Articles Posted in Distracted driving

dreamstime_xs_567292Good news: for years teenage traffic fatalities declined in Texas. From 2005 to 2014, the number of teen deaths dropped by 51 percent. Texas’s graduated licensing program, education, and safer cars seemed to be making a positive impact.

Bad news: in 2015 things took a turn for the worse when teen deaths unfortunately spiked by 9 percent. And based on what I’ve seen in my practice as an injury lawyer, I’m not optimistic about the release of the  2016 statistics.

How can we stop this from happening? And what can you do if you crashed into by a teenage driver?

Teens: drunk driving and speeding are nothing to brag about

Last week’s horrific YouTube video of an 18 year-old driving drunk and killing her younger sister and a Snapchat video which recorded a woman partying in the days before she was killed in a drunk driving crash have gone viral.

These videos ended tragically, but others in which drunk and speeding teen drivers miraculously survive continue to pop up on social media and actually be liked by peers and followers. The teens enjoy a few moments of minor fame for their risky escapade, which may be encouraging others to follow suit.

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drive-now-text-later-300x93Texas finally became the 47th state to pass a ban on texting while driving two weeks ago.

But for many of us, stringent restrictions on texting have been in place for years.

102 cities got tired waiting for state lawmakers to get on board with the rest of the country and passed their own cell phone ordinances.

In our DFW area, Arlington, Bedford, Grand Prairie, Hurst, Watauga, White Settlement, and other cities cracked down on negligent drivers. Arlington, for example, did this back in 2011.

That’s because it was obvious that texting while driving caused an obscene number of deaths and personal injuries. It is the number one cause, greater than driving while intoxicated and speeding combined.

In Texas last year, texting caused 455 people to lose their lives and over 3,000 others to be seriously injured — and those are just the cases where the police could get the at-fault driver to admit he or she was texting.

Here in Tarrant County, 22 drivers died and 236 suffered serious injuries. That’s maddening, right? Especially if you’ve been crashed into by someone texting.

Ironically, many Texans may see their local laws weakened now that the state has belatedly tiptoed into this important safety issue.

That’s because Governor Abbott has called a special legislative session in a few weeks. On the agenda is a law that will make the state’s anti-texting law supersede the stronger local laws that these cities and counties have on the books.  Continue reading

imagesFeature To Disable Phones While Driving

Cell phone use caused at least 391,000 traffic accidents and killed 3,477 people in the U.S. in 2015. But many drivers can’t break their addiction to this dangerous practice. A majority of people admit to texting while driving.

Apparently nothing short of the phone automatically shutting itself off can get texters to stop.

That’s the idea behind a long overdue feature on the newest version of the iPhone to be released this fall.

Your smartphone already detects when it is moving quickly. And there are apps already available that permit you to disable your phone while driving, including Carplay and Driver Mode.

The Apple’s iOS 11 will automatically disable iPhones once the vehicle begins moving. That means you won’t receive calls or text messages or be able to use certain distracting apps while you drive.

Apple had a patent for this technology since 2008 according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tyler. It seeks damages on behalf of the estates of two women who were killed and a 7-year-old boy who was rendered a paraplegic when their SUV was rear ended in East Texas in 2013 by a woman who was texting while driving. Other similar lawsuits have been filed across the country.

This new software clearly should have been installed many years ago.

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dreamstime_xs_44085862Today’s Star Telegram editorial wisely observed that “Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick should bring the texting-while-driving bill to the floor and let senators vote or explain why not at every victim’s funeral.”

Just a few weeks ago, the House again passed a bill for the fourth straight session that would ban texting while driving throughout the state. Our representatives know that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and voted to do something about it.

I see far too many car wrecks as a personal injury lawyer that are caused when a driver admits he or she didn’t see the car in front was at a complete stop because they were looking down at their cell phones.

We need to stop drivers from texting while driving. But once again, this common sense law appears to be in jeopardy of passing.

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dreamstime_xs_76135020My heart goes out to the North Side families of a 2-year-old girl who died yesterday and a 3 year-old boy who was killed last week when cars hit them.

The little girl was crossing the street in front of her house west of the Stockyards when a drunk driver hit her Sunday evening.  The man has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

The little boy was chasing his ball not far away in a neighborhood just off of Jacksboro Highway when he was struck. The driver didn’t even have a license. The collision happened in a cul-de-sac, so investigators said speed was not a factor. But even at a slow speed, a vehicle can seriously injure or kill a pedestrian.

In March, an 8-year-old girl on a scooter in front of her house died after being struck in east Fort Worth.

That’s a horrifying statistic: three children killed here in our streets in two months.

There seems to be no end in sight to pedestrian injury cases.

More than 5,000 pedestrians of all ages are struck and killed by vehicles each year. A whopping number of them (550) died in Texas in 2015.

I was just hired to represent a 7-year-old girl who was critically injured when she was hit by a truck in southwest Fort Worth several weeks ago.

And I’m going to court next week to finalize the case of a young girl seriously injured when she was crossing in front of a stopped school bus in north Fort Worth.

Like any personal injury lawyer, I have unfortunately represented many pedestrians and their families who have suffered injuries and deaths. Here are a few things I have learned about these devastating injury cases.

Children Are More Likely to Be Killed By a Car 

Children remain a higher than average percentage of these pedestrian deaths until they are 15 years old. For children ages 5 to 9 years old, getting hit by a car is the third leading cause of death.

Why are kids at greater risk of traffic fatalities? A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explained some of the reasons. Continue reading

C8HqSwqWsAAir07-e1493918519252Despite numerous innovations in auto and road safety, car collisions are increasing by the fastest pace in 50 years.

