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Harris County Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

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.

Wet roads and speed led to fatal tractor trailer crash

Due to their massive weight, length and height, tractor trailers can pose a threat to other vehicles on the road. If involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, large trucks can create catastrophic damage, serious injuries and even death to the people who are involved. Collisions are even more likely to occur when large truck operators are distracted, drowsy, speeding or driving recklessly in inclement weather conditions.

Speed and bad weather conditions were both factors in a tragic truck accident that led to the death of a 43-year-old woman. Her 16-year-old son, who was passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident, received severe injuries.

Increased freight loads may lead to big rig accidents

With a large number of tractor trailers on the road, well-qualified and trained truck drivers are needed to operate these massive vehicles and ensure that they safely deliver their loads throughout the nation. As the amount of freight that needs to be distributed continues to grow, however, an even greater number of truckers are in demand. At The Martin Law Firm, we know that driving alongside big rigs can be dangerous, as large trucks are responsible for a number of motor accident fatalities every year.

According to the American Trucking Associations, the amount of freight tonnage in the U.S. is expected to grow by 23.5 percent from 2013 to 2025. Although this growth often occurs in a gradual manner, it can still put a strain on trucking companies who are seeking qualified truck drivers to keep up with the high demand. Furthermore, truck drivers may feel obligated to spend more hours behind the wheel in order to distribute more freight and make tight deadlines. Not only does this lead to violations with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but it can lead to distracted, drowsy and otherwise negligent truck drivers.

Cognitive distraction: The safety of hands-free cellphones

Although many state laws prohibit drivers from talking or texting on hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel, a number of people continue to engage in this dangerous practice. Cellphone distraction has become hazardous, as drivers compose emails, take selfies, post on social media sites and even FaceTime while navigating the busy roadways.

In one incident, a driver using FaceTime failed to notice stopped traffic ahead and rear-ended a stopped car while traveling at 65 mph in Texas. As a result of the tragic accident, a five-year-old was killed. The mother, father and other sibling riding in the car received injuries. The family’s attorney has filed a lawsuit against Apple for failure to implement a feature on the iPhone 6 Plus that would have potentially prevented the accident from occurring.

Fatigue and driving a big rig do not mix

Like many other Houston drivers, looking out your window or rear view mirror and seeing an 18-wheeler makes you a bit nervous. These mammoth vehicles intimidate many people in small vehicles, and if they knew that the driver failed to get the proper rest before getting behind the wheel, that nervousness would turn to fear. 

Texas drunk driving laws: How do they measure up?

As a Texas motorist, you put your life on the line every day when venturing out on the state’s roadways. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Texas drivers are exposed to more drunk driving fatalities than any other state in the nation. In 2015, approximately 290,000 people were injured and 10,265 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents across the nation. The Texas Department of Transportation reported that in 2015, at least 6,149 people were potentially injured and 960 people were killed in accidents involving drunk drivers. With this high injury and death rate, you may be left wondering what state officials are doing to remedy this serious problem.

Research shows that placing ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of convicted DUI offenders may help to reduce the number of deaths associated with drunk drivers. Currently, Texas only requires repeat DUI offenders to use these life-saving devices. Statistics from states who require all convicted DUI offenders to use ignition interlock devices, such as Kansas, Arizona, Louisiana and West Virginia, show that these machines have the potential to significantly decrease the number of DUI accidents, injuries and deaths. DUI offenders are also less likely to commit another drunk driving offense once the ignition interlock devices are removed from their vehicles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gregory A Martin Receives Premier 100 Designation from National Academy of Jurisprudence

The National Academy of Jurisprudence (NAJ) has recently recognized Gregory A Martin as one of 100 premier trial attorneys in the state of Texas. This is a distinction reserved for attorneys who have established themselves through their professionalism and excellence in service.

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