recently found that at any given time during the daytime, about 660,000 drivers are manipulating electronic devices such as cell phones while driving.
  • Pew research found that approximately 53% of all adult cellphone owners have either seen or been a person walking while distracted by a cellphone, which contributes to auto-pedestrian accidents.
  • Smartphone ownership is currently at over 80% of all drivers in the U.S., and that percentage is growing. Adults age 40 and older is the group with the greatest increase in smartphone ownership.

Learn more about distracted driving in Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

3 Texas Teens Die in a Crash Attributed to Cell Phone and GPS Use

April 8th, 2016
English: The bridge crossing into Corpus Christi.

English: The bridge crossing into Corpus Christi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month two sisters along with two of their friends got in a deadly collision in Corpus Christi, Texas. They were on their way home to Bellaire after a Spring Break trip to South Padre Island when the fatal crash occurred. The three girls who died in the wreck were Jade Robinson, age 17; Brianna Robinson, age 19; and Brittanie Johnson, age 18. Shelby Coleman, a high school senior, was critically injured and was admitted to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Corpus Christi. According to an officer with the Texas Highway Patrol Division, Coleman was driving and was distracted from the task as she looked her GPS on her cell phone. She allegedly drifted into the center median and lost control after overcorrecting her vehicle. The car then spun across the highway and into oncoming traffic. The vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler truck.

Any type of cell phone or GPS use while driving a vehicle is a form of distracted driving. In 2014, distracted drivers were involved in 3,179 traffic fatalities in the U.S. Another 431,000 people were injured in automobile collisions involving a distracted driver. The following are distracted driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Among drivers between 15 through 19 years old involved in deadly collisions in 2014, 10% of them were reported as being distracted when the collisions occurred. Drivers in this age range have the greatest proportion of distracted driving incidents.
  • About 27% of distracted drivers and 38% of the distracted drivers who were using cell phones at the time of fatal collisions were drivers in their 20s.

Learn more about distracted driving in this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor

Three Children Die after a Crash at a Dallas, Texas, Intersection

March 31st, 2016
English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas

English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tragedy occurred at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 28, 2016, at a Dallas, Texas, intersection. A female driver with four passengers ages 13 and under proceeded onto Singleton Boulevard from a side street, and a man traveling westbound on Singleton slammed broadside into their car. Three of the children were quickly transported to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, and all three of them died a short time later. A 13-year-old child was also taken to a nearby hospital, condition unknown. Both of the drivers were injured but not with life-threatening injuries. According to investigators, excessive speed was a likely factor in causing the fatal collision.

Speeding is considered reckless driving behavior. A person who drives a car or truck with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of property or people is driving recklessly, according to the Texas Transportation Code. Speed is frequently a factor in serious automobile crashes. The following are some recent findings:

  • Speeding is in the top three leading contributing factors in traffic collisions. Distracted driving is the number one cause followed by impaired driving. Speeding is third.
  • In 33 percent of all fatal collisions, speeding is a factor.
  • Male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 are involved in 39 percent of all fatal crashes, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • Drivers speed for a variety of reasons, including:
    • Inattentive driving
    • They’re in a hurry
    • They don’t think they are driving dangerously when speeding
    • They don’t think they’ll get caught
    • They think they are above the law
  • Speeding is associated with other risky behaviors, including driving while under the influence of alcohol and failing to wear a seatbelt.

–Guest Contributor

Two Die in an 18-Wheeler Red-Light-Running Accident in Northwest Houston, Texas

March 25th, 2016
A close up view of a traffic light illuminatin...

A close up view of a traffic light illuminating red for stop using light-emitting diodes (LED) in North Carolina, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month on the Beltway 8 feeder road at Antoine Drive in Houston, Texas, the driver of an 18-wheeler allegedly ran a red light and crashed into a sedan. The truck driver was thrown from the cab of the truck and crushed by the crate he had been transporting. There was a family of three in the sedan that was struck. Ashley Roberson McGaha, age 29, was killed; she died at the scene of the accident. The driver, her husband, was seriously injured and was expected to recover. Their 5-month-old in the back seat had been properly belted in and was not badly hurt.

Running a red light is extremely dangerous and frequently results in injuries and fatalities. The issue is serious enough that initiatives often focus on alerting the public to the dangers of the illegal activity. March happens to be Red-Light Running Awareness Month in Arizona; the state has the fourth-highest number of red-light-running-related fatalities. Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance, formed in 1999 by people affected by red light running tragedies, is believed to be the only grassroots organization of its kind in the United States. The goal is to spread the message about the hazards and consequences of running red lights until the dangerous activity is significantly reduced across the country.

Running red lights is a preventable danger, and Red Means Stop is trying to get the word out. The organization offers several programs for educating young people and also offers a Teen Driver Training Scholarship each year, valued at approximately $1,500.

–Guest Contributor

A Wrong-Way Crash in Kyle, TX, Leaves 4 Dead, Including a Toddler – Part 5

March 18th, 2016
Northbound at Interstate Highway 10 on the wes...

