I was leaving my office Sunday afternoon when I drove by this SUV which had driven into a huge hole after a water main had ruptured. Fortunately no one was injured, but this could have led to some serious injuries.
It is frightening that Texas’s roads were just rated a D in this report.
Our highways are sometimes designed and maintained poorly and cause crashes. Over the past nearly 40 years, I have seen these road hazards that have led to sometimes catastrophic car and truck wrecks:
- Huge potholes and cracks
- Large debris and standing water
- Inadequate or nonexistent shoulders with steep drop-offs
- Overgrown trees blocking visibility of signs and other vehicles
- Missing or malfunctioning traffic signals and signs
- Poorly designed bridges, curves or grades
- Inadequate lights
- Poorly designed or placed signs
- Dangerous ridging and buckling of pavement Continue reading
One of the downsides of living here in the fastest growing area in the U. S. is the huge increase in traffic — and car crashes — on our roads. An article in today’s Star Telegram asks if DFW is going to be the next LA?
A jaw-dropping 150,000 people moved to our area just last year. When I first moved to Dallas in the mid 70’s to attend SMU Law School, that number was the entire population of Arlington.
Now consider that we have 80,000 auto collisions in Dallas and Tarrant Counties each year.
That puts DFW squarely in the urban planning nightmare: more people = more highways = more collisions.
This article shows that even after $1.6 billion was just spent widening the notoriously dangerous Interstate 35 north of downtown Fort Worth, there are still serious problems there.
I resolved a tragic collision case at its new interchange with Loop 820 last year after a man died after crashing into this piece of road construction equipment. It had darted across the interstate in front of his small car in the middle of the night, causing his death.
Most of us drivers dislike seeing the bright orange “work zone ahead” signs, especially during our morning or afternoon commutes. And while these signs may indicate upcoming traffic jams, detours, and other inconveniences, they are there for our safety and for the protection of the people at work.
When you see a road work sign, remember to be extra vigilant of your surroundings and be prepared for sudden stops, turns, debris, workers, and construction equipment.
There were over 25,000 automobile wrecks in work zones last year in Texas according to the Texas Department of Transportation, up 30% over the past few years.
Here is a good link that can show you how to avoid these congested areas and get to where you are driving safely.
I’m always astonished how many drivers do not appear to know what the traffic laws are. But it’s been 30 or 40 years since many people read the driver’s handbook back in driver’s education class and no retest has been required since.
Many of our rules of the road are common sense or common courtesy — two things you don’t see as much of these days. But others can be a little confusing.
For example, what happens if two people arrive at a four way stop exactly at the same time? Or a traffic light is out and there is a blinking red light?
But turning at an intersection is a simple task.
We have a ridiculous number of car wrecks in Texas. It is tragic that over 21,000 people died or were seriously injured in them in 2016, according to sobering statistics that were just released.
So it’s worth reviewing traffic laws, especially right-of-way rules, every now and then. Continue reading
The latest roadway statistics were just released. They are not good.
Texans experienced a startling 10 percent increase in traffic fatalities from the year before.
Since 2010, the toll has shot up a whopping 34 percent.
It’s possible that our highways could be safer.
As this chart shows, from 2003 to 2010 the annual Texas traffic fatality rate decreased from 3,371 to 2,781.
Then the trend reversed and the number shot up to 3,720.
What happened? Continue reading
Does the State of Texas have a duty to warn drivers about a dangerous road condition? Last week’s decision by a Texas appellate court ruling said that it did.
The Dallas court affirmed a jury’s verdict in favor of a motorcyclist who crashed when his wheels hit a large crack in the highway. The trial court capped the $1,200,000 verdict at $250,000, the maximum damages allowed under the Texas Tort Claims Act, and the state appealed.
Brian Milton was traveling on FM Road 148 in Kaufman in 2012 at night. He couldn’t see the deep cracks in the road pictured here until he hit one and crashed his bike into a ditch. Milton had never driven on this road before. He was severely injured.
Testimony from state employees and other evidence showed that the TxDOT clearly knew about the problem before the crash. The responding officer noted the “big cracks” in the roadway.
A few days later, Milton’s wife took this photo of the severely eroded highway. And just one month earlier, a TxDOT worker had taken pictures of the poor road conditions and ordered signs to warn drivers about the failing road but the signs weren’t placed in the correct location.
In addition, the agency had begun roadwork nearby but had not yet made its way to the area of the crash where work orders were in place.
Dallas Has Almost 3rd Worst Traffic in the Country.
We all know how dangerous and frustrating driving on Dallas-Fort Worth roads can be.
And if you think Dallas is the worst city to drive in, you’re close. It was recently ranked almost tied for the #3 spot on the list for cities with the worst traffic in the United States. Only Los Angeles and New York City, the top two most densely populated cities and famous for their bumper-to-bumper gridlock, have more traffic jams. Remember the opening to the movie La La Land when people danced on their stopped cars?
The study analyzed 108,000 “hotspots” in American cities to identify where they are and why they happen. They represent problem areas that cause congestion and crashes.
The researchers found 6,720 traffic hot spots in Dallas. The worst area was on Interstate 20 West from south of downtown to Collins in Arlington. Improving these areas would make our lives better and reduce the enormous number of car wrecks we have – over 80,000 a year in Dallas and Tarrant Counties each year. Continue reading
National Teen Driver Safety Week Is A Good Start.
Here’s a great idea that gives parents and schools the chance to focus on this critical safety issue.
The U.S. Department of Transportation devised this excellent awareness program to curtail the tragic loss of 2,333 teens and 221,313 teens severely injured after being in an auto accident in 2015.
Parents are not usually usually driving with their teens so they must teach and enforce these five crucial driving behaviors to prevent car and truck crashes:
- No using a cell phone or texting
- No piling passengers in the car
- No speeding
- No drinking alcohol
- No driving without wearing a seat belt
One driver pulls up to another driver and points a gun at him. After a high speed chase, police officers lose control and crash into a bank. The armed driver races into a neighborhood where he wrecks his car, flees on foot, and breaks into a house. The officers are rushed to emergency rooms and one is seriously hurt. Other police officers eventually arrest the man.
This unbelievable police chase was not a scene in the latest Hollywood action movie. It happened yesterday afternoon in Fort Worth. It was so violent it made national headlines.
The driver, a 21-year-old male, was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, evading arrest, and unlawful possession of a firearm and already had seven outstanding arrest warrants. His passenger, a 21-year-old female, was arrested for possession of marijuana and had five warrants.
Our residents are almost always known for their hospitality and courtesy. But our roadways are sometimes turning into battlefields. Road rage has become a common occurrence. Continue reading
If you drive near a school, you noticed all the children walking and riding their bikes and their moms and dads driving them this morning. And of course, you saw the big yellow school buses. And soon we’ll have an eclipse of the sun, well, mostly. Not a typical day to be driving, right?
As our students dive into their books, it’s time for drivers to do a little homework. Here’s a quick refresher on the traffic laws that will keep kids safe and help you avoid a very expensive traffic ticket.
School bus laws
Getting stuck behind a school bus can be frustrating. Can you pass one that is stopped in the other direction? Here is the law in Texas: Continue reading