McAllen, Texas Personal Injury Law Blog

Don't ask "if" there's a drunk driver on the road, ask "where"

Chances are very minimal that you avoid drunk drivers every time you travel Texas roadways. The reality is that you likely encounter them quite often, most times without even realizing they are nearby. Considering the fact that the Centers for Disease Control states that someone in the United States dies every 48 minutes because of drunk driving, and also that one-third of all collisions involve intoxicated drivers, it's easy to understand how likely it is that you have crossed paths with drunk drivers more than once.

The best you can do to lower your risk for injury is to avoid drunk drivers whenever possible. There are several ways to at least increase your chances of doing so. However, even if you place every idea into action, it still may not be enough to avoid injury, because drunk driving accidents often occur suddenly and unexpectedly.

The nature of soft tissue injuries

Soft tissues are those non-bony parts of the body like the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Drivers in Texas should know that injuries to the soft tissues are common in car collisions, as the impact and sudden braking will jolt the body back and forth to the point of straining, spraining, and tearing. These injuries usually give rise to symptoms like aches and pain, inflammation, and bleeding. Others may experience a loss of function in their limbs.

Unfortunately, soft tissue injuries cannot be detected by X-ray and are hard to diagnose. Symptoms can appear hours after a collision or days after it, which may confuse victims into thinking that the symptoms are unconnected to the crash. Delaying medical treatment for soft tissue damage can become a serious obstacle to proper healing.

2 Texans seriously injured by falling rebar

According to a spokesperson for the San Antonio Police Department, two workers were seriously injured and two others received minor injuries in a construction site accident. The victims were working at a Texas Department of Transportation site on Feb. 2 near the intersection of Loop 410 with U.S. 90.

Law enforcement officers report that some workers were trying to secure 1,000 pounds of rebar in the air to form a support structure for a new access road. As they were tying the rebar together, one of the beams gave way, sending the beams falling and crushing two workers.

U.S. road safety, and what role state governors play

Governors in Texas and around the country have a key role to play in the upgrading of road safety guidelines. Traffic fatalities increased in 39 states in 2016, with a total of 37,461 people dying on America's roads that year. The trend shows no sign of changing, showing that current guidelines are not on a par with those of other developed nations.

Governors have a policy development tool that they can refer to, though, thanks to the National Governors Association. The NGA published a "road map" that all state governors can use regardless of the specific needs they face. It has a wide application while offering concrete recommendations and strategies at the same time.

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.

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