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What Is a Blue Form Accident Report?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A Blue Form Accident Report is a nickname for the standard Driver’s Crash Report in Texas (CR-2). It is a form you may see after you get into a car accident. The Blue Form Accident Report is something you may have to file with the Department of Transportation (DOT) if the police do not fill out an official CR-3 crash report on your behalf. The CR-3 is a more complete form that comes after a full crash investigation. If the police do not use this form, however, it may be up to you to submit a Blue Form instead.

What Is a “Blue Form?”

The Blue Form is Texas’ Driver’s Crash Report. After a car accident that causes personal injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages, the driver of a vehicle involved in the accident will need to call the police from the scene of the crash. However, the Blue Form is something the driver of the vehicle must complete and sign after any accident. Someone else may only complete the form for the driver with a valid reason, given in writing. The form has several parts.

  • Location of the accident
  • Date of the accident
  • Vehicles involved
  • Damage to property
  • Injuries
  • Driver’s statement of what happened
  • Signature

The driver should fill out the Blue Form as completely as possible. The driver’s statement does not require the driver to admit fault or to speculate about who caused the accident. It simply asks for the driver’s side of the story. Once completed and signed, the driver can print the report and mail it to the Texas DOT’s Crash Records Department. For assistance filling out a Blue Form, a driver can call (844) 274-7457.

What is a Blue Form Accident Report

Can I Hire an Attorney for My Case?

It is a common misconception that a Blue Form in Texas will help an insurance claim. Although it can be useful to document an accident, its main purpose is to help the DOT keep track of collisions. The CR-2 has no authority. It is not an official police report of your accident. An insurance company does not have to believe what is on the Blue Form or use it to validate your claim. Instead, an insurer will generally conduct its own investigation to determine fault for an auto accident.

If you get into a car accident that injures you, contact a Dallas car crash attorney to take care of processes such as documenting your damages and negotiating with an insurance provider for you. Hiring a lawyer can strengthen your injury case. Your attorney will know how to build your case for its best odds of successfully achieving a settlement. If an insurance company refuses to treat your claim fairly, your lawyer can take your case to trial in Texas. Hiring a lawyer can allow you to focus on healing while a legal professional handles your claim.

Should I Use a Blue Form for an Injury Case?

In most cases, the police will submit a different form, the CR-3, on behalf of crash victims. If the police fill out a CR-3, you will not need to use a Blue Form after an accident. The Blue Form is only necessary if for some reason you do not call the police or the police decide not to write up a police report. The police may tell you from the scene to fill out a CR-2 rather than giving you a police report for various reasons. You should use a Blue Form to report a car accident to the DOT even if it did not cause significant property damage, injuries or deaths.

The purpose of a Blue Form is to document your car accident for the DOT for statistical reasons. It allows involved drivers to record the details of the accident while they are still fresh in their minds. The DOT wants to know anytime a crash occurs, even if the police do not need to file a CR-3. Submitting the Blue Form to the DOT in lieu of a police report can help the department track the number and locations of accidents in the state.

Posted by admin at 4:20 pm

Is Hitting a Parked Car and Leaving the Scene a Hit-and-Run?

Friday, August 23, 2019

In the busy city of Dallas, minor collisions such as hitting a parked car happen daily. It is a driver’s legal responsibility to remain at the scene and fulfill certain obligations before leaving – even if no one was around to see the accident occur. Hitting a parked car and leaving without fulfilling these duties constitutes the crime of hit-and-run in Texas. No matter which side of a hit-and-run you were on, learn what laws may apply to your case.

Texas’ Hit-and-Run Laws

Texas Transportation Code Title 7, Section 550.001 contains the state’s main hit-and-run law, described as a driver’s duties following an accident. It states that anyone involved in a wreck with another driver or with a parked vehicle must stop as close to the scene of the collision as possible. The driver must determine if anyone involved in the crash needs medical assistance. In a crash involving a parked, unattended vehicle, a driver must remain on the scene until he or she has fulfilled the required duties under Section 550.024.

