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Harris County Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

You just have a headache, right? It could be more than that

The human brain remains an enigma to many scientists. This remarkable piece of engineering defines the human race and its achievements. As if to balance all of its power, the brain's delicate structure makes it vulnerable to injury. Car accidents, falls or blows to the head with an object could damage your brain and cause you a variety of medical problems that could last for months or the rest of your life.

The dangers of using social media while driving

If you find yourself texting on your cellphone as you drive along in morning traffic or posting social media updates while navigating the roads throughout the day, you are not alone. At any given moment of the day, 660,000 American drivers are using electronic devices while behind the wheel, according to distraction.gov. Many are checking their social media notifications, posting updates, taking pics and responding to messages. Not only does this distracted driving lead to a significant number of serious car accidents, but it has led to many injuries and deaths as well.

Several stories have hit the media illustrating how dangerous social media applications can be to motorists who refuse to put their cellphones down. One girl posted a Facebook message and took a selfie just moments before she was killed in a catastrophic car accident. Another woman was using Snapchat’s speed filter to show how fast she was going, and inadvertently hit another vehicle while going 107 mph. The occupant of the vehicle she smashed now suffers from permanent brain damage.

Possible case of road rage leaves little girl dead

The aftermath of a car accident can be brutal. There may be extensive property damage, confusion, serious injuries and even death to deal with. When fatal injuries occur, not because of the actual accident, but due to a shooting injury that occurs just moments after the collision takes place, there may be a host of unanswered questions and devastation.

This is what happened in Houston on a fateful day when a mother lost her daughter in a tragic scene. The 8-year-old victim was fatally shot by a woman after the vehicle she was traveling in was hit by another car. The little girl’s mother was traveling toward a green traffic light when it turned to yellow. Unable to stop in time, the side of her car was hit by a speeding vehicle that was traveling in another direction. The impact of the accident was severe; however, the little girl was still sleeping in the backseat of the car when the mother checked on her.

How to share the road safely with large trucks

If you are a Texas motorist, you may be used to navigating alongside tractor trailers on a daily basis. Weighing up to 80,000 pounds, the massive size of these trucks alone is enough to cause catastrophic damage if you should get into an accident. It is crucial that you understand how to share the road safely with these big rigs to avoid becoming injured or killed in a large truck collision.  

While every motor vehicle has a blind spot, or a place where it is difficult to see another vehicle coming up alongside your car, big rigs have giant blind spots. These blind areas are biggest on the right-hand side and behind the truck. If you should a tractor trailer, it is best to pass it quickly on the left-hand side. Keep in mind that if you cannot see the side view mirror of the truck, the trucker is not able to see your car.

Truck driver clearinghouse may save lives

Every year across the United States, people lose their lives in truck accidents. A number of these catastrophic collisions are caused by negligent truck drivers, who may be operating a vehicle while intoxicated, drowsy, reckless or otherwise distracted. These accidents are completely preventable, and officials at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are thinking of ways in which the industry can reduce the number of negligent truck drivers on the road, and subsequently reduce the number of lives that are lost each year in large truck accidents.

Currently, the trucking industry does not have a centralized database where employers are able to check on drivers’ records or past employment history. This national database would allow trucking companies to check the driving records, drug testing records and employment history of truck drivers before they choose to hire them. Every year, trucking companies would be required to enter any information into the database involving the drivers’ drug and alcohol test results, refusal to take a drug test, any citations received, as well as any other violations. Rather than accidently employing a truck driver that has previous driving violations or alcohol problems while driving, trucking companies can avoid putting these truckers behind the wheel.

Car accidents can cause catastrohpic injuries

There is no question that the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be devastating. Whether people are involved in a fender bender or a catastrophic collision, there may be serious injuries involved that could affect people for years to come. In some cases, car accidents can cause life-long injuries that may make it impossible for people to return to work, function at home or enjoy engaging in hobbies. At The Martin Law Firm, our legal team understands how troubling these injuries can be and how the physical and emotional trauma stemming from an accident can have a long-term effect on peoples’ lives in Houston and across the country.

Traumatic brain damage is one of the most common injuries obtained in a car accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of brain injuries and the second leading cause of brain injury related deaths in the country. The impact of a collision can cause people to smack their heads against the seat, window or steering wheel and damage the soft brain tissue within the skull cavity.

Can nighttime vision increase risk of an accident?

Many Texas motorists are forced to drive home from work or run errands once the sun has set. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the risk of being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident increases at night. This is due in part to the reduced amount of natural light available to drivers, as well as the blinding glare that headlights can cause when they shine in motorists’ eyes. These factors combined with motorists’ personal vision problems can lead to a very devastating situation.

According to the National Safety Council, at least 90 percent of a driver’s ability to react to other motorists on the road depends on his or her vision. Not only does the reduction of light lowers the ability to focus on objects while people are driving, but it also leads to decreased depth perception and peripheral vision. For example, people may have trouble perceiving the speed and distance of an oncoming vehicle, and may inadvertently pull out or turn in front of them.

Beware of the danger at crossroads!

Anyone who drives through Texas on a regular basis understands the meaning of busy roads and heavy traffic. There are many dangers out there for even the most cautious motorists. A particular risk involves any and all intersections as these crossroads are often scenes of serious motor vehicle collisions. There can be quite a lot going on at an average intersection, including cars stopping at red lights or stop signs, pedestrians navigating crosswalks, and perhaps even bicyclists, tractor-trailers or other travelers converging, adding to the challenge of safe driving.

Distraction II: Voice-activated technology

A study originally conducted to measure whether hands-free cellphones cause a significant amount of cognitive distraction to drivers revealed some interesting findings. Not only did they find that hands-free cellphones were just slightly less distracting than talking on hand-held devices, but the results showed that using voice-activated technology while driving was the most distracting of all.

Voice-activated technology was designed to reduce the need for drivers to take their hands and eyes off of the road when using cellular devices. Instead, drivers are able to compose emails, dial phone numbers, write texts and perform a number of other tasks simply by talking to the device. The study showed that while this technology does reduce manual and visual distractions, it presents high levels of cognitive distraction. That is where people cannot focus on driving because they are actively engaged in a conversation. The National Safety Council reported that the human brain cannot engage in two complex activities at the same time without the brain switching focus from one task to the other.

Should the legal limit be lowered to 0.05 percent?

People who choose to get behind the wheel after drinking put your life, as well as the lives of other motorists on the road in direct danger. Anyone who has a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher runs the risk of being charged and convicted of drunk driving. Many people question, however, if the legal limit should be lowered, as people show symptoms of intoxication with BAC levels as low as 0.02 percent.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, people who have a blood alcohol level of 0.02 percent may experience loss of judgement and have trouble performing two tasks at the same time. Even the slightest distraction may mean trouble for people who are driving at this intoxication level. Once the BAC level reaches 0.05 percent, which is still under the legal limit, people may display exaggerated behaviors, have reduced coordination and have difficulty steering. Drivers at this BAC level may be slow to respond to emergency driving hazards, such as objects in the road, pedestrians, traffic signals and other drivers’ erratic behavior.

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