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Every year, the Texas Department of Transportation records statistics on a number of subjects — one of them being fatal automobile accidents. The state has not yet released the 2017 numbers, but the 2016 numbers show that serious or fatal car accidents happen all too often in Texas.

What do the numbers say? What is causing these accidents? What can victims or — in the event of fatality — their surviving family members do after the fact? Can they seek relief for their losses?

Numbers, numbers, numbers…

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The issue of distracted driving isn't new. Since cars took to the road, drivers' attention has wandered away from the road and caused accidents. Since people began talking to passengers, eating, shaving or even reading a newspaper, the danger existed.

However, technological advances in recent years increased instances of distracted driving, with serious and deadly consequences. The technology that should make life easier also involves complicated maneuvers to use, which creates significant distractions. In 2017, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released research regarding technology and distracted driving.

What the AAA Foundation discovered

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Staying connected has often been a goal of many people. With loved ones and friends living far apart, it is not unusual for parties to want to find ways in which they can easily communicate and stay updated on recent personal news. With social media and apps within arm's reach, constant communication has never been easier.

Cell phones can easily allow you and others to conduct many different activities simply using a device in the palm of your hand. If you need to ask a quick question to a friend, you can simply send a text. If you need to give a general update about your day, you can post to social media. Even if you need to check your bank account, you can likely access an app that gives you information regarding your balances. Though this may seem convenient, when is cell phone use too much?

Cell phone addiction

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Sadly, as you may be aware, Texas regularly leads the nation in DWI fatalities. Of course, you already know the dangers of driving while intoxicated and the increased risk it means for both you and any passengers, not to mention everyone else on the road, pedestrians included. You know how important it is to arrange alternate transportation ahead of time if you're going to be drinking. If nothing else, you can call an Uber.

What you may be less certain of, however, is how to spot when another driver on the road has been drinking. Perhaps even more important is knowing what to do about it. Figuring out the signs of impaired driving can help you take preventative measures, if necessary, to keep you and your passengers safe, and reporting a drunk driver to the appropriate authorities can potentially save the lives of any number of others.

How to report a drunk driver

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Every driver in Texas will likely admit to getting behind the wheel while in a hurry and driving a bit too fast at least once. However, as you know, speeding is dangerous, and the reality is that driving too fast greatly increases the chance of a car accident and the severity of a collision.

If you were hurt in an accident caused by a speeding driver, you have options. Victims of excessive speed are able to hold liable drivers accountable through personal injury claims. You have no time to lose in ensuring the protection of your rights and learning more about your options for obtaining compensation after an accident.

Too fast is simply too dangerous

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Distracted driving accidents have been on the rise in Texas and across the country, despite increased education and law enforcement efforts. While not necessarily as risky as distraction behind the wheel, distraction on the part of pedestrians is also an issue.

In fact, statistics show an 11-percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in the United States last year, and pedestrian distraction was a contributing factor.

Factors to Consider

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Driving in the Dallas area can be a challenge at times. Highways and interstates are often heavily laden with traffic, and chances are you have witnessed some close calls. No matter how cautious you are, your best efforts may not be enough to avoid a collision, especially if a distracted driver is in your midst.

Anytime a driver takes hands off the wheel, mind off the task of driving, or eyes away from the road, that driver is distracted.

Texting while driving is known to be the most dangerous form of distracted driving — just as dangerous as drunk driving — but there are other forms of distraction.

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No texting while driving in Texas

Posted on in Uncategorized

Following the lead of other states across the nation, Texas recently enacted a statewide texting-while-driving ban. As of Sept. 1, it is now illegal to text while driving in Texas. A number of cities had already passed distracted driving ordinances, but state lawmakers had struggled to get a law passed until Gov. Abbott signed the new law in June.

It's important to understand that each year thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries are caused by distracted driving nationwide. Now Texas law recognizes the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

Details of the new law

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These days people live their lives constantly attached to their cellphones, and in many ways, cellphones make aspects of life more convenient.

On the other hand, mobile devices also cause a considerable amount of distraction, particularly when it comes to driving.

Research has shown that use of hands-free or handheld technology behind the wheel quadruples the risk of an accident.

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Distraction is a threat to every Texas motorist, including you. Drivers who choose to participate in a distracting behavior can cause devastating harm, even in a matter of a few seconds of distraction.

Technically, distracted driving is any type of behavior that takes a driver's attention from the road and the obligation to drive safely. All forms of distraction fall into at least one of three main categories, and every form of distraction is preventable, negligent and dangerous for every person on the road.