  • Taken reasonable measures to locate the owner of the vehicle
  • Left a note in a visible place with the driver’s name and address
  • Included how the accident happened
  • Left other contact information, such as a phone number
  • Given the name of the driver’s insurance company

Striking a parked car and fleeing the scene is a hit-and-run in Texas. The charge for this crime is either a Class C or Class B misdemeanor depending on the value of the damage to all vehicles. Damage exceeding $200 is a Class B misdemeanor. If the accident caused bodily injuries, the hit-and-run could be a felony crime, punishable with a jail or prison sentence and/or fines.

What To Do if You Accidentally Hit a Parked Car

Hitting a parked vehicle in Dallas is a simple mistake thousands of drivers make each year. Texas has insurance requirements for just such reason. Your insurance company should cover the damages to the other person’s vehicle. Your insurance premium may increase, but you will not face criminal charges if you remained at the scene and fulfilled your duties. You can get into much more trouble if you commit a hit-and-run. If you strike a parked car in Dallas, remain at the scene and provide the required information, either to the owner if you locate him or her or in the form of a note.

What To Do if Someone Damaged Your Parked Car and Left

If you were the victim of a parked car hit-and-run accident in Dallas, you have rights. Remain calm and document the collision. Immediately ask around for anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Record their statements using your phone, if possible. Take photographs of the vehicle damage, the location of the accident and any other visible evidence. Call the police to report the hit-and-run. Even if the damage does not look severe, the police can write an official accident report you can give your insurance company.

Texas is a traditional fault state when it comes to car accidents. If the at-fault party flees the scene without leaving information, however, you will seek damage reimbursement from your insurance company instead. Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is an optional type of coverage in Texas. Your insurance agent will tell you if you have this coverage. If so, it will pay for your damages after a hit-and-run collision. You may end up paying out of pocket, however, if you do not have this type of insurance.

Could You Sue for Hit-and-Run?

If the police catch the driver that hit your parked vehicle and ran, you will have the right to file a civil claim against the driver. A civil claim differs from a criminal one. It serves to reimburse you for your property damage repairs and other related damages, not to punish the perpetrator for a crime. You may bring your action during an ongoing hit-and-run criminal trial or you may wait until the trial ends. The Texas courts will toll your statute of limitations until the completion of a criminal case involving the hit-and-run driver. To learn more, speak to an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer about what your options are for filing an accident claim for your damages.

Posted by admin at 3:27 pm

Can You Go To Jail for Texting and Driving in Texas?

Friday, July 26, 2019

Texting is one of the most dangerous driver habits. Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road and mind off the driving task. It can also take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Someone who is texting while driving cannot dedicate 100% of his or her attention to the road. This can lead to devastating auto accidents.

In 2017, around 3,170 people in the U.S. lost their lives because of distracted drivers. In the last six years, 10% of all fatal car accidents involved at least one distracted driver. Texting and driving is a deadly trend that has contributed to hundreds of fatal accidents. Almost two years ago, Texas enacted a law prohibiting texting while driving to help reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road.

No Accident, No Jail Time

Texas’ texting while driving law places a universal ban on using a handheld electronic device to send, read or write electronic messages behind the wheel. The law covers texting as well as emails, instant messages, Facebook chats and other forms of text communication. In an interview regarding the new law, the executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, James Bass, said that distracted driving causes 20% of car accidents in the state. He also said he hopes the law will reduce collisions and save lives.

According to an existing law, drivers under the age of 18 cannot use cellphones in any way while driving, including making phone calls or texting on hands-free devices. The penalty for violating Texas’ texting and driving law is a ticket and a fine. Drivers will pay $99 for a first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense. Some cities in Texas have passed their own ordinances banning cellphone use or imposing higher fines on offenders.

A police officer can conduct a traffic stop and charge a driver for texting and driving with primary enforcement in Texas, meaning the police officer does not need another reason to stop the driver – reasonable suspicion of texting while driving is enough. A driver will not go to jail for texting and driving in Texas if the driver did not cause a car accident, injuries or deaths. However, texting while driving could lead to jail time if an accident occurs.

When Could a Driver Go to Jail for Texting While Driving?

Texas lawmakers take distracted driving accidents seriously. Causing an accident because of any form of distracted driving – including texting or another type of electronic messaging – could lead to expensive fines and/or jail time. The penalty for causing serious injury or death while texting and driving is up to $4,000 in fines against the driver. A courtroom in Texas could also sentence the at-fault driver to up to one year in county jail.

