Houston Personal Injury Blog

FMCSA administrator addresses truck safety at conference

Regulations that promote safe commercial truck operations concern all motorists in Texas. An administrator from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration addressed multiple safety topics during an appearance at a conference organized by the American Trucking Association. He commented on advanced safety technology, teen truckers and proposed changes to hours-of-service regulations.

The administrator strongly encouraged trucking companies to adopt technology that assists drivers and appears capable of preventing some crashes and fatalities. He provided information about the agency's outreach to small fleet operators and owner-operators meant to help them understand the benefits of driver-assistive technology.

Seven dead after a WWII-era B-17 bomber crash at a Connecticut airport

Husain Law would like to convey its deepest sympathies to the families who lost loved ones in the tragic crash of a B-17 at Bradley International Airport on October 3, 2019. If you would like to learn more or understand your legal rights please contact us (713) 800- 1200 or visit us at hlalawfirm.com

The dangers of road rage

Road rage is a persistent problem in Texas and other states. One study estimated that fatal crashes related to road rage have increased by 500% in the last 10 years. Other reports have found that incidents of drivers showing or firing guns have also increased. Unfortunately, such incidents make the roads more dangerous for all drivers.

A poll from the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that 80% of those questioned felt serious anger at least once while driving during the past year. Among those surveyed, 33% of drivers made rude gestures while on the road, 47% yelled at other drivers, 45% honked their horns and 51% purposefully drove closely behind another vehicle.

Even a minor accident can have severe consequences

Navigating the busy roads in Texas is a challenge for any driver. Even car accidents that seem minor can have severe consequences. You might find yourself without visible broken bones and no open wounds, but with significant mental distress.

The types and severity of car accidents usually depend on various factors. These include the intensity of the collision, where each person sat, whether you wore your seat belt and the location of the impact on your car.

Safety equipment could reduce truck accident fatalities

Trucking accidents can be particularly devastating to other motorists sharing the Texas roads. Because of the size, weight and volume of 18-wheeler trucks, these vehicles are more likely to cause fatalities in accidents. Of the 4,102 people killed in truck crashes in 2017, 82% of the victims were pedestrians, cyclists or occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. Some types of truck collisions are even more likely to be fatal. For example, crashes where people are crushed in the exposed area on the truck's side between the front and rear wheels can be particularly catastrophic.

Between 2005 and 2009, 556 pedestrians and bikers were killed in these types of side-impact truck collisions. The danger of these side crashes has drawn attention and regulatory action internationally. As a result, many countries have required that trucks install side guards if they have a high clearance from the ground. Studies conducted in areas requiring the guards, like the U.K., Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands, have shown that fatalities are less likely when the guards are in place. In the U.K., bicyclist deaths dropped by 61% in side-impact truck collisions after the guards were mandated.

Drunk driving, its consequences, and how to avoid them

Texas drivers are aware that alcohol can impair their hearing, vision, muscle coordination, memory and ability to make sound judgments. This is why alcohol intoxication and driving are such a fatal combination. Even with a BAC of .02, drivers can become drowsy and experience some loss of judgment. Once they reach the point of being legally drunk, which is a BAC of .08, then they can hardly detect traffic signals or dangers on the road.

The consequences of being caught while driving drunk can vary; DUI may be a misdemeanor or felony. Penalties can include the suspension of one's license and jail time, and a driver may wind out paying some $10,000 in fines and legal fees. Some states require that first-time offenders install an ignition interlock device in their cars. This acts as a breath test and prevents drivers from starting their car if they are drunk.

How to avert drowsiness on the road

Drowsy driving is a big problem in Texas, especially in locations where there are no comprehensive public transit systems. Many people fail to sleep the minimum seven hours each night that the CDC recommends while others put themselves and others in danger by taking prescription sleep aids and heading out on the road before sleeping a sufficient time. Still others will sleep seven hours but remain drowsy because of a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the effects of being awake for 24 consecutive hours can be compared to that of having a BAC of .10. Drivers, then, should get adequate sleep, have themselves checked for sleep disorders and ask their doctor to change the dosage timing for any sleep aids or other drowsiness-inducing drugs, such as antidepressants, antihistamines and anxiety drugs, so that these do not conflict with driving.

Distracted driving and how to avoid it

With the advent of smartphones and in-vehicle technology, few people need to be told that distracted driving is a rising trend, but what's important to remember is how widespread it is. Drivers in Texas, as anywhere else, are expected to maintain control of their vehicles at all times, and anything that keeps them from doing this, from phone use to eating and drinking, can be considered a distraction.

There were 3,166 fatalities arising from distracted driving crashes in 2017 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To protect themselves and others on the road, drivers will want to eliminate as many distractions as possible. It all starts with the phone; even hands-free devices can be distracting.

Beware: sharing the road with big rigs is risky

Whenever you share the Texas highways with big rigs, you and your passengers are at risk. Eighteen-wheelers and semi-trucks typically weigh more than 10,000 pounds. When fully loaded, they could weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, or even more. Passenger vehicles weigh significantly less, and when these two collide, occupants of passenger vehicles are typically worse off.

If you are a victim of a car vs. 18-wheeler accident, you can suffer fractured bones, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries. You will probably lose workdays, which will cause income losses. Along with steep medical costs, devastating financial consequences can follow.

Women more likely to incur serious injuries in car crashes

According to a new study, women are 73% more likely than men to suffer a serious injury or death in an auto accident. Texas drivers should know that part of the reason for this trend is the lack of accurate crash safety data. With this comes the lack of safety measures and devices designed with women in mind.

For example, the majority of crash dummies used for testing are based on the male body. A female crash dummy was introduced back in 2003. However, it is mostly just a smaller version of the male type. It weighs 110 pounds and is 5 feet tall, putting its dimensions just outside those of the average woman.

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