What are the three main types of distracted driving?

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Like drunk driving, drugged driving is a dangerous and inexcusable behavior that puts other people at risk of collisions and serious injuries. The choice to get behind the wheel while under the influence of any type of intoxicating substance could be a decision that results in the physical harm or death of an innocent person.

If you were hurt in a Texas car accident that you believe was the result of drugged driving, you may be entitled to significantly more compensation than the insurance company initially offers.

Drugged driving is a growing problem in Texas and nationwide.

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One of the most common reasons for trucking accidents in Texas is fatigue. Truck drivers face stiff deadlines when it comes to reaching their destinations. As a result, they usually feel the pressure to stay behind the wheel longer than permitted. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates how long truck drivers can operate their vehicles in one sitting.

When truck drivers fail to take time to rest, this can lead to extreme fatigue. Unfortunately, the fatigue can end up causing a serious accident leading to injuries. If you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by fatigue, you have the right to pursue compensation.

Why is fatigue such a problem?

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Distractions affect everyone throughout their daily lives. In many cases, you may not even realize that you have become distracted until something else catches your attention. Though distraction does not always have dire consequences, distracted driving can easily lead to a serious accident. If the crash involves a distracted semi-truck driver, the outcome could be devastating.

Though certain factors could impact any driver and lead to distraction, truck drivers face specific aspects of their jobs that could result in distraction. If you were injured by a distracted truck driver, you could potentially use that information as part of your personal injury case. Some common truck driver distractions include:

Cellphones

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After suffering a serious injury in a car accident, you may have reason to pursue a civil claim against the driver considered at fault. Though many individuals consider such legal proceedings relatively common, you may not fully understand the process that your case may go through as you work to gain compensation for allowable damages. Luckily, many civil claims move forward in a similar order, though some steps may change depending on state law.

If you would like to file a civil claim in hopes of gaining restitution, you may want to prepare yourself for a potentially long process. However, in the end, your efforts may prove worth the time. The first steps involved in the proceedings include:

  • Filing a complaint and summons: A complaint expresses the claims you wish to bring against the party considered at fault for your accident, also known as the defendant. The summons contains the order for the defendant to appear in court and gain awareness of the claim filed against him or her. Typically, your legal representation prepares your legal documents.
  • Answering the complaint: Once the appropriate parties have served the defendant with the summons and complaint, the defendant must then take action. He or she typically has a certain period of time in which he or she must attend to the legal documents. An answer may include any plaintiff's claims to which the defendant would like to admit, plaintiff's claims to which the defendant contests and claims the defendant has against the plaintiff.
  • Unanswered complaint: If the defendant does not answer the complaint, a default judgment could take place against the defendant.
  • Discovery: Discovery takes place when the parties involved exchange prudent information. This information may include written questions, documents relevant to the case and sworn statements transcribed by a court reporter or officer. The parties and their legal counsel then use this information to make preparations for the case.

A lot of work may prove necessary in order to complete just these first few steps toward your civil case. However, in many instances, the effort you put forth when preparing for court proceedings could play a considerable role in the outcome of your case. Therefore, you may wish to take the time to review the steps needed to get started and how you could bolster your efforts.

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Anyone who spends any amount of time driving through Garland on a regular basis knows how congested traffic flow can get. The last you thing you need while navigating busy roadways is to be sharing the road with an impaired driver. Every year in Texas, and throughout the nation, thousands of people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Knowing what to look for may keep you safe

Would you know a drunk driver if you saw one in the traffic lane next to yours? The following is a list of signs that should cause you concern if you see a nearby motorist exhibiting any of them:

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The holidays are a busy time of year. Whether you are directly involved in planning and attending celebrations or merely caught up in the traffic congestion and daily delays the crowded streets of a festive season often cause, you may already be facing challenges getting to work on time and keeping up with your to-do list.

The last thing you need is to have your holiday plans interrupted by a car accident. If you've ever been stuck in traffic in Irving or Garland, you know it can take what seems like forever to get from point A to point B. If a reckless or negligent driver smashes into your vehicle, not only might it increase your delay, it may cause you serious injury as well.

Many accidents occur for these reasons

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Large commercial vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, are an extremely common sight on the roads and highways of Texas. Indeed, commerce and industry in America depend on reliable deliveries by truckers and trucking companies. In order to operate at peak efficiency, operators, shippers and dispatchers need to be in regular communication with each other.