A driver could spend up to 365 days behind bars for texting while driving in Texas. A year in jail could change a person’s life. It could lead to the loss of a job and fractured relationships with friends and family members. The driver could also have a permanent criminal record for negligently or recklessly causing a serious injury or death. A criminal record could make it harder to find a job and housing. If the driver had a job operating a motor vehicle, such as a commercial driver, he or she may lose the job and/or driver’s license.

No driver should text, email or otherwise use a handheld cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. The risks are too great to be worth any message the driver may be sending. The only exceptions to Texas’ cellphone laws are during emergencies. Hands-free devices and technologies exist to help drivers avoid texting while driving. Drivers can download apps or use in-device features such as Do Not Disturb While Driving to control the urge to text. A few preventive measures could save a life.

Posted by admin at 7:54 pm

Brief History of DUI Law in the US

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Driving while intoxicated is one of the deadliest mistakes a driver can make. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol is a serious act of recklessness that is against the law in all 50 states. In 2017, 1,024 people died in motor vehicle accidents involving drunk driving in Texas. DUI laws have evolved over the years, starting in New York in 1910. Arrests for driving drunk, however, began before the first laws specifically prohibited DUI.

1897: First Arrest for Driving Drunk

On November 24th, 1897, a man named George Smith became the first-ever driver police arrested for driving drunk. Smith was a 25-year-old taxi driver living in London who smashed his taxicab into a building while under the influence of alcohol. Smith pled guilty to the charge and had to pay 25 shillings as his punishment. Thus, the first-ever DUI arrest set the stage for thousands like it over the next 100 years.

1910: First Official DUI Laws

New York was the very first state to enact official laws banning drunk driving in 1910. This was the year state lawmakers passed legislation that made it illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Law enforcement did not have tests to prove drunk driving until years later. Instead, they used their best judgment to determine a driver’s drunkenness. California became the second state to pass DUI laws, leading to several other states enacting similar legislation. Early state laws lacked specific language defining drunk driving, however.

1936: First Breath Test

It was not until 1936 that a scientist named Dr. Rolla Harger created a device to effectively test for inebriation. His invention – aptly named the Drunkometer – came after several years of growing national concern regarding drunk driving. In the early 1930s, the American Medical Association and the National Safety Council funded research into the most common causes of car accidents. Their research helped promote safer vehicle operation. It also shaped what would become the first more specific DUI laws.

 

The Drunkometer opened the doors to DUI testing and more accuracy for arrests. Dr. Harger’s device had a type of balloon attached to it that drivers would breathe into, similar to today’s Breathalyzer tests. The Drunkometer used the breath to accurately measure how much alcohol content was in the driver’s blood. The advent of the Drunkometer, on top of safety panels by national organizations, led to the official suggestion of 0.15 as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that proved a driver was drunk – almost twice what the legal amount is today.

1953: First Breathalyzer Test

In 1953, the Breathalyzer came into existence thanks to a professor and police captain named Robert Borkenstein. Borkenstein had worked with Dr. Rolla Harger on creating the early breath test device, the Drunkometer, and created the Breathalyzer to streamline and improve the process. He created the easier-to-use Breathalyzer test that became the first scientific measure available to police officers.

1970s-1980s: Stricter DUI Laws

In the 1970s and ‘80s, many state lawmakers changed their laws to reflect increasing knowledge on the dangers of drunk driving. Special groups formed to fight for stricter DUI laws, often after fatal accidents took the lives of loved ones. One such group was Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), founded by mother Candy Lightner in California after the DUI-related death of her 13-year-old daughter. Groups like MADD were – and still are – instrumental in influencing lawmakers to pass stricter DUI laws.

1990 to Present: Continuing the Fight Against Drunk Driving

The legal limit for DUI is now 0.08 in all 50 states. Most states have also passed Zero Tolerance laws on drunk drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, plus stricter 0.04 BAC limits for commercial drivers. The laws regarding how lawmakers enforce and punish DUIs vary from state to state. Unfortunately, drunk driving is still a considerable issue that takes thousands of lives every year. The fight against drunk drivers is constant.

