McAllen, Texas Personal Injury Law Blog

Brake failure the reason for Harley recall

Harley-Davidson has announced a voluntary recall of over 250,000 motorcycles, out of which approximately 175,000 were sold in the U.S. If bikers in Texas realize that their motorcycle is among those recalled, they can take it to the dealers, which started providing the necessary repairs on Feb. 12.

The recall covers 2008 to 2011 model CVO Touring and VSRC bikes with anti-lock brakes. A module in the anti-lock brake system has been found to corrode the valve actuators, or the devices that open and close the valves. This can cause the front or rear brakes, or both, to suddenly fail. This corrosion, in turn, may be the result of old brake fluid absorbing too much moisture.

AAA study concludes nearly 10% of wrecks involve drowsy drivers

Sleepiness makes drivers in Texas nearly as dangerous as drunk drivers. Attributing crashes to tired drivers has been difficult, but the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety used a unique approach to gather data. Over 3,500 people participated in the study, which required the installation of cameras and other equipment in their vehicles. Researchers monitored data from each subject for several months, and when crashes occurred, they looked at the surveillance footage to see what the drivers had been doing.

After reviewing data from 701 recorded car accidents, they concluded that drowsiness played a role in 8.8 percent to 9.5 percent of the crashes. This far outstripped the modest estimates from federal agencies that have linked drowsiness to only 1 percent to 2 percent of all accidents.

Texas train travelers may be leery following major Amtrak crash

You may be one of many Texas residents who have been closely following news updates regarding a recent Amtrak tragedy that occurred in another state. Whether you work on one of the nation's railway systems or simply enjoy traveling by train, the recent collision has likely upped your concerns regarding railroad safety. Sadly, two workers' lives were lost in the early February crash and at least 100 passengers had to go to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries.

Traveling by train can be less expensive, albeit somewhat slower, than air travel. If you are the type of person who enjoys pastoral views and scenic country sides, you may be more likely to purchase train tickets than plane tickets. However, it appears rail systems like Amtrak have been having a lot of problems lately, several of which have led to collisions that resulted in deaths or serious injuries. If you are a paying passenger on a train that wrecks, you have a right to seek recovery for your losses.

Suggestions to help cut down on distracted driving

People in Texas getting behind the wheel may be highly concerned about the dangers posed by distracted drivers who are engaged in texting while driving or other app usage. This kind of distracted driving is known as a major threat to roadway safety and a contributor to many serious car accidents. Many researchers attribute an ongoing upswing in the number of fatal collisions to the widespread popularity of smartphone usage.

Phones aren't the only cause of distraction behind the wheel; even built-in systems like navigation and entertainment modules can take a driver's attention away from the road. While drivers recognize the danger posed by texting and driving, many people still do it. A survey conducted by Consumer Reports showed that more than half of all licensed U.S. drivers who have smartphones sometimes text, email, manage music playing or browse the web while driving or operating a vehicle.

Drivers who use their phones may pay more for insurance

Texas residents and others who choose to text while driving may pay more for car insurance. A company called Arity uses components within the smartphone to tell if it is in a driver's hand or on a flat surface while a car is in motion. It can also tell if smartphone apps are being used. Arity is part of Allstate, and information gathered may be used by the company as a factor in determining a person's car insurance rate.

To some, the fact that a driver may use a smartphone may be more indicative of their risk than credit score data. Information collected by Arity found that those who use smartphones while driving tend to be more dangerous on the road. They also tend to be more expensive for insurance companies. Specifically, distracted drivers cost 160 percent more than those who aren't as distracted as distracted drivers are more likely to get into accidents.

Reducing speeding deaths, according to the NTSB

Drivers in Texas are probably aware that speed kills. However, they may not know that speeding, rather than drunk or distracted driving, has led to the nationwide increase in traffic deaths, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board. It states that speeding accounted for 31 percent of traffic fatalities between 2005 and 2014.

To reduce the number of fatalities, the NTSB recommends creating national campaigns that emphasize the social consequences of speeding, making punishments for speeding as severe as those for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and using enforcement tools like speeding cameras. It also suggests that speed limits should be changed to equate the speed with the lowest crash involvement rate.

Are you ready for autonomous cars to hit the roads?

There is much commotion about the advent of driverless cars. Some researchers anticipate that these cars will reduce the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents by 90 percent. Others predict that accidents caused by distracted drivers will become a thing of the past.

If you or a loved one has ever been in a car accident with a distracted driver, you may welcome this miraculous possibility. However, skeptics and pragmatists caution people to look closer at the computer programming behind the seeming genius of the autonomous car. What many hail as a solution in theory may open a whole new set of problems in practice.

Time limitations for reporting an accident

Many Texas motorists will experience a car accident at some point during their lives. After making sure that anyone injured in the accident has received medical attention, drivers should exchange information and notify local law enforcement. Drivers should also obtain insurance information from each other and notify their own insurance company as soon as possible.

The time limit for reporting car accidents to insurance companies varies according to the insurance company's procedures. While there may be state laws about immediate reporting an accident to police when the accident involves property damage or injuries, requirements for insurance companies are not as strictly regulated.

It's not always the drunk driver who pays the price

Every choice each Texas resident makes while driving impacts others, not just that driver. The same concept applies to the choice that impaired individuals make when they get behind the wheels of their cars when they shouldn't. In that moment, a drunk driver makes the choice to put the lives of everyone on the road at risk.

When he or she sat down and had that first drink, it set in motion a sequence of events that could end in death and serious injury — not always for the drunk driver. In many cases, innocent men, women and children pay the price for that driver's selfishness. The fact is that drunk driving crashes are entirely preventable by simply not driving after drinking.

The DOT reminds drivers that deer can't read road signs

All drivers should recognize the familiar yellow signs with an image of a leaping deer. The deer crossing signs are meant to alert drivers to the possibility of deer on the road and to be extra cautious in areas where deer may be crossing.

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