McAllen, Texas Personal Injury Law Blog

Law enforcement getting ready to monitor unsafe drivers

Operation Safe Driver Week will be held from July 15 to 21. It is run by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance with law enforcement officials in Texas and throughout the nation looking for unsafe drivers. Authorities are looking for unsafe behaviors from both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers in an effort to cut down on the number of accidents on the road. According to a study from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the vast majority of accidents happen because of driver error.

Specifically, 88 percent of commercial crashes and 93 percent of passenger vehicle accidents are caused by a driver's actions. During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement officers will be targeting those who follow too closely, drive too fast or make improper lane changes. They will also be watching for those who don't wear a seat belt or who are using a phone while operating a car or truck.

Seat belts reduce the severity of car crash liver injuries

All passenger vehicle occupants in Texas are required to fasten their seat belts, and road safety advocacy groups have long campaigned for similar laws to be adopted across the country. It is well documented that seat belts can save lives, and a study reveals that they can also reduce the chances of suffering a severe liver injury. The research team's findings were published online on March 29 by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The road safety study was based on car accident statistics collected between 2010 and 2015 by the National Trauma Data Bank. In addition to discovering that seat belt use significantly reduced the severity of liver injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents, the researchers found that crash victims who suffered serious liver damage succumbed to their injuries almost twice as often as those who suffered moderate or minor liver damage.

NHTSA says pickups with dangerous air bags should be parked

Some Texas drivers may have heard about faulty Takata airbag inflators installed in a variety of different vehicles that have killed more than 12 people and injured hundreds. In January, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration first issued a warning about 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series pickups. On May 7, the NHTSA reinforced its warning.

The danger is that in an accident, the air bags explode, so vehicle occupants may be injured or killed by metal shards. The NHTSA issued its warning again because the process of replacing the air bags was moving slowly. According to the agency, the defective product creates an immediate danger, and vehicles that have the air bags should not be driven until they are replaced.

Underride truck accidents may be preventable

You may think that staying far behind tractor-trailers is the safest way to share the Texas highway with them. You allow them to pass rather than traveling with one looming in your rear-view mirror. This is one example of the anxiety trucks create in many drivers of smaller vehicles. Such drivers understand that an accident can occur in the blink of an eye, and the results are often catastrophic.

Unfortunately, keeping your distance is not always a foolproof way to avoid an accident with a big rig. In fact, the deadliest type of encounter with a tractor trailer may seem to come out of nowhere when you have no time to prepare and no options for avoiding a collision.

Refinery fires raise concerns about hydrogen fluoride use

Texans who live near refineries might be forced to evacuate when they have fires or explosions if the refineries use hydrogen fluoride. This toxic chemical can cause lung damage and destroy tissue down to the bones of people who are exposed to a gas plume from an explosion or fire.

A recent series of explosions and fires at a refinery in Superior, Wisconsin illustrates the dangers of using hydrogen fluoride in gas refineries. The chemical is used during the alkalinization process in 50 refineries in the U.S. out of 148. The other refineries use sulfuric acid instead because it does not have the potential to be released in a gas cloud during explosions or fires.

The nature of commercial truck accident settlements

Texas victims of commercial truck accidents have two ways they can seek compensation. They can let their personal injury lawsuit go through a trial in civil court, or they can opt for settling out of court. They may find that the trucking company's representatives will prefer the out-of-court settlement.

One advantage is that settlements save time and money for the victims. There are distinctions to keep in mind, though. Settlements can be achieved through various methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, negotiations, and arbitration, and these can result in either binding or non-binding agreements.

Study finds daydreaming a major factor in distracted driving

Drivers in Texas with their heads in the clouds may be more dangerous than if they have cellphones in their hands. Erie Insurance examined five years of data from the nationwide database of deadly motor vehicle accidents called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The database includes the cause of the accident as reported by law enforcement. Around one out of every 10 people of the 172,000 who died in traffic accidents in that time period were in a crash in which distracted driving was a factor.

However, most of the distraction reported was simply people who let their minds wander while behind the wheel with 61 percent of fatalities involving a person who said that was the reason their attention was not on the road. By comparison, cellphone usage was blamed in just 14 percent of distracted driving fatalities.

Eating while driving: it's too dangerous

Many people eat while driving. It's fairly common to pull into a drive-thru, order a meal and then proceed to your destination while eating your burger. Most Texas drivers have probably operated a motor vehicle while eating at the same time, and most people probably assume it is perfectly safe.

In reality, eating while driving is dangerous, and it can have serious repercussions for both the driver and other people on the road. In fact, it is a type of distracted driving. Anything that takes a person's attention away from the task at hand is dangerous, even if it is just eating a sandwich. No matter how hungry a person is, distracted driving is always dangerous and always preventable. 

Ford orders recall of popular SUV and pickup truck models

Some Texas motorists might have heard that Ford Motor Company announced on April 6 that it would be sending recall notices to approximately 300,000 vehicle owners around the country. The car maker says that it is recalling some of its 2018 Expedition SUVs, F-150 pickup trucks and F-650 and F-750 heavy commercial vehicles to fix a transmission issue. The problem has been linked to at least one injury accident. A total of about 350,000 vehicles sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico are being recalled.

The recall has been ordered because a cable locking clip used on certain Ford 6-speed and 10-speed transmissions may have been installed incorrectly and could become worn over time. When this happens, drivers may not be able to tell which gear they are in just by looking at the transmission. This can be especially dangerous when drivers exit their vehicles believing that they have shifted into park. Ford says that the affected vehicles will be inspected by dealers to ensure that the locking clips are properly seated and show no signs of excessive wear.

Professor says autonomous cars should not drive like humans

Texas motorists who have followed the development of autonomous cars may be aware that in Arizona in March, a self-driving Uber car killed a pedestrian. According to a professor at Arizona State University whose research includes examining how computers control systems such as autonomous cars, the safety problem with self-driving vehicles is that they are being to taught to drive like humans. This means they make the same mistakes that a human driver would.

He cites the fatal accident as an example. In that case, the video footage shows that the pedestrian stepped into an area where there was no light and no pedestrian crosswalk. The vehicle was proceeding the same way a vehicle would driven by humans under the assumption that there were no obstacles ahead despite being unable to confirm this visually. According to the professor, the car should proceed at a speed that would allow it to stop the moment something appeared that was outside its visual range. In other words, if it was unable to detect whether or not an obstacle was ahead, it would proceed as though there was.

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