Here’s another thing out of control: Texas car accident deaths
We reached a sad new milestone yesterday: one or more Texas car accident deaths have happened every day for the past 20 years. During that time, over 70,000 innocent lives have been taken due to fatal collisions. That would almost fill up the AT&T Stadium for a Cowboys game last year. We are #1 in the country in this dismal statistic, even though California has 10 million more people.
The head of the Texas Transportation Commission said that 90% of Texas car accident deaths were preventable. But she noted that we were “numb” to the carnage and took it for granted. That’s a shame.
To combat this problem, the Texas Department of Transportation has started a campaign to #EndTheStreakTx. It has encouraged a grassroots movement to stop or at least curb the number of Texas car accident deaths. If you don’t think this is a serious issue, consider what just happened here.
Seven Die in Fort Worth car wrecks — just on Friday morning
Traffic on our North Texas roads is back to normal, so bad drivers have returned with a vengeance. Here we all are, stuck in the middle of a grim pandemic with a lot of people still unemployed and staying home. But some can’t even obey basic traffic laws designed to keep us all safe.
Friday morning was an especially deadly time to be driving. There were four separate Fort Worth speeding accidents over a three hour period that killed seven people. That is shocking.
We wanted to focus on one of these crashes that was especially devastating.
Meg and Ben Arbour, who were both 39, were almost back to their home in far south Fort Worth when two cars racing on West Risinger Road near Hulen crashed into them. One of the racers then hit a wall and flipped over. The Arbours and that driver, who was 19, died at the scene.
The Arbours were a wonderful couple. Graduates of Texas A&M University, they were very involved with their church and Christian causes. Ben held a Ph.D. degree from the University of Bristol in England, worked at Sewell Lexus, and was a professor of philosophy at Weatherford College. And to make this story even more heart-breaking, they were the parents of four beautiful children who range in age from 10 to 16.
We extend our sincere condolences to their children and family. May God bless, comfort and sustain you.
We made a donation to their GoFundMe account and ask others to consider doing so.
The hit-and-run driver is at large. Hit-and-runs are another big problem here in North Texas that must be stopped by criminal and civil means. We support the Fort Worth Police Department’s effort to to find this killer and file vehicular manslaughter charges immediately. Anyone who has knowledge of his identity should call them at 817-393-4885.
Further, area residents have started an online petition to stop street racing on Risinger Road. They demand more four-way stops, stop lights, flashing lights, lit pedestrian crossings, speed bumps, and police patrols. Please sign and share it. We call on the city to make these necessary changes so that we don’t have any more street-racing crashes there — or anywhere else.
Speeding is a huge problem on Texas roads
The two top causes of Texas car accident deaths involve speeding. Our state suffered almost 48,000 vehicle wrecks caused by speeding in 2019. That’s 130 a day.
It is obvious that the faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the chance that it will cause serious injury or death. Due to their extreme force, speeding drivers cause up to 30% of all fatalities in Texas.
And in the above tragedy, street racers often drive at speeds up to 100 miles an hour — in residential zones with 35 to 40 mile per hour limits. And you see reckless drivers screaming by cars which are already doing 70 on our interstates.
We have just been hired on a case where a man was passed by two street racing vehicles who must have been going over 100 miles and was in a major crash. While street racing is illegal, it is hard to stop. The criminal justice system attempts to do so by assessing long jail terms for second degree felonies and huge fines.
The civil justice system, which is our side of the docket, also can exact a substantial punishment with substantial verdicts awarded.
But we have way too many drivers who seem to think they are trying to win a race at the Texas Motor Speedway.
By exceeding the speed limit, often while looking at their cell phone or being inebriated or high, they turn their vehicles into deadly weapons. The resulting collision is violent and almost guaranteed to lead to serious injuries or even deaths.
How a personal injury lawyer proves speeding to win your case
Speeding is the number one cause of wrecks. Sometimes it is obvious or the at-fault driver admits he was going too fast. But at other times, it can be difficult to prove.
Police officers rarely, if ever, personally witness a crash. When they arrive at the scene, hopefully they can determine that the other driver’s negligence caused the collision and issue a citation.