Car crash deaths jumped a huge 14 percent from 2014 to 2016. It is shocking that 40,200 people lost their lives in auto wrecks last year. Pedestrian deaths skyrocketed during that time period by an incredible 22 percent.

The reason? You guessed it: distracted driving.

This conclusion is not based merely upon my observations as an injury lawyer. The insurance industry has identified distracted driving as the catalyst for this alarming trend. In fact, texting and driving has had such a tremendous impact on the industry’s profits that insurance companies are finally jumping on board to combat the crisis. Continue reading

dreamstime_xs_33822870-300x254So Who’s Causing The Avalanche of Accidents?

Teenagers? No, it’s their older brothers and sisters, the millennials. The largest generation of Americans between the ages of 19 and 35 are our worst drivers.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety just released a troubling report that reveals that almost all admit that they exceed the speed limit by 10-15 m.p.h., run red lights, text while driving, and drive under the influence of alcohol or marijuana on a regular basis.

Great, 75 million of the most dangerous drivers in America are driving next to us. Talk about accidents waiting to happen!

This helps explain why we have a whopping 80,000 collisions each year in Tarrant and Dallas Counties. A paralegal got stuck behind one involving an 18-wheeler and four other vehicles this morning that shut down I-20. It’s routine but shouldn’t be.

The epidemic of collisions keeps rising, despite the constant warnings about the dangers of texting while driving and speeding. You see PSAs and signs all the time on television, social media, highway signs, and billboards. But many young drivers don’t think dangerous driving is wrong.

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Statewide Prohibition To Finally Be Enacted By Legislature?Texting-while-driving-Arlington-lawyer-300x194

Two veteran Texas lawmakers are again introducing legislation to ban texting while driving statewide.

What should be a no-brainer bill has never been signed into law, even though it was passed in two different sessions before being vetoed by the governor.

State Representative Tom Craddick, a Republican from Midland, and State Senator Judith Zaffirini, a Democrat from Laredo, have each filed new bills in the state legislature that is meeting in Austin that would ban texting while driving.

Mr. Craddick believes that Governor Greg Abbott wants to see all cities in Texas enforcing a unified law and may not veto the law this time. The former Speaker of the House is passionate about this attempt: “I am committed to giving our Texas drivers safer roads; I am determined to be a voice for the distracted driving victims and families of victims; and I am extremely motivated to enact legislation that will prevent any loss of life.”

Mr. Craddick points to the almost 500 Texans who died last year due to drivers texting and explains other reasons why texting should be outlawed here.

Texas is one of only four states without a full texting ban, although we recognize how lethal it is by banning new drivers under the age of 18, all school bus drivers, and all drivers near schools from doing so.

As a result of the lack of state action, almost 100 cities have had to pass their own municipal ordinances banning texting while driving. It’s impossible to know as you drive around from one city to the next where it’s legal and where it’s not, so here’s a list that will help you.

Six North Texas cities that ban texting: 

  • Arlington
  • Denton
  • Farmers Branch
  • Grand Prairie
  • Rowlett
  • White Settlement
  • Stephenville and Maypearl (further south of DFW)

Seven North Texas cities that require hands-free devices:

  • Argyle
  • Bedford
  • Denton
  • Hurst
  • Little Elm
  • Midlothian
  • Watauga

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https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/01/Screen-Shot-2017-01-04-at-12.18.56-PM-300x226.pngTwo Texas-Based Lawsuits Attempt Uphill Battle

Texting from behind the wheel has reached epidemic proportions, with 53% of drivers admitting to this dangerous practice in a recent poll.

Don’t think this is a problem? More than 35,000 drivers died in 2015 in collisions, a huge 10 1/2 percent rise over the year before. And the alarming 2016 number is predicted to be 14% higher by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

Still don’t think this affects you? The chances of dying in a crash in the U.S. are 1.3% — the highest rate in the industrialized world. By comparison, this rate is over six times that in Norway and Sweden, which have snowy/icy road conditions much of the year.

We know that rampant cell phone use is often responsible for automobile “accidents” in America. Many countries ban texting while driving and fine offenders heavily.

So what about holding the companies and carriers creating this epidemic accountable? Just like other corporations, should Apple, Samsung, AT&T and Verizon be held responsible for the damages caused by their products and services?

This is the argument at least two families have made to achieve justice after losing loved ones in distracted driving accidents. Families of these victims have filed products liability lawsuits against Apple claiming the corporation was negligent in selling a product it knew would be used while driving and cause injury to others.

Two women killed and young boy paralyzed by texting driver

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IMG_1554I was in Dallas yesterday attending the board of directors meeting of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. This is a vital organization that protects the rights of injured people and I am proud to be a part of this worthwhile group.

After learning the latest information about car wrecks and injuries and helping people fight to recoup their damages, as I was leaving the hotel downtown, I saw this cab with warnings to other drivers. Its driver was texting. At the next stop, I snapped this photo — yes, on my cell phone.

But your chance of being in a collision using your cell phone increase by the following: 12 times if dialing, six times if texting, and five times if reaching for the phone. All over North Texas, people are getting crashed into and injured by drivers who never saw them. We injury lawyers hear this all the time.

But it’s somehow legal to do this in Texas unless these few restrictions apply:

  1. You are under 18 years old,
  2. You have been driving less than six months, or
  3. You are driving in a school zone

Texas is one of only four states in the U.S. that still allows full cell phone use and texting while driving.

No wonder we have so many auto collisions. There were 100,000 collisions in 2014 caused by distracted driving — and presumably more if drivers would admit that they were surfing the net as they drove.

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