Posted by admin at 7:50 pm

Is Today’s Technology Reducing Distracted Driving?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Modern technology has been the main contributor to distracted driving accidents. Cellphone use, for example, causes many of the distracted driving accidents that take thousands of lives each year. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported almost 3,200 lives lost in distracted driving accidents. Yet just as technology contributes to distracted driving, it could also be the solution. Innovations may have the power to reduce distracted driving and its related dangers.

Collision Prevention Technologies

Buying a vehicle new in 2019 almost always means it will come with some automated driving technologies. Advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, warnings of potential forward collisions, lane-keeping assist and lane-departure warnings have worked to prevent thousands of car accidents so far. High-tech safety features can automatically send a signal to drivers who appear to be dozing off or driving distracted – bringing their attention back to the driving task.

Collision prevention technologies can send audible, visual and/or tactile warnings to let drivers know they need to pay more attention to the road. If a driver drifts into a different lane, for example, the vehicle can automatically sense the lane departure, correct it to prevent a collision and send a signal to alert the driver to the danger. The signal may include text within the vehicle’s dashboard that advises the driver to pull over and take a break. The alert could be enough to tell the driver to pay more attention to the road.

Cell Phone Blocking Technology

Technological solutions to distracted driving may not only exist within vehicle features. Many cellphone companies, cellphone manufacturers and app developers have also come up with ways to diminish distracted driving. Most cellphones now have Do Not Disturb modes owners can set to automatically turn on when the phone detects the person is driving. Apple’s latest update, for example, has a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode that will block text messages and phone calls while the vehicle is in motion. It can also automatically send a reply that explains you are driving to the person trying to contact you. If you connect the phone to a hands-free Bluetooth system, it will allow phone calls to go through.

Parents of teens may want to go a step further by purchasing technology that could help control distracted driving. CellControl DriveID, for example, attaches to the windshield and monitors a driver’s actions. Parents can then download software onto their phones to control what actions the driver may perform on his or her phone. The device will intercept phone calls and text messages while the vehicle is moving, for example. More advanced technologies can also block other potential sources of driver distraction, such as emails and audio features.

The Advent of Driverless Cars

Vehicle automation technologies are growing more advanced by the year. Many major manufacturing companies – including Tesla and Ford – have promised self-driving vehicles by 2020. Fully automated safety features by 2025 or sooner could mean vehicles that need little or no input from human drivers to get to their destinations. Fully automated vehicles will be able to perform all the essential operative functions of a car without driver input, in all driving conditions. They will be able to stop, go, turn, and safely keep within a lane. Drivers may or may not have the option to control driverless vehicles.

Completely driverless vehicles may not be on the market yet, but sophisticated technologies have already created vehicles that operate with high automation. They can perform all or most driving functions, usually with a human operator overseeing operations. Road tests are already underway for many of the first driverless vehicle models. Automated vehicle technologies may make distracted driving a thing of the past. Human error will not be a problem when technology controls how and where a vehicle drives.

Posted by admin at 7:47 pm

Rear-End Accidents: Is the Car Behind Always At Fault?

Monday, July 22, 2019

A rear-end collision is a common type of accident in Dallas. It happens often in slow-moving traffic when drivers fail to notice stopped vehicles in time to prevent collisions. Even a minor rear-end collision could cause serious and painful personal injuries, such as whiplash. Most drivers believe the rear driver is always at fault for a rear-end accident. Automatic fault, however, does not exist in rear-end car accidents in Texas. Instead, an investigation may be necessary to assign fault, as is the case after other types of car accidents.

Rules of Distance on Texas Roadways

The Texas Transportation Code’s Rules of the Road (section 545.001) lists regulations drivers must follow when operating vehicles in the state. One such rule is how much distance all drivers must reasonably keep between their vehicles and others. The accepted standard is a distance of at least one car’s length between each vehicle. Drivers should leave at least two to three seconds of open space between the fronts of their vehicles and the backs of others.

A driver in Texas could receive a traffic ticket for following too closely. It is most common to receive a ticket for this offense in the aftermath of a collision. The police could cite a driver for following too closely if this negligent behavior caused or contributed to the rear-end collision. In this case, the car behind would be responsible for causing the crash. Not all rear-end accidents, however, come down to the fault of the rear driver.