However, there is no law in Texas that prescribes speed limits. Instead, the Transportation Code merely discusses maximum speed requirements in Section 545.351. And subpart (b) weakly states the obvious: the operator shall control the speed of their vehicle as necessary to avoid a collision and to use due care. This allows a reckless driver a lot of wiggle room in court about whether their speed was reasonable.
Here is a truck from a recent crash that killed one person and seriously injured our client and several others. We worked the case immediately – the two photos below are from the scene about 100 miles from Fort Worth – and obtained the full insurance company policy limit ($100,000 with our client netting $62,500). We are now going to file suit and attempt to get additional compensation.
Other ways to determine speed
The injury attorney and accident reconstruction expert, depending on the case, can use a combination of the following:
- interviews with drivers and eyewitnesses;
- photographs of the vehicles and analysis by an expert;
- photographs of the scene, including skid marks, yaw marks, and crash debris patterns;
- dash cam and area surveillance videos;
- downloads of the vehicle event data recorders;
- speed/reaction/stopping distance calculations; and
- aerial photography
Texas needs to increase law enforcement to save lives
Most states have cracked down on speeders. We need to do more.
Most other states heavily rely on points systems and quickly suspend and revoke driver’s licenses for speeding offenses. We don’t.
Most other states have more police officers and cameras recording speed. We need more.
According to a shocking study by Wallet Hub, these are the states and the District of Columbia ranked from strictest in law enforcement for reckless and speeding drivers (Delaware) to the least strict (care to guess?).
|State||Overall Score||Reckless Penalties
|T – 3||Arizona||17.00||7||2|
|T – 3||New Mexico||17.00||7||2|
|T – 8||Illinois||14.00||16||4|
|T – 8||Virginia||14.00||25||1|
|T – 8||Alabama||14.00||7||19|
|T – 8||Washington||14.00||12||8|
|T – 13||West Virginia||12.50||5||36|
|T – 13||Maryland||12.50||25||5|
|T – 17||Wyoming||11.00||11||32|
|T – 17||Vermont||11.00||12||29|
|T – 17||Georgia||11.00||25||17|
|T – 20||District Of Columbia||10.50||34||11|
|T – 20||New York||10.50||41||5|
|T – 20||Florida||10.50||34||11|
|T – 20||Rhode Island||10.50||25||19|
|T – 24||Hawaii||10.00||25||23|
|T – 24||Alaska||10.00||16||29|
|T – 24||Louisiana||10.00||40||11|
|T – 24||Maine||10.00||16||29|
|T – 29||Missouri||8.50||41||19|
|T – 29||Tennessee||8.50||41||19|
|T – 29||Pennsylvania||8.50||45||11|
|T – 29||South Dakota||8.50||16||40|
|T – 29||Utah||8.50||25||32|
|T – 34||Indiana||8.00||41||23|
|T – 34||Connecticut||8.00||25||36|
|T – 34||Minnesota||8.00||25||36|
|T – 34||Nevada||8.00||22||40|
|T – 34||North Dakota||8.00||22||40|
|T – 39||Massachusetts||7.00||34||36|
|T – 39||New Hampshire||7.00||16||49|
|T – 39||Michigan||7.00||16||49|
|T – 39||Wisconsin||7.00||45||23|
|T – 43||Kentucky||6.50||45||26|
|T – 43||Montana||6.50||33||45|
|T – 43||Ohio||6.50||45||26|
|T – 43||South Carolina||6.50||45||26|
|T – 47||Nebraska||6.00||34||45|
|T – 47||New Jersey||6.00||34||45|
|T – 49||Oklahoma||5.50||34||48|
|T – 49||Mississippi||5.50||45||32|
Most other states heavily fine speeders. We don’t. The maximum ticket in Texas is about $300.00 but in Oregon, it is $6,250.00. Mr. Berenson related that he and his wife were traveling in Oregon years ago and were pulled over. The officer announced that the ticket was going to cost them $750.00. He nicely let them off with a warning.
Fort Worth has a good aspirational goal, but we need solid results. Fort Worth adopts Vision Zero to reduce Fort Worth car crash deaths
The above measures would help reduce Texas car accident deaths. We wanted to publicize this urgent cause. One life lost is one too many.