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Houston Personal Injury Law Blog

Distracted driving continues to claim lives

Despite efforts to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving and to crack down on this sort of behavior, this bad habit continues to cause tragic deaths on the highways in an around Houston. In an analysis of 2017 statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that over 3,100 people died in car accidents in which at least one driver was distracted. On a related point, the NHTSA also estimated that 9% of all fatal accidents in 2017 were due to some sort of distracted driving. In raw numbers, this translated to 2,935 separate deadly crashes which involved at least one distracted driver.

Interestingly, of those 2,935 crashes, only 401 of them, or about 15%, involved a motorist texting and driving or otherwise using a phone while behind the wheel. What this means is that, despite the focus on modern technology's role in the distracted driving epidemic, most fatal accidents involving a distracted driver had nothing to do with cell phone use.

Key facts about your auto insurance

Maintaining auto coverage is essential and required. Certain auto insurance providers may make it seem as if they serve their policyholders, but as a business, they are there to serve and protect their interests first.

Therefore, it is up to the insurance holder to look out for his or her best interest, too, especially regarding an auto accident claim. To accomplish this, there are a few key things to know.

Woman dies in Houston-area accident

A young Houston woman, who was only 21-years-old, died after a major accident at a local intersection. According to reports, law enforcement officials put responsibility for the collision on a 29-year-old man. The man was also injured in the accident and had to be taken to a nearby hospital. However, police and prosecutors announced that they have filed criminal charges against the man, including charges of vehicular manslaughter.

Typically, prosecutors file charges of this nature when there is reason to believe that the person charged caused a car crash through some plainly irresponsible behavior, as opposed to simply a mistake or a momentary lapse in good judgment.

Number of fatal wrecks involving teens down, but still too high

For 2019, the week of October 20 through October 26 was National Teen Driver Safety Week. The week was a good opportunity for parents in the Houston area to remind their teenagers of safe driving habits. Of course, parents also need to set a good example by driving safely themselves at all times, but particularly when their teens are in the vehicle with them.

In 2017, over 2,000 people died in crashes involving a teenage driver. An additional 300,000 people suffered injuries that were significant enough to be reported. Other statistics suggested that these numbers may be higher. For instance, the NHSTA reported 3,255 teenage drivers being involved in fatal accidents in 2017. Granted, these numbers are better than they have been, but teenage drivers are still responsible for more than their fair share of automobile accidents.

Burn injuries after car wrecks carry an enormous cost

Especially at high speeds, but in any car accident, there is always a chance that one or more vehicles involved will catch fire.

After all, motor vehicles have fuel, oil and other potentially flammable fluids stored in them because those fluids are necessary for the vehicle to run. Likewise, electric cars carry a risk of catching fire after a car accident.

Different driver distractions can lead to crashes

There are a lot of habits that Texas drivers could probably recognize are not safe practices when behind the wheel. Although not drunk or drugged driving, these so-called driver fails, that is, failures in good judgment, are all potentially dangerous. In many cases, they lead to serious or even fatal car accidents.

Interestingly, according to a survey of drivers, the most common bad habit to which drivers admit is eating while driving. Around two out of three drivers admit to taking a bite or a sip of coffee or pop, while also trying to operate their vehicle. While motorists in the Houston area might not think of this as a form of distracted driving, that describes this behavior.

Understanding the risks of approaching a car accident

Car accidents occur every day on Houston-area roadways. Unfortunately, the area around a crash scene may be dangerous for approaching motorists. In fact, recently, a motorcyclist died after hitting the back of a tow truck that had responded to an automobile crash in northeast Houston. 

As a motorist, you may come across a car accident at any time. Still, you do not have to be in the initial collision to be in danger. Here are some reasons accident scenes put oncoming motorists at increased risk for a collision: 

Drunk driving deaths down in Texas, but not by much

The good news is that the rate of drunk driving deaths have declined slightly, by a hair over 2 percent, over the last 15 or so years. In 2000, almost 1,500 people died in drunk driving accidents on the roads of this state. In 2017, the number had dropped to 1,468.

The bad news is that, even though Texas is not the most populated state in the country, it had the most deaths related to drunk driving in the country both in 2000 and in 2017. By contrast, California recorded only 1,120 deaths due to drunk driving in 2017.

Many Texans may wink at the speed limit

As is the case with other traffic laws, there is a good reason why our state has speed limits. Basically, traveling at a lower speed both reduces the likelihood of a car accident happening in the first place and reduces the severity of those crashes that will inevitably occur.

In fact, more than one study has touted that lower speed limits go long way in saving lives and preventing severe injuries, particularly in major urban areas like Houston. However, a recent survey suggests that many, if not most, motorists just do not fully appreciate the importance of traveling the speed limit.

Houston-area bicyclist dies after being hit by pickup

A bicyclist died at the scene of an accident on a city street on the west side of Houston recently. The driver of a pickup truck struck and killed the bicyclist. Both were traveling in the same direction on the road at the time of the accident, which happened in the pre-dawn hours.

Police who were investigating this tragic bicycle accident indicated that the driver of the pickup did not see the bicyclist. The officer did say that the area was not particularly well-lit but also said that they police noted that the bicyclist did have a flashing light affixed to his bike.

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