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Articles Posted in Head-on collisions
In a blow to the Texas legal community, Justice David L. Bridges was tragically killed in a horrific collision on Saturday night. Justice Bridges was driving on Interstate 30 when a 32-year-old woman, Megan Smith of Royse City, was driving the wrong way and hit his and another vehicle head-on.

Smith was driving while intoxicated and was arrested for intoxication manslaughter.

Justice Bridges, 65, was elected in 1996 to the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas. He was born in Fort Worth, according to his biography on the Texas Judicial Branch website. After graduating from Texas Tech law school, he served as an assistant District Attorney and as the Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the State Bar of Texas.

You may have seen that crazy show called “1,000 Ways to Die.” You can guess that its sequel, “1,000 Ways to Crash on Texas Roads,” is being filmed now. News stories often report the countless ways that over 250,000 of us — yes that’s one-fourth of a million people –  get injured each year in car accidents. They have one thing in common: someone didn’t use the basic level of caution required of anyone behind the wheel, especially in Texas lane-change crashes.

Most recently, a Garland teen was a passenger in a sports car north of Austin when she met a tragic ending due to an unsafe lane change. The 17-year-old driver of his car was going too fast and when she caught up to a slower moving vehicle, swerved to get around it. The car flew off the road and flipped multiple times and the young man sadly lost his life.

Too many Texas lane-change crashes result from “the 3 I’s”

Driving down 635 (LBJ Freeway) in North Dallas, the last thing you’d expect to see is a car heading straight toward you at 70 MPH, right? But that’s exactly what two shocked drivers experienced the other night when a Wrong Way Crash took place.

Wrong Way Crash

A man drove onto LBJ going the wrong way at 10 p.m. on Sunday. Other drivers frantically called 911 when they saw him but before police could stop him, he had crashed into two cars. Miraculously nobody was killed.

What’s the cause? You guessed it.

The wrong-way driver was high. Most are or are drunk. In fact, a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study found that an incredible 61 percent of wrong-way drivers were intoxicated. Most of intoxicated wrong-way drivers are extremely drunk, with BACs above .15 percent. The third most common factor in wrong-way crashes is drugs.

Drunk Driving

Here’s another shameful statistic compiled by the NTSB: Texas leads the nation in wrong-way accidents.

What is our state doing to fix the problem?

Getting drunk and drugged drivers off the road would drastically reduce all traffic accidents, which is why I constantly advocate for stricter drunk driving laws in Texas.

Good news: the state is taking measures to stop drivers from entering the highway in the wrong direction. Continue reading

It seems like there is news of a wrong way crash practically every day in our state, This isn’t your imagination or media hype. Wrong way collisions really do occur almost daily in Texas.

Tragically, 251 people were injured and 102 were killed in wrong way crashes in 2015.

Texas remains consistently in first place for most wrong-way accidents in the nation. Yet another first place trophy we need to retire.

But there is some light at the end of this tunnel. As I reported earlier this year, the Texas Department of Transportation has implemented a special program focused on ending wrong way accidents. The first part of the money is earmarked here for Tarrant County to analyze the best means for stopping drivers from entering highway ramps going in the wrong direction.

The pilot program focuses mainly on I-30 and Highway 360 interchange in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Already, TxDOT has installed high tech tools to prevent drivers from entering the highway in the wrong direction, to alert drivers that do go the wrong way, and to get police on the scene as quickly as possible to stop the driver before he injures somebody. Continue reading

The word “accident” is used to describe an event that happened without an apparent cause. So when it is applied to car and truck collisions, it’s clearly the wrong word for an injury lawyer or anybody to use.

Consider just a few of the horrible crashes, collision, and wrecks, that happened on our Dallas Fort Worth roads this weekend that could have easily been prevented with safe driving:

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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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I’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 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 sensors 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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Saturday morning at 2:00 a.m., three people suffered serious injuries on the Dallas North Tollway after the driver of a Ford pick up truck drove the wrong way and crashed head-on into a Dodge Charger at 70 MPH.

It’s terrifying — and it happens all the time.

What can be done to stop these high-speed crashes?

The North Texas Tollway Authority has tried all kinds of things — flashing lights, huge warning signs, bright LED lane markers — but this horrendous problem persists.

How could any driver miss these in-your-face alerts? You guessed it. In most cases, wrong way drivers are drunk.

NTTA engineers have devised a new method for capturing wrong way drivers before they hurt anyone. A system of sensors, cameras and communication devices allow quick detection and response by law enforcement.

Good news: this early warning detection system works. As the NTTA planned to shut down the highway to test the cameras, a real life wrong way driver entered the highway. An officer was dispatched and the driver was stopped before crashing head-on into another vehicle. Continue reading

Have you ever noticed the massive concrete posts that support Texas bridges? From an engineering point of view, the posts are impressive. They support tons of weight and stand up to intense conditions.

From a safety point perspective, however, the posts are accidents just waiting to happen.

The huge concrete posts sit directly next to the highway, with nothing to pad them or block cars from hitting them. TxDOT might as well construct a big brick wall along the side of the highway and demand cars stay on course. Continue reading

Sister of Retired Supreme Court Justice Among the DWI Victims

This weekend’s mayhem left a deadly path on our roads. In just these six collisions, drunk drivers drove the wrong way and crashed head-on into other vehicles. These people were so drunk that some actually entered the highway in the wrong direction or veered over the center lane.

  • At 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, a car was travelling the wrong way on the Dallas North Tollway near I-635. A 20 year-old Lewisville woman crashed into two cars at Royal Lane, fled that scene, crashed into two more automobiles at Walnut Hill Lane, fled again, then hit another vehicle at Park Lane before police were finally able to stop her. In addition to arresting the wrong-way driver for DWI and fleeing the scene, police arrested one of the drivers she hit for DWI. Really?
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