If passing, a driver must leave enough space between vehicles to safely occupy the destination lane. An unsafe lane change could result in a rear-end collision in two ways: the merging driver colliding with the back of a stopped vehicle or the merging car slamming on the brakes and causing the car behind to collide with its rear end. In both of these examples, the driver that made the unsafe lane change could be at fault for the accident – even if it was not the rear driver. Failing to give the rear vehicle enough time and space to hit the brakes could lead to responsibility for a rear-end accident.

Determining Fault for a Rear-End Collision

Fault may not be easy to assign in a rear-end accident case. The rear driver may dispute fault by alleging that the front driver or another factor caused the collision. Proving fault for any type of car accident may take an official investigation. The police can investigate the crash by analyzing the location and conditions of both vehicles, as well as taking measures such as interviewing people who witnessed the accident.

The car behind may be liable for the collision if its driver was guilty of negligence or recklessness that caused the crash. Common examples include distracted driving, drowsy driving, drunk driving and speeding. Someone who is texting and driving may not notice the vehicle in front has come to a stop. A speeding driver may be moving too fast for conditions, making it impossible to stop in time to avoid a collision.

The car in front could be responsible if the driver committed an unsafe lane change, cut another driver off, slammed on the brakes or contributed to the crash by failing to replace broken brake lights. Proving the front driver’s negligence may take a police report or a deeper investigation, such as a re-creation of the accident by crash experts. If you need to prove someone else’s fault for a rear-end accident in Dallas, hiring a car accident lawyer may be the best option.

A lawyer will have the resources to investigate your accident and assign fault to the correct driver. If you believe you did not cause the accident, especially as the rear driver, a factor you are not aware of might have contributed. Defective brakes, for example, may have prevented your vehicle from stopping as it should have. You or your lawyer will have to prove the other driver’s fault to claim damages under that driver’s insurance policy. 

Posted by admin at 6:42 pm

Can You Go To Jail For Driving Without Insurance in Texas?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Purchasing automobile insurance is one of your legal duties as a driver in Texas. Everyone who operates a motor vehicle must buy and maintain adequate insurance to stay on the right side of the law. Driving without insurance is a crime in Texas. If the police catch you operating a vehicle without enough insurance, you could face a range of penalties. Jail time, however, is not one of them.

Texas Insurance Requirements

All 50 states have laws requiring drivers to carry certain types and levels of car insurance. Like the majority of states, Texas follows a fault-based car insurance system. All drivers must carry insurance to cover damages if they cause car accidents. The at-fault party’s insurance policy will pay for medical bills, property damage repairs and other losses after a collision. For this reason, all drivers must carry at least the minimum required amounts of insurance.

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability per individual. Pays for medical bills for one person in an accident.
  • $60,000 for bodily injury liability per accident. Pays for the medical bills of all involved parties in an accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage liability. Pays for up to $25,000 in vehicle repairs after a collision.

If you do not own your vehicle outright, your lease or loan provider may require collision and comprehensive coverage as well. These are additional types of insurance that can cover your damages for any reason – even if you caused the accident or if an act of God damaged your property. You may purchase optional types of insurance for additional coverage at any time in Texas.

What Is Proof of Insurance?

As a driver, you must maintain at least the minimum required amounts of auto insurance at all times to obey Texas’ laws. You must also carry proof of insurance in your vehicle or on your person when you drive. Keeping a copy of your insurance card in your glove compartment, wallet or an electronic version on your phone can fulfill this requirement.

An officer will have the right to request to see proof of auto insurance during a traffic stop or after a car accident. You will also need to show proof to the Department of Motor Vehicles before you can register your vehicle, renew the registration, get your driver’s license or undergo a vehicle inspection.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

If you have insurance but failed to have proof with you during a traffic stop, you could receive a ticket and a fine. If a police officer discovers that you do not have insurance at all – or that the insurance you have does not meet Texas’ required minimums – you could face more serious penalties. Going to jail, however, is not a penalty you could face for driving uninsured.

  • Citation and fines. A traffic ticket for driving without insurance can cost between $175 and $350 to resolve as a first-time offender. You will also have to pay an additional $250 each year for three years as an annual driver’s license fee. This increases the total costs to $925 to $1,100.
  • Additional fines. You could pay a fine between $350 and $1,000 (plus the annual $250) for a second or subsequent offense.
  • License revocation. If you continue to drive without insurance, becoming a repeat offender could result in license revocation and vehicle impoundment.

