Articles Posted in Distracted driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released its highly anticipated 2016 crash report this week. The results are very discouraging.

More people died in traffic crashes last year than in any year in the past decade.

And what’s more, there were increases in every means of transit. Death rates increased for those driving cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, motorcycles, pedestrians and bicycles.

Overall traffic deaths increased by almost 2,000 people — an enormous 5.6 rate of increase from 2015. Since 2008, traffic fatalities had been on a downward trajectory but began to climb in 2012. We’ve now surpassed the 2008 numbers with no apparent end in sight.

I’ve been riding my bicycle long distances to stay in shape as I turn 63 next month (yikes!) and this picture of a “ghost bike” memorializing the death of a cyclist is especially disturbing to me.

Continue reading

These helpful apps can lower your chances of being in a car wreck

For the first time in Texas history, texting while driving is illegal. Finally! We were almost the last state to outlaw this incredibly dangerous practice. The new law just started on September 1st and many people still don’t know about it.

Texting and Driving

And the common habit of tweeting or surfing the net at 60 MPH will be hard to break. After all, we are all addicted to our cell phones.

Is there a way to prevent getting a ticket or far worse, causing an auto accident? Yes, fortunately. The Fort Worth Star Telegram just reviewed several new apps that you might find helpful. I discussed some of them here.

1. Do Not Disturb While Driving. On Tuesday Apple unveiled the new iOS 11 software and iPhone 8 which include an exciting Do Not Disturb feature that you can enable when you get into your car — or make your teenager do. The feature blocks text messages and phone calls and sends an automatic reply that the user is driving. The driver can still receive phone calls through a hands-free device. The app eliminates the temptation to take a peek when a ping announces a text message.

Continue reading

The law couldn’t come soon enough

Texas is about to become the 48th state to outlaw texting while driving. Okay, so at least we weren’t last.

The law takes effect on September 1. But, why wait? Why not just go ahead and put the phone away?

If you need convincing, consider that distracted drivers caused 109,000 accidents and killed 455 people in Texas in 2016. Distracted drivers were responsible for more than 8,200 crashes that killed 23 people in Tarrant County and more than 7,000 accidents that killed 16 people in Dallas County.

It is impossible to look at a phone screen and drive safely at the same time. A driver who does so is just an accident waiting to happen. Some people will text and drive regardless, but many others will stop to avoid a traffic fine and points on their driving record. Continue reading

Good 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.

Continue reading

Texas 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

Feature 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.

Continue reading

Today’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.

Continue reading

My 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

Despite 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

So 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.

Continue reading

Contact Information