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2 Safest Ways to Travel for the Holidays

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thousands of people travel for the holidays by air, car, bus, boat and train. Sadly, not all these travelers will make it to their holiday destinations alive. The holidays are some of the most common days for fatal accidents. Drunk drivers, heavy traffic, bad weather and human errors are a few of the reasons holiday-related travel accidents occur. Before the holidays arrive this year, learn a few key tips for safer trips.

Safe Driving

You can improve your safety on the road if you pay attention to the driving task, obey traffic laws and follow speed limits. Drive defensively to help protect yourself from other drivers. Assume other drivers will break the rules and put your life at risk. Always keep your eyes on the road and watch what drivers around you are doing. Prepare to stop at a moment’s notice. Put your phone away while driving to your holiday destinations to help prevent distracted driving accidents. Speak to a Dallas distracted driving lawyer if you were involved in an accident.

Drunk driving is a significant source of catastrophic and fatal auto accidents throughout the U.S. The rate of drunk driving spikes around the holidays. In 2016, 781 people died in drunk driving accidents in December alone. Reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads this holiday season by finding a sober way home if you plan on drinking alcohol. Even if you have just one drink, it could impair you enough to affect your driving. Keep an eye out for erratic and potentially intoxicated drivers while you drive. If you think you see a drunk driver, stay a safe distance away and call 911.

As someone traveling to a new place for the holidays, research your destination and route ahead of time to better prepare for the drive. Check the weather and try to avoid driving if the forecast calls for rain, fog, sleet or snow. Leave early in the morning or late at night to avoid the bulk of holiday traffic. Only drive after a full night’s rest. If you are not used to driving overnight or long distances, do not do so. Take plenty of breaks and drive with a friend to help keep you awake. Bring your vehicle to a mechanic for professional maintenance before you embark.

Safe Flying

Statistically, you are less likely to be in a plane crash than an auto accident. If you know you will be traveling out of town for the holidays ahead of time, consider booking a flight instead of driving. You can skip traffic, get to your destination faster and reduce your risk of serious injuries. It is still important, however, to abide by certain safety tips while flying for the most positive experience.

• Pack smart. Obey the Transportation Security Administration’s rules for what to bring on your flight. Do not bring any liquids over three ounces in volume or portable chargers with lithium-ion batteries. Do not bring any weapons, gels or aerosols.

• Avoid the busiest travel days. Flying on a day that is not as busy for air travel can mean lighter traffic on the way to the airport and shorter security lines. The greatest rush around Thanksgiving is the Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday after.

• Stay sanitary. Planes can be dirty places due to the high volume of travelers. Bring hand sanitizer with you and apply it regularly to avoid germs and illnesses while flying for the holidays.

Leave early to get to the airport to give yourself plenty of time to go through security and get to your terminal. Leaving early can allow you to take your time while driving to the airport and walking through the airport. This could help you avoid car crashes as well as slip and fall accidents. It can also help you avoid missing your flight. No matter how you travel this holiday season, plan ahead and put your safety first. Stay calm and in control and you can tackle any travel challenge this holiday season. If the worst does happen, contact a personal injury attorney for assistance.

Posted by admin at 4:08 pm

Do You Need to Testify if You Witnessed an Accident?

Friday, November 22, 2019

If you are one of the first to the scene of an accident, you have certain responsibilities. Whether Texas law requires it or not, you should remain at the scene and assist those in need. You may have the power to save a life as a witness. Although you should never move an injured person unless he or she is in immediate danger, you could take other actions to help, such as calling the police. You could also lend your assistance by testifying about what you saw. To learn more about Texas accident laws consult with an expert Dallas personal injury lawyer today!

By Texas Law, What Is a Witness Required to Do?

By Texas law, a witness does not have any legal responsibilities at the scene of an accident or thereafter. No law requires witnesses to stay or render aid unless they were directly involved in the accident. If you were in an accident in Texas, you must call the police if it caused injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damage. If you only witnessed the accident, you are not legally obligated to call the police or render assistance to those injured. It could save a life, however, if you choose to remain on the scene and be a Good Samaritan.