You cannot go to jail for driving without insurance in Texas. Should you cause a car accident while uninsured, however, you could end up personally liable for the other party’s damages. A lawsuit against you could force you to pay for the victim’s vehicle repairs and medical expenses out of pocket. It is up to you as a driver in Texas to purchase the correct types of insurance and to maintain it at all times if you wish to avoid penalties. 

Posted by admin at 6:33 pm

7 Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Dallas

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Serious car accidents involve a wide range of physical and emotional consequences. In some cases, injuries caused by an accident results in a fatality. In fact, car accidents cause roughly 1.25 million deaths every year. With so many car accidents being avoidable in nature, this figure is preposterous. Fatal car accidents do not just impact the driver involved – they impact the driver’s friends and family, too. It is crucial to understand how to prevent unnecessary fatality, but to do this, we must first look at what causes fatal car accidents.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents overall. Distracted drivers remove their focus from the roadway, resulting in easily preventable accidents caused by the driver not being completely aware of road conditions. Different forms of distracted driving that commonly cause accidents include:

  1. Road rage – Road rage is not the first immediate response when considering what causes car accident fatality. However, road rage is a huge distraction for some that habitually choose to focus on their anger versus their driving. Angry drivers tend to operate their vehicle more recklessly than calm drivers. For instance, angry drivers tailgate, brake check, and even speed to prove a point or make the other drivers angry. This can cause brutal, albeit unintentional accidents.
  2. Texting – Texting and driving remains a dangerous issue. Texting not only means the driver’s hands are not both on the wheel – it also means that the driver must read text. Though this is an obvious aspect of texting and driving, it is the big cause of accidents in these cases. Reading takes focus and brain power that a driver should be using to operate their vehicle. Moreover, the reaction time it takes for a driver to look up from their phone is significant when trying to avoid a collision.
  3. Using the phone – Though hands-free technology has helped drivers prevent accidents, many drivers still manipulate their phone for various reasons during transit. Using the phone for directions, to make calls, and to play music are all seemingly harmless, but in reality, this can be extremely dangerous.
  4. Drunk driving – Drunk driving is dangerous because it involves the ultimate form of distraction – impairment. Drunk driving reduces your reaction time, reduces your ability to detect changes on the roadway, and prevents you from properly discriminating different traffic and driver-related contexts. For instance, a drunk driver might hear cars honking without realizing that they are the driver that is holding up traffic. Drunk driving causes fatal accidents because drunk drivers are altogether unpredictable, some even passing out at the wheel.

Traffic violations

Basic traffic violations can cause serious injury in the right (or wrong) context.

  1. Speeding – Speeding creates a speed differential between you and other cars. The bigger the difference, the more severe the impact is. Speeding is fatal to both parties involved in an accident.
  2. Not wearing a seatbelt – Even if your trip is short, wearing a seatbelt can prevent death in car accidents. Without a seatbelt, a passenger could eject from the car, become pinned between crushed car pieces, or severely hit their head on the windshield, causing brain/head damage. Seatbelts are mandatory for good reason.
  3. Running red lights or stop signs – This form of negligence can be fatal for the same reason that speeding is fatal. When cruising through an intersection at a high speed to beat the light, you can cause a fatal collision that injures other cars that are just beginning to accelerate. This difference in speed is fatal for car T-boned in the middle of an intersection.

Accident-caused fatalities are often preventable, making their prevalence altogether unnecessary. Play your part in keeping Dallas’ roadways safe by maintaining focus and operating your vehicle safely.

Posted by admin at 9:42 pm

Updated (2019): What Are the Motorcycle Laws Every Texan Should Know?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Motorcycles are more than just a mode of transportation – they are a hobby and pastime for many Texans. Although motorcycles are a fun way to get around and enjoy pleasant weather on the road, it’s vital for Texans to understand state motorcycle laws. Knowing these laws not only keeps riders safer on the road, but also helps ensure riders are compliant and needn’t worry about fines or legal problems due to parking or mechanical issues.