Northbound at Interstate Highway 10 on the west side of Houston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning, February 19, 2016, a fatal car crash occurred on Interstate Highway 35 in Kyle, Texas. Three vehicles were involved in the wrong-way crash. In one vehicle that carried six people, four have died, including a toddler. One other person in another vehicle was also critically injured and may not survive, according to Kyle police.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made the following findings as a result of in-depth investigations of a number of wrong-way collisions, including the Dallas, Texas, crash previously mentioned. The following are some of the findings linked to wrong-way driving crashes:

  • Wrong-way accidents caused by alcohol-impaired drivers can be reduced by installing alcohol ignition interlocks in the vehicles of all offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI).
  • Work is being done by the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program to solve both practical and technical challenges in order to establish widespread implementation of a viable alcohol detection system in U.S. vehicles.
  • Older motorists are statistically over-represented in wrong-way collisions. For that reason, solutions are needed to reduce the involvement of older drivers in these types of collisions.
  • The available data regarding wrong-way collisions are not adequate to determine the extent of drug involvement.
  • Traffic control devices need to be designed that will make exit ramps easily distinguishable as compared with entrance ramps. This can be achieved to some degree by addressing roadway lighting, roadway marking, and signage.

See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this five-part series.

–Guest Contributor

A Wrong-Way Crash in Kyle, TX, Leaves 4 Dead, Including a Toddler – Part 4

March 11th, 2016
English: Sign for I-678 south on the exit ramp...

English: Sign for I-678 south on the exit ramp from I-278 east. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning, February 19, 2016, a fatal car crash occurred on Interstate Highway 35 in Kyle, Texas. Three vehicles were involved in the wrong-way crash. In one vehicle that carried six people, four have died, including a toddler. One other person in another vehicle was also critically injured and may not survive, according to Kyle police.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made the following findings as a result of in-depth investigations of a number of wrong-way collisions, including the Dallas, Texas, crash previously mentioned. The following are some of the findings linked to wrong-way driving crashes:

  • Wrong-way collisions are relatively uncommon; but they tend to be more serious than other types of crashes, and they often result in fatalities. In recent years, there has been an average of 300 deaths resulting from wrong-way driving in the U.S.
  • Wrong-way crashes tend to happen in the lane closest to the median.
  • Wrong-way collisions occur most often during the weekends at night.
  • The cause of more than 60% of wrong-way driving crashes is driving while impaired by alcohol.
  • State sign inventory results showed that that controlled-access highway exit ramp signs are not sized and placed in compliance with federal regulations in all locations.
  • Traffic control devices should be designed that will make exit ramps clearly distinguishable from entrance ramps.
  • Certain interchange designs have often proven to successfully reduce the likelihood of wrong-way incursions.

See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this ongoing series. In the next segment, learn more findings linked to the effort to prevent future incidents of wrong-way driving.

–Guest Contributor

A Wrong-Way Crash in Kyle, TX, Leaves 4 Dead, Including a Toddler – Part 2

March 4th, 2016
English: A traffic collision in Boston

English: A traffic collision in Boston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning, February 19, 2016, a fatal car crash occurred on Interstate Highway 35 in Kyle, Texas. Three vehicles were involved in the wrong-way crash. In one vehicle that carried six people, four have died, including a toddler. One other person in another vehicle was also critically injured and may not survive, according to Kyle police.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) provides the following information about the driver allegedly responsible for the afore-mentioned wrong-way crash that occurred in the southbound lanes of US Highway 75 in Dallas, Texas. The driver of the Lincoln:

  • Did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash.
  • Was first issued a driver’s license in June of 1999.
  • Was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in 2004 and again in 2008.
  • Refused to provide a breath test, when he was arrested in 2008 for DWI.
  • Was found guilty of the offense of DWI in July of 2011, and he was placed on probation.
  • Was involved in the Dallas wrong-way crash one month after the adjudication.
  • Allegedly had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.21 as well as morphine in his system, according to toxicology testing after the collision.
  • Was arrested and charged with felony intoxication and assault by a motor vehicle.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this ongoing series. In the next segment, learn what the study revealed about the investigation, in trying to prevent future incidents of wrong-way driving. Learn details about the roadway that existed at the time of the crash, which were studied to determine whether actions could be taken to prevent future wrong-way crashes on that highway.

–Guest Contributor

A Wrong-Way Crash in Kyle, TX, Leaves 4 Dead, Including a Toddler – Part 2

March 1st, 2016
1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC

1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday morning, February 19, 2016, a fatal car crash occurred on Interstate Highway 35 in Kyle, Texas. Three vehicles were involved in the wrong-way crash. In one vehicle that carried six people, four have died, including a toddler. One other person in another vehicle was also critically injured and may not survive, according to Kyle police.

Part of the aforementioned study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) analyzed a wrong-way crash that occurred in the southbound lanes of US Highway 75 in Dallas, Texas. The 31-year-old male driver of a Lincoln Mark VIII coupe was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes at about 2 a.m. on a summer day in August. Witnesses said the Lincoln was traveling at a rate of approximately 80 miles per hour, and only the parking lights were illuminated, in spite of the darkness. The Lincoln’s left front struck the left front of a southbound 2006 Honda Civic driven by a 21-year-old female. Witnesses estimated that the Honda was traveling at about 60 mph. In the impact, the heavier, faster Lincoln reversed the Honda’s direction. The Honda came to a rest facing east after rotating counterclockwise about 90 degrees. The Lincoln came to a rest facing northwest on the median shoulder after rotating counterclockwise about 30 degrees. The drivers both survived the wrong-way collision, but both suffered serious injuries.

See Part 1 and this ongoing series. In the next segment, learn what the study revealed about the investigation, in trying to prevent future incidents of wrong-way driving.

–Guest Contributor