Articles Posted in DWI

madd_1-246x300Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a group I heartily support, has calculated that one-third of intoxicated drivers arrested are repeat offenders. So consider what has happened here in the last few days:

Yesterday an intoxicated driver who fled a Tarrant County Sheriff at over 100 m.p.h. was sentenced to 14 years in jail. The 32-year-old man plead guilty in Weatherford after he crashed into another vehicle and fled the scene. His blood alcohol limit was more than two times the legal limit of .08%.

And on Wednesday night at 11:00 p.m., a drunk driver in a SUV crashed into two construction workers protected by a giant truck with flashing neon arrows. They were repairing Stemmons Freeway near Inwood Road in Dallas. The drunk kept driving, of course. Police arrested the 33-year-old man miles away and charged him with intoxication assault. The two construction workers were rushed to Parkland Hospital with serious injuries.
I blogged about how a Weatherford man was sentenced to life in prison after his 12th DWI conviction and a Houston man was jailed for life after his ninth one.

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https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/02/200px-Super_Bowl_LI_logo.svg_.pngYou’re probably getting excited about watching Super Bowl LI being played over in Houston.  Unfortunately the consumption of alcohol this Sunday will rival that of the amount guzzled on New Year’s Eve and July 4th.

Why DWIs are a major problem

Here in North Texas, collisions affect the lives of a lot of innocent people. There were over 80,000 crashes in Dallas and Tarrant Counties in 2015!

Worse, statistics show that the number of alcohol-caused deaths in crashes in Dallas are already the fifth highest in any major city — and this is on a normal day (and night).

And our state has the highest number of DWI-caused deaths of any state in this horrible category . According to the NHTSA, Texas had a whopping 1,323 alcohol-impaired traffic deaths in 2015 — 38% of all total traffic fatalities. By comparison, New Jersey, which has 32% the number of people, had a far less percent (8%) and number (111) of these deaths.

And our country has one of the highest rates of intoxicated driver-caused death rates in the world. In 2014, 9,943 people died in drunk driving collisions, or one death every 53 minutes. And this number increased to 10,265 the next year.

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It  was another incredibly dangerous weekend on our North Texas roads. Intoxicated and hit-and-run drivers killed or injured innocent drivers in Dallas- Fort Worth. These were just the crashes reported in the newspapers:

  • At 9:35 p.m. on Friday, a Ford Focus hit a Kia Sportage, sending it over a guardrail and down a hill. The Kia driver was ejected from his car and died on the scene. The Focus driver was later determined to be under the influence of drugs and was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
  • A hit-and-run in Richardson just before 11 p.m. on Friday night left a motorcyclist with a broken arm. The northbound driver was changing lanes near Prestonwood Drive when they hit the motorcyclist. Police have no leads on the driver.
  • Early Saturday morning an Arlington police officer was treated for injuries after being involved in a crash with a suspected drunk driver. The officer was working to re-open lanes of I-30 after overnight construction.
  • Note that this is only one of the 10 DWI arrests made in Arlington Saturday night. This compares to a typical weekend night of four to six driving while intoxicated arrests, still a ridiculous number.
  • At 9 p.m. Saturday in Dallas, a man died after his speeding SUV spun out of control and careened into a ditch, ejecting him from the car. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and alcohol presumably played a role in the crash.
  • A collision on Berry Street in Fort Worth early Sunday morning tragically killed a woman and left a child critically injured.
  • Early Sunday morning, a wrong-way driver killed a man on I-30 in Grand Prairie. At around 5 a.m. a woman driving east in the westbound lane struck another car, killing its driver on the scene and shutting down I-30 for nearly five hours. The woman is in critical condition and police suspect alcohol was involved.
  • Note that this accident is the second fatal accident in January in Grand Prairie.

These are just a few of the hundreds of accidents across North Texas in January.

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wrong-way-for-blogI’ve posted about the surge in North Texas wrong-way crashes and the catastrophic nature of these collisions, which took the lives of 102 people and injured 251 people in 2015 in our state.  And I’ve pointed out that little, if anything, was being done to prevent these usually horrific head-on collisions.

So once again at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning in Southlake, another presumably drunk driver speeding the wrong way crashed into a SUV. He or she tragically killed its two occupants and seriously injured a third person. Here’s a photo of the scene at State Highway 114 near Kimball Avenue courtesy of CBSDFW.com. My prayers go out to the families.

But a wreck exactly like this one at the exact same location happened a few years ago, also killing two people. And far too many others have happened in North Texas.

So it’s great news that Texas is finally implementing a solution. The Department of Transportation is installing high-tech signs on 24 ramps here in Tarrant County and other cities across Texas. Sensors detect a vehicle travelling the wrong way which triggers flashing LED lights. Hopefully the driver will realize his mistake and and pull over.

The sensors will also alert the central command center, which will send messages streaming across boards to warn other drivers of the oncoming peril they face.

Further, the senhttps://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/01/34419.0.main_-300x225.jpgsors immediately notify police in the area so they can try to stop the driver before he crashes into somebody.

This photo shows what this would look like to you as you would be seeing as you drove towards the oncoming vehicle.