Motorcycles must have the same basic mechanical features as other motor vehicles – brakes, reflectors, head and taillights, and the other typical parts of a vehicle. Just like passenger cars, motorcycles must be registered and riders must obtain the proper motorcycle license. Some states place restrictions on exhaust and muffler decibels for sound concerns, but Texas has no such laws.

LICENSE

If you are a motorcyclist, then you should know that motorcycle drivers have their own class of driver’s licenses, a class M. All motorcycle riders must have a valid class M license in the state of Texas. This class also includes mopeds. To obtain your class M license you must report to the Department of Public Safety and take a motorcycle safety class, followed by a written test and driving test, all capable of being waived for poor performance.

REGISTRATION

Any vehicle, including motorcycles and mopeds, that drive on Texas public roadways, must be registered through the County Tax-Assessor Collector in their county. After being registered, the motorcycle or moped must have a valid and visible registration sticker attached to their license plate.

INSPECTION

All vehicles including motorcycles in the state of Texas must receive a yearly inspection at an Official Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. If your motorcycle passes, the certificate of completion must be placed near the rear license plate. This certificate is valid for one year from the month of inspection.

INSURANCE

Motorcycles must show proof of insurance when registering, during inspection, or when obtaining a Texas Official Driver License.

PARKING

Just like passenger cars, motorcycle riders may only park their bikes in disabled parking spaces if they have the proper authorization and affix a disabled license plate or windshield placard to the bike. Additionally, a disabled license plate or windshield placard may not be given or lent to other motorists.

Some motorcycle riders believe that because their bikes are smaller than typical passenger cars, they may park in the striped areas near handicap parking spaces or other similar “Do Not Stop” areas of pavement. This is against the law. Motorcycles may not be parked on sidewalks, either.

HELMET LAW

In Texas, helmets are required for any rider under the age of 21. Riders over the age of 21 may forego wearing a helmet if they obtain the proper certification or insurance coverage. Such riders must either complete a Department of Motor Vehicles-approved Motorcycle Operating Training Course or obtain at least $10,000 in medical insurance. As with automobile insurance, these riders must keep a copy of their medical insurance card on their person while riding or stowed in the bike. However, Texas police are not permitted to stop or detain any rider solely to determine whether the rider has completed a training course or possesses medical insurance coverage.

Although the decision to wear a helmet is at the rider’s discretion if over the age of 21, helmets have been proven to save lives. Consider wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding.

PASSENGERS

In Texas, no one under the age of five years may ride as a passenger on a motorcycle. Any passengers over the age of five and under 21 years old must wear a helmet. Passengers over the age of 21 may opt to ride without a helmet if the driver has the met the proper requirements. Additionally, the motorcycle must have a permanent passenger seat.

LANE SPLITTING

Many motorcyclists engage in a practice known as “lane splitting,” which is when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles by traversing between lanes of traffic. Some decry this practice as dangerous, and it can be in certain situations – specifically, when riders are splitting a lane with a larger vehicle or at high speeds. Texas does not prohibit lane splitting, but if you choose to split a lane with another motorcyclist, do so safely and at a reasonable speed.

Motorcycles are fantastic fun, but they are also inherently more dangerous than other motor vehicles because riders are almost entirely exposed. Passenger cars shield their drivers much more effectively than motorcycles. Therefore, if you ride a motorcycle in Texas, exercise more caution on the road than you might when driving a regular motor vehicle. Following the rules of the road and keeping these Texas laws in mind will reduce your risk of serious injury.

OTHER HEADWEAR/ EYEWEAR

A motorcycle windshield alone is not enough protection. Sunglasses with shatterproof lenses protect the eyes, but do not prevent your eyes from watering. Motorcycle riders are advised to wear goggles that both protect the eyes and block the wind. Proper motorcycle eyewear should be shatterproof, securely fashioned, optically clear, resist impact and penetration, and not block peripheral vision.

Another protective measure for motorcyclists are face shields. Research indicates that motorcycle riders that wear face shields suffer less facial injuries, even from rocks or insects hitting the face. A face shield should be securely fashioned to the helmet, free of scratches, and resist impact and penetration.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Protection while riding a motorcycle does not stop with simply a helmet. Fully protective clothing can make all the difference when faced with motorcycle injuries, but also protects the driver from everyday risks of driving a motorcycle. Protective clothing can block out sunburn, windburn, rain, dehydration, cold, parts of the motorcycle, and provide visibility and comfort.