Do not be afraid of becoming liable for someone’s injuries if you stop to help that person at the scene of an accident. Texas, like many states, has a law that protects Good Samaritans from liability for rendering good faith assistance. The Good Samaritan Law states that if you witness an accident and stop to help those involved, the accident victims cannot file claims against you, even if you unintentionally worsened their injuries or damaged their properties. It protects any witnesses, volunteer first responders and unlicensed medical personnel who act in good faith to help others at the scene of an accident.

If you witness an accident in Texas, remain at the scene and help as much as possible. Do not assume another person has already notified the police. Call 911 yourself if you see anyone with injuries or property damage that appears to exceed $1,000. Ask those involved if they need you to call an ambulance. Try to not move any injured person unless he or she is in imminent danger, such as in a burning vehicle. Moving someone the wrong way could exacerbate an injury. Instead, stay with the person and try to keep him or her calm while you wait for paramedics.

Do You Need to Testify?

Another way in which you could help accident victims is with your testimony. Testifying about what you witnessed could clear up confusion about how the accident occurred. If you remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive, they may ask you to give a recorded statement about what happened. It is up to you to give the statement or not. You can also leave your name and contact information with those involved in the accident.

While giving a statement or testimony about an accident you witnessed, stick to the facts and only answer the questions asked. Do not embellish or speculate about fault. Answer honestly and accurately. The only time the law will force you to testify as an accident witness is if you receive a subpoena to do so. A subpoena is a court order requiring the named party to testify or appear in court. If you do not receive a subpoena, you do not have to testify if you do not want to.

Can You Decline a Court Appearance?

Most car accident cases settle without requiring trials in court. Some severe or complex cases, however, may go to court to resolve. If an accident you witnessed ends up in court, one or both sides may call you in to appear as a witness. Your account of events could be a type of evidence. You may have to make a statement under oath and answer questions from one or both attorneys. Again, the only time you will have to appear in court or attend a deposition is if you receive a subpoena. Without a subpoena, it will be up to you whether or not to appear in court if asked. If you choose to go to court, prepare to answer questions from both sides about what you saw.

 

Posted by admin at 4:09 pm

How Dangerous Is Road Rage?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Road rage refers to extreme aggression behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. While it is normal for drivers to sometimes become frustrated or angry, road rage brings driver frustration to the level of violence or recklessness. A driver putting him or herself and others in danger due to serious aggression is road rage. If a road rage driver causes personal injuries, property damages or deaths, victims can seek help from a car crash and injury attorney.

Is it Against the Law?

The state of Texas does not have any legislation specifically listing road rage as a crime. However, several actions an enraged driver may take could qualify as crimes. Aggressive driving, on the other hand, is a specific moving violation in Texas. Putting other people at risk by intentionally or recklessly breaking traffic laws is the definition of aggressive driving in Texas. Road rage could lead to several different criminal charges depending on the situation.

  • Reckless driving. If a driver’s road rage causes him or her drive recklessly, the driver could be guilty of a crime under Texas Transportation Code section 545.401. This is a misdemeanor crime.
  • Assault and battery. An extremely angry driver may exit his or her vehicle to physically assault a victim. A road rage driver could be guilty of assault, battery or harassment. These could be misdemeanor or felony offenses.
  • Vehicular homicide or manslaughter. A road rage driver could be guilty of these serious crimes if he or she uses a vehicle as a weapon to take the life of another person. These are felony crimes that will lead to mandatory jail time.

A driver’s road rage itself may not be against the law in Texas, but many actions an enraged driver is likely to take could break state laws. Criminally negligent homicide, intoxication manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, aggressive driving, reckless driving, speeding, running red lights, harassment, tailgating or unsafe passing could all lead to criminal convictions or moving violations for the road rage driver.

Can Road Rage Be Harmful?

Road rage can be extremely harmful to everyone on the roadway. A driver experiencing a bout of anger may not be able to safely or prudently control his or her motor vehicle. This can lead to accidental or intentional collisions. A driver experiencing road rage could break roadway rules, speed, run red lights, ignore rights-of-way, weave between vehicles and tailgate – all dangerous behaviors that could cause car accidents. He or she could also become violