Personal Injury Blog

8 are Killed and 44 Injured in a Bus Crash in Texas

May 20th, 2016
English: Far East Geant Department Store Dazhi...

English: Far East Geant Department Store Dazhi Branch – Neihu Technology Park Friday Lunch Shuttle Bus, operated by Danan Bus Co., Ltd., but this service has been suspended from January 26, 2007. ‪中文(繁體)‬: 大南汽車曾一度在每周五固定營運愛買購物中心大直店的「內湖科學園區午餐巴士」,但此項服務已於2007年1月26日不再提供。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tragedy occurred on Saturday, May 14, 2016, shortly before noon when a charter bus driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed. The rollover crash happened on northbound U.S. Highway 83 near the border to Mexico approximately 46 miles north of Laredo. Eight people were killed and 44 were injured en route to a casino. It was raining at the time of the fatal crash, and the cause of the wreck is still under investigation. The driver is among the survivors. The deceased were all Latino Americans, mostly in their 50s and 60s, and the oldest person who died was 83.

The following is more information:

  • The bus was carrying more than 50 passengers and had been on the road for approximately two hours when the crash occurred.
  • The bus was a 1997 motor coach that had not been required to have an anti-lock brake system, because it was built prior to the 1998 regulation that has required safer braking. Anti-lock brakes help to prevent loss of control because they prevent wheels from locking.
  • Some of the survivors say the bus driver was traveling at too high a rate of speed prior to sliding sideways and rolling over.
  • Some accuse the charter bus company of using a bus known to need maintenance and repair. Some have also alleged that the bus driver did not have proper training.
  • Occupants of the bus were violently tossed around during the rollover crash. There were seatbelts in the driver’s seat and the first row only.

Sources say claims have already been filed in relation to this deadly bus crash.

–Guest Contributor

A 52-year-old Man is Killed in an El Paso, Tx Hotel – Struck by an 18-Wheeler Truck

May 14th, 2016
English: El Paso Skyline from the north.

English: El Paso Skyline from the north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, May 6, in El Paso, Texas, the driver of an 18-wheeler hauling steel railroad tracks lost control of the vehicle. The big rig careened off of an Interstate 10 eastbound lane, through several parking lots, and into a Studio 6 Hotel. A 52-year-old man inside the building was killed in his hotel room. Police are still investigating the cause of the 18-wheeler crash.

Reports on this fatal crash also suggest that the 18-wheeler mowed down trees and damaged a wall that separated a funeral home from the hotel parking lot. To continue with enough velocity to ram into a hotel after having already smashed into a wall provides a good idea of how powerful big rigs are.

The following are some facts about 18-wheelers that all drivers should know, to stay safer on Texas roads:

  • It takes approximately the length of two football fields to stop an 18-wheeler. The smoother the surface, the less resistance, and the longer it takes to stop.
  • If brakes fail, commercial drivers of big rigs have other ways to slow down their trucks. There are numerous gears that they can shift down to. On average, an 18-wheeler has 10 forward drive gears, though sometimes up to 18, and two reverse drive gears. In an 18-gear cab, it’s possible to split between high and low range gears, to help slow the truck down.
  • Making a U-turn requires 55 feet of space, which requires at least a four-lane road with no center divider.

Big rigs create extra danger on our roadways. It’s always a good idea to give large trucks a wide berth.

–Guest Contributor

3 Die in a Montgomery County Crash Involving an 18-Wheeler and Alleged Drunk Driving – Part 2

May 9th, 2016
Veronica538 at work as truckdriver

Veronica538 at work as truckdriver (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.

Since it is extremely dangerous for anyone to drive while intoxicated, the danger is multiplied if the intoxicated person is behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle. In a three-year study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to determine causes of large truck collisions, it is truly frightening to learn what was revealed about 18-wheeler drivers. According to the research:

  • In 55% of the cases, trucks were assigned the critical cause of the crash.
  • Of all truck-related reasons for crashes, 87% of them involved the driver, and most were poor driving decisions or failure to correctly evaluate the situation.
  • The truck, roadway problems, and weather conditions accounted for 13% of the reasons for crashes with large trucks.
  • The most common vehicle factor was brake problems.
  • Prevalent roadway problems were traffic flow interruption and requirements that the driver stop before the collision.

The most common driver factors included:

  • Legal drug use
  • Traveling too fast for existing conditions
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadways
  • Feeling under pressure from motor carriers
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigue

Learn more about 18-wheelers and drunk driving in Part 1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

 

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