One of the most frightening aspects of a wrong-way collision is that other drivers don’t see it coming. Even the most careful driver does not expect to see a car coming straight toward her on a highway at 60 or 70 MPH. By the time she sees the vehicle, the combined speeds of the two cars often makes an evasive response impossible.

The first priority is getting the driver’s attention. The current big red signs that say “Wrong Way” often escape the notice of tired, confused and especially drunk drivers. The new signs will be hard to miss. If the driver doesn’t see the flashing lights, other drivers will at least now know to beware and police will know to swing into action.

In addition, TxDOT will implement a plan it announced last year to install “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs at eye level. The idea is that drivers are not looking up or around, but straight ahead at the road, so the signs should be low enough to catch their attention. Another good idea.

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EC-300x169I was prompted to post about Ethan Couch after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one of my favorite organizations, just emailed a list of its national accomplishments in 2016. Its top one was in our infamous case, where MADD helped convince a judge to give Couch the maximum sentence. Unfortunately, it was less than two years in jail, far less than the 20 years originally requested by prosecutors.

And it was in January one year ago when the “affluenza teen” was extradited to Fort Worth after fleeing to Mexico after he violated his generous probated sentence by drinking alcohol.

You’ll probably remember that the barely 16-year-old got extremely drunk at midnight in June of 2013 and sped down a dark residential road in Burleson in a huge pickup truck. Then Couch plowed into four people standing next to a disabled vehicle, killing them. He also maimed a young man riding in the bed of his pickup truck, whom I represented in the first lawsuit filed against Couch and his father’s company.

The case made international news after a defense psychologist said Couch suffered from “affluenza” and his spoiled upbringing should spare him from punishment. Then the judge gave Couch a probated 10 year sentence and several months at a rehab facility.

What happens next?

Couch will be released from jail next year and will be on probation through 2014. He will continue to be banned from drinking alcohol, using drugs, or driving and faces 20 years in jail if he violates the terms which judging by his past behavior, appears likely.

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imagesThis weekend far too many drunk partiers will get behind the wheel and crash into another vehicle in North Texas.

I blog about DWI crashes frequently because they injure so many residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Intoxicated drivers are driving around on our streets every day and night.  But your chances of being in an auto accident are much higher during the Christmas holidays — especially this year since New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday night and our economy is booming.

Last year there were 2,336 wrecks on New Year’s Eve in Texas — twice the usual daily number — which tragically took the lives of 14 people on January 1st alone.

The collision rate caused by DWIs starts spiking before Thanksgiving and continues past New Year’s Day, depending on football bowls and playoffs (Go Cowboys — but get ready for even more crashes in DFW on game days).

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C0HvgD1WgAAcL5d-300x225A car crashed into the Uplift Heights Primary Preparatory School near North Hampton Road yesterday morning. The vehicle erupted into flames and the driver died. School was not in session at the time, thank goodness, or this wreck could have been far worse.

Twitter feeds of the collision like this one showed a crumpled pile of metal no longer identifiable as a car.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the crash but cited speed as an obvious factor. The time of 5.20 a.m. makes drug or alcohol-impairment probable.

Speeding a Factor in More Than One-Fourth of Accident Fatalities

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its 2015 traffic fatality statistics last month. Guess what the organization named as primary contributing factors? Alcohol, speeding, lack of seat belt use, and “problematic driver behaviors” again led the list. I assume that last one includes texting. No surprise there since these factors are the same every year. Continue reading

ChristmasCard-prIt’s that time of year again – to gather with loved ones, give thanks for the many blessings in our lives, and enjoy holiday festivities. Too bad it’s also the time for drunk drivers — and then some.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching its annual holiday anti-drunk driving campaign. Texas Highway Patrol and local Dallas and Fort Worth police departments will step up DUI enforcement during NHTSA’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Crackdown.

Many drunk drivers will eat their holiday meal in jail. That’s a pretty lousy way to spend Christmas. But, it beats the alternative of hurting themselves or others in a DUI crash. Continue reading

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She couldn’t see it because she was sexting with her shirt over her face.

This happened near the A & M campus late Thursday night. A 19-year-old freshman was charged with driving while intoxicated, having an open bottle of wine in her vehicle, and being a minor in possession.

She told the police officer she was sending the selfie to her boyfriend. As she was driving.

Here’s a photo from the scene.

I guess girls just want to have fun.

But as I often have to ask, what is going on out there?

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We have to stop drunk driving. It is a serious problem in Fort Worth and all over Texas. Our state sadly leads the country in the number of people killed in traffic crashes caused by drunk drivers.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the only organization that is stopping this deadly menace.

Berenson Injury Law is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Fort Worth Walk Like MADD every year. My firm is also participating in the walk. I am honored that I will speak. I would like for you to join us.

Check in for the Fort Worth Walk Like MADD begins at 7:30 at the Botanic Gardens, just down the street from my office. The program begins at 9:00. The uplifting morning features a remembrance ceremony, a 5K walk, a commitment celebration, food, and music. I highly recommend this event.

You can learn more about the event and register here. And let me know you’ve registered and I’ll match your registration fee in a donation to MADD.

As a personal injury lawyer, I’m all too familiar with the devastating injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving. And I’m just as aware of how preventable drunk driving is.

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