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Harris County Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

Elderly motorists pose a risk to Texas drivers

When people think about potential hazards that affect drivers on the road, elderly drivers in Texas may not be the first issue that comes to mind. However, as the generation of baby boomers ages, the dangers of elderly driving becomes a serious problem that may need to be given further attention. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that 33 states in the nation have specific legislation focused on elderly drivers. Older drivers in Texas can renew their driver’s licenses every six years until they reach the age of 85-years-old. At that time they must renew every two years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several factors that may affect drivers as they age. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  •          Decreased ability to remember certain rules of the road or how to perform certain tasks.
  •          Slowed responses to hazards, such as bad weather conditions, objects in the road, pedestrians or other drivers’ behavior.
  •          Loss of motor control.

How can ignition interlock devices reduce DUI fatalities?

Many people in Texas and across the country lose their lives in devastating car accidents involving drunk drivers. In 2014, 9,067 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents and 1,323 of those preventable deaths occurred in Texas. As a way to minimize the number of intoxicated drivers on the road, many states have implemented legislation requiring all convicted DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles for a certain period of time.

Mobile breath test devices are designed to inhibit drunk people from driving by rendering their vehicle useless if they have a blood alcohol content level measuring over a preset limit. Although MADD officials have reported that IIDs reduce the rate of repeat drunk drivers by 67 percent, Texas has yet to enact laws mandating their use for all convicted DUI offenders. Research shows that even after DUI offenders have removed the IID from their vehicle, they are 39 percent less likely to drink and drive than they would have been had they simply had their driver’s license suspended.

Three fatally injured in a commercial truck accident

The massive size and weight of commercial trucks alone makes them more difficult for drivers to operate and share the road with other motorists. Large truck drivers must be properly trained and qualified to maneuver these giant vehicles through Texas traffic. Unfortunately, not all truckers adhere to state and federal regulations. When large truck operators are intoxicated, drowsy, distracted or driving in an otherwise reckless manner, they risk the lives of everyone on the road.

Sadly, a 26-year-old mother, 5-year-old girl and now 6-year-old boy all lost their lives in an accident caused by a truck driver, who was alleged intoxicated at the time of the collision. Even though all three passengers of the SUV were wearing seat belts, they were fatally injured when a commercial delivery truck struck the vehicle, head-on. The mother and daughter were killed on the scene. However, the young boy was airlifted to a hospital where he later lost his life.

The basics of comparative negligence in Texas

If you suffered an injury or loss in an automobile accident in Texas that was not your fault, you are likely wondering how you can receive compensation for the damages you incurred. While you have to prove the other driver was negligent in order to secure compensation, you also need to be aware of another aspect that could affect the amount of compensation you receive. When calculating the amount of damages to be awarded, Texas uses a concept known as modified comparative negligence to determine the percentage each party will have to pay.

Truck malfunctions could lead to serious accidents

Motorists share the road with large trucks on a daily basis. Most drivers believe that the tractor trailer driving next to them is well-maintained and consider it safe to be out on the road. Surprisingly, there are a number of large trucks that are not properly maintained. At The Martin Law Firm, we know that issues with equipment failure on big rigs can cause catastrophic truck accidents involving serious injuries and even death in some cases.

When truck drivers are traveling at high speeds on the freeway, the brakes and safety devices on their vehicles must be in perfect working condition. A simple equipment error or malfunction could cause the brakes to go out. If the safety equipment fails to work, the driver may not be alerted to stopped traffic up ahead or icy roads. All of these parts are critical in the safe operation of a massive tractor trailer.

What you should know about driving at night

If you don’t like to drive after the sun goes down, there may be good reason. For motorists in Houston and across the state, driving at night is completely different than driving in full sunlight. In fact, many people avoid navigating the roadways in the dark. According to the National Safety Council, you are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly car accident at night than you are driving during the daytime. This increased risk can be caused by several different factors.

People experience decreased vision when driving at night, as there is no natural light present. The glare from oncoming headlights can also cause temporary blindness to people who are traveling at night. While you may try to avoid the glare, bright lights flashed into your eyes can affect your ability to see traffic and objects in the road.

Are hands-free cellphones safe to use while driving?

If you have talked on a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel, you are definitely not alone. Countless motorists in Texas and across the country talk and text while driving on a regular basis leading to thousands of serious injuries and deaths. In fact, many states have enacted legislation making it illegal to use your hand-held cellphone while driving in an attempt to save lives. As a result, some drivers have started using hands-free devices as a way to minimize distracted driving. Yet, studies show that even hands-free cellphones can be a significant cause of mental distraction on the road.

A study published by AAA looked at just how distracting hands-free cellphones are to drivers by asking participants to engage in several activities while operating a vehicle equipped with monitoring devices, as well as a simulator. The monitors measured the participants’ reaction time, brain activity and mental workload as they engaged in certain tasks, which include the following:

  •          Listening to an audio book or the radio
  •          Talking with a passenger
  •          Maintaining a conversation using a hands-free cellphone
  •          Speaking with someone using a hand-held device
  •          Composing an email using voice-activated technology

5 Steps for dealing with a hit-and-run accident

A car crash of any kind can be difficult enough to deal with when all parties involved remain on the scene, and many individuals consider being involved in a hit-and-run accident a nightmare. If you were ever harmed in an accident where the at-fault driver fled the scene, you probably know just how overwhelming and frightening an experience like this can be. Considering the following steps for dealing with a hit-and-run car accident may help you better understand how to handle such an unfortunate turn of events.

Little-boy hero saves brother from fiery big rig crash on I-45

The story has spread from Houston across the nation. It is heartwarming in one sense and tragic in many others. You might have read about the 5-year-old old boy who pulled his young brother from a fiery tractor-trailer wreck on Interstate 45 last week.

The North Freeway crash took place as the big rig the boys were riding in with their father followed a vehicle driven by their mom, TV stations and newspapers have reported.

Why did Houston driver not slow for a disabled vehicle?

Interstate 45 is a heavily traveled highway connecting Houston to Dallas. It was recently the site of a motor vehicle accident in which three children were injured and hospitalized.

The Houston Police Department said that a Toyota Corolla was pulled over in the Gulf Freeway's emergency lane when a Nissan Altima slammed into it from behind. The three children who were inside the disabled vehicle were injured. 

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