  • Low-heeled footwear should cover the ankle with no dangling laces or rings. Footwear can provide a good grip on the road and on foot pegs.
  • Gloves should protect the hands from cuts and bruises, blisters, cold, wind, and provide better grip for control.
  • Bright-colored clothes should fit comfortable witching binding and can resist abrasions as well as increase visibility to other drivers.
  • Rain suits are recommended for rainy weather.

EQUIPMENT

In Texas, a motorcycle must have all of following equipment to be legal and drivable.

  • Vehicle Identification Number
  • License plate lamp
  • Headlamp
  • An exhaust system
  • Wheel assembly
  • Tail lamp
  • Stop lamp
  • Horn
  • Mirror
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Rear red reflector

MOTORCYCLE INJURIES

Whether or not you know the rules of the road as a motorcyclist can make all the difference in motorcycle injuries. Motorcycle riders consider the fun and thrill of riding a motorcycle, but quickly forget the increased risk of injury and death. Wearing the right protective gear, following the rules of the road, and ensuring that all parts of your motorcycle are legally functioning help prevent injury, but due to their size and lack of outer protection, motorcycles are simply a greater risk. In the event of a motorcycle injury you want an attorney who is experienced in motorcycle cases. These cases require the knowledge and sensitivity that a Texas lawyer can provide.

 

Posted by admin at 11:50 pm

What Is the Punishment for Failing to Yield in Texas?

Monday, May 20, 2019

States have the assumed right to mandate some of their own specific traffic laws. Most states agree on the most common ones, but penalties can also differ. Yielding is a common gray area in several states, and for most drivers. Yielding also refers to right of way and uses the basic principles of logic, courtesy, and safety. These basic principles are difficult to follow during midday traffic and on congested highways. Instead, drivers rely on assertiveness to get where they need to be. Assertiveness risks a ticket or worse, an auto collision. Texas has failure to yield laws in place with the intent to reduce these risks.

Texas Yield Laws

As soon as a driver is allowed their license, common yield sites and rules are explained. For example, if you are at a green light turning left, you are required to yield to oncoming traffic going straight. This means permitting other traffic to go first. Texas Transportation Code 545.153 specifically applies to entering a stop or yield intersection.

  • Section 544.003 states that preferential right-of-way at an intersection is indicated by a stop sign or yield sign.
  • Section 544.010 defies that unless otherwise directed by a police officer or traffic controlled device, drivers will yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that has entered the intersection from another highway or that is closely approaching making it an immediate hazard to the operator’s movement in or across the intersection.
  • If a yield sign is present drivers must slow to a reasonable speed and yield to a vehicle that has entered the vehicle from another highway or that is approaching so closely as to become a hazard.
  • If a driver is required to yield and is involved in a collision with a vehicle in an intersection after the driver drove past a yield sign without stopping, the collision is considered evidence that the driver failed to yield the right-of-way.

If under any of these circumstances, a collision does not occur, a police office may still write the driver a ticket when failing to yield as required to do so. Penalties will also be charged when the driver’s failure to lead is the direct cause of a traffic collision.

Penalties for Failure to Lead

For your safety and the safety of others, it is important to follow yielding laws and requirements. Your legal record is also cause for concern. If declared under trial that you are responsible for the offense, failure to yield in Texas is punishable by fines, points on your license, and could affect your insurance rate.

  • The offense is punishable by fines no less than $500 and up to $2,000, if the other driver received bodily injury.
  • The offense is punishable by fines no less than $1,000 and up to $4,000, if the other driver received a serious bodily injury.

Depending on the offense, you may also receive points on your license and your insurance company could choose to increase your rates. If you feel you are not responsible, or failure to lead was not broken, a lawyer can help you defend your case.

Why You Need Legal Help

Failure to lead can be a serious moving violation, but yielding by nature can be considered a complex area to define. An experienced Dallas accident attorney could help you support possible defenses such as, the police officer record of events was incorrect, the other driver’s record of events was incorrect, or you did in fact have the right of way. With serious fines and increased insurance rates applicable, having a lawyer to defend your case can decrease lifelong consequences. Contact a Texas traffic attorney today.

Posted by admin at 3:44 pm