Sometimes, the desire to keep communication lines open and maintain schedules can make it tempting for a commercial vehicle driver to engage in texting and driving. This is dangerous behavior and is forbidden by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Texting definitions and regulations

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An injury on the job can mean any number of things, including missed days at work, loss of wages, and ongoing pain. In many instances, a person who is injured on the job is entitled to benefits through the workers' compensation system.

In Texas, however, workers' compensation is not required. Although many employers opt into workers' comp coverage as a means of protecting themselves, some business owners choose to go "bare," opting to do business without this additional coverage. This may allow them to save money over the years, but it is not always good for their employees.

If you've been injured on the job while working for an employer that doesn't have workers' compensation insurance, here are a few things you should know:

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Car accidents are traumatic experiences even when there is minimal damage. Since some people experience a mental fog after a car crash, making it difficult to focus, they may not be aware of their injuries right away. Also, some injuries are not immediately evident.

Here are six trauma symptoms that often don't appear right away after a car crash:

  • Headache: It is common for a crash victim to experience a problem several days after a motor vehicle accident (MVA). This pain may mean nothing or may signal a more serious problem like a concussion (traumatic brain injury) or a head or neck injury.
  • Neck and shoulder pain or stiffness: Whiplash is the classic delayed symptom, usually not becoming painful until 12 to 24 hours after an accident occurs. Whiplash injuries can occur even at very slow speeds. An x-ray, CT scan or MRI may be necessary for a diagnosis or to rule out serious complications. It can take months for neck and shoulder pain to subside completely and may require physical therapy.
  • Abdominal pain or swelling: An internal injury may have a delayed onset of symptoms as it can take time for the injury to evolve. Have any abdominal pain or swelling evaluated in an emergency room immediately, and make sure that medical personnel know you were recently involved in a traffic accident.
  • Numbness: Swelling may cause numbness, which can occur anywhere in the body and may be perceived as a tingling, stinging or total loss of feeling. These symptoms may indicate nerve damage, or compression of the nerves in the neck or spine.
  • Behavioral or mental changes: Concussions are often not evident for a number of hours. The first symptom of a severe head injury is often lethargy or feeling excessively sleepy for no reason. Other symptoms could be difficulty completing simple tasks, confusion, impaired memory, blurred vision, difficulty hearing or ringing in the ears. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) reports that injuries from motor vehicle accidents account for 14 percent of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Research suggests that about 9 percent of serious car accident victims develop PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. It is even more common in individuals who have preexisting mental health histories. PTSD is almost always delayed in its presentation, appearing in the weeks and months after a traumatic event occurs. Symptoms can include sleep disturbances, fear, anxiety, depression, vivid memories of the event.

The consequences of motor vehicle accidents are costly - both physically and financially - for victims and their families.

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Trucks are a common sight on the roads of Texas. In Dallas-Fort Worth, you're just as likely to be driving next to a semi-tractor trailer as you are a large pickup. Unfortunately, the high rate of semi drivers leads to a high rate of truck-car accidents, many of which cause serious or fatal injuries.

Nearly every day, a motorists falls victim to the careless driving or conduct of a truck driver in Texas. At the law firm of Jerry D. Andrews, P.C., we frequently meet motor vehicle accident victims who were injured because of these common causes of truck crashes:

  • Fatigue: Thousands of miles and long hours are part of the job description for commercial drivers. Commercial truck drivers are paid to deliver their haul on time and, some truck transportation companies pay bonuses to drivers for getting deliveries to their destination ahead of schedule. This frees up the truck for extra deliveries and spells more profit for the company. Unfortunately, this creates a desire for drivers to push themselves to stay awake beyond their capabilities. To earn a bonus, a commercial truck driver may forgo rest and sleeping time. In turn, this leads to fatigue and a much higher risk factor for a truck accident.
  • Reckless driving: The same motivation to get where they're going faster, often leads to reckless driving by commercial truck drivers. The larger the truck and the heavier the haul, the longer it will take for a truck to come to a complete stop. Reckless drivers may drive too fast compared to the traffic speed, weave between lanes to get ahead or tailgate other vehicles. All these behaviors spell trouble for other motorists and their passengers. Too often, reckless truck driving leads to accidents and injuries.
  • Distracted driving: These days, truck cabs are outfitted with more than GPS for navigation. Truck drivers may have televisions, DVD players, cell phones and tablets set up in the cab for "entertainment" while on the road. This is a bad idea for everyone, let alone truck drivers in Dallas-Fort Worth. While drivers use their eyes to view text messages instead of watching the road, someone else usually becomes the victim.

These are just a few causes of truck accidents. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a negligent truck driver's actions, seek the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer. We'll help determine the cause of the truck accident and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

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