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Houston Personal Injury Law Blog

Houston rethinking safety after commercial vehicle accidents

Over four million people live in the Houston area. A good number of these people have to get to a job five days a week, and just about all of them have to leave the house for various reasons every day. One way the city has attempted to make traveling around the area easier is by adopting certain public transport systems, such as the MetroRail light rail system.

As anyone who has driven in the city of Houston knows, there are various places in town where the Metro system travels on the same surface streets as the motor vehicle traffic. In many cases, drivers must cross Metro tracks to turn at an intersection or to enter a parking lot. Because of this, there has been the potential for accidents between cars and Metro trains, and such crashes have indeed occurred.

Taking action quickly after a truck accident in Houston

When it comes to vehicle accidents that occur on the roadways in Houston, the most immediate thought that most people have is to seek the appropriate medical treatment. That is obviously the best idea initially, but, after that, legal questions will need to be answered. Who or what caused the accident? Who was involved in the accident? And, in the event of a truck accident involving a semi-truck, will the trucking company try to put the blame on the other driver?

Our readers should make no mistake - truck companies will move quickly when their trucks are involved in traffic accidents. The companies, and their insurance companies, may even have representatives on the scene of the crash shortly after it is reported. They will be taking photos of the accident, interviewing potential eyewitnesses, evaluating the damage to their vehicles and questioning the truck driver. For injured victims, it is important to take the same approach.

Car accidents present a danger to pedestrians

Our readers who are familiar with previous posts here are well aware of the dangers that Houston residents face whenever they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drunk driving, distracted driving and negligent commercial vehicle drivers are all a major concern for motorists. But, motorists in Texas aren't the only ones who need to be concerned about these dangers -- pedestrians are frequently in danger as well.

In fact, statistics show that in one year alone -- 2015 -- over 5,300 pedestrians nationwide were killed in collisions with motor vehicles. Over 800 bicyclists were killed in similar types of collisions that year as well. All told, the deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for a whopping 17.7 percent of traffic-related fatalities in the United States that year. The data also indicates that these incidents are on the rise.

What is different about a commercial vehicle accident?

Our readers in Houston know that car accidents are common. After all, Houston is one of the largest cities in the country, and with a large population comes more commuters and more car accidents. But, some people may not realize that an accident that involves a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle will likely have some different factors to consider beyond those at issue in the common "fender bender."

So, what is different about a commercial vehicle accident? Well, for starters, many drivers of commercial vehicles are under federal trucking regulations that simply do not apply to other drivers. For instance, truck drivers, particularly drivers of 18-wheelers, must adhere to regulations regarding the time they spend behind the wheel, breaks in between shifts and special licensing privileges. When it comes to the truck itself, there are regulations about the type of load that can be hauled and how much weight can be hauled at one time.

Distracted drivers will be a topic in special legislative session

Distracted driving continues to be one of the most prominent traffic-related issues that states throughout the country are addressing. While most states have already passed some form of legislation to address certain aspects of distracted driving, particularly texting and driving, state legislatures continue to "tweak" some provisions of their laws.

Texas is no different. According to a recent report, when it convenes for a special session, the state legislature will consider a proposed change in the law regarding distracted driving. As the recent report notes, there is already a law in place that will see a statewide ban on texting while driving go into effect this year on September 1. But, many cities throughout the state have their own regulations in place. Thus, as Governor Abbott has stated, there is a need to address these many different provisions.

Fighting misplaced assumptions after a motorcycle accident

Contrary to what many people might think, riding a motorcycle can be safer than driving a passenger vehicle. Motorcycles tend to be more maneuverable than cars, and motorcyclists don't have to worry as much about blind spots due to their greater field of peripheral vision. However, there are those who will still harbor some misplaced assumptions about people who ride motorcycles. They might think that motorcyclists are "thrill seekers," or that they are more prone to violate traffic laws. These assumptions on their own might not be a big concern to our readers, but they can be difficult assumptions to overcome in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident.

Why should victims who are injured in a motorcycle accident worry about these assumptions? Well, the primary reason is because people who harbor these thoughts might be among the neighbors and community members who could make up the jury pool if your personal injury case proceeds to a jury trial. It is hard enough to prove that the facts of the case lead to a determination of liability on the part of the other driver without also having to overcome potentially negative thoughts that the jurors may have about motorcyclists in general.

How dangerous are distracted drivers?

We all have heard about the dangers of distracted driving. With the popularity of smartphones, tablets and social media to keep today's generation seemingly glued to their devices, it comes as no surprise to many in Texas that distracted driving and subsequent serious, catastrophic and even deadly accidents have become almost an epidemic throughout the country.

According to research from the United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 distracted driving led to the deaths of nearly 3,500 Americans, 3,477 to be exact.

4 tips to avoid truck accidents over the holiday

If you are like many Texans, you have plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends and family. Whether you are going to a family cabin or heading out to watch fireworks with friends, chances are your plans will involve some travel. In fact, according to statistics, a whopping 38 million people are expected to drive over the weekend and into next week.

Considering all the miles you might be traveling, it would be wise to prepare for a safe trip. This includes taking some steps to stay safe around the massive, commercial-sized trucks that will also be out on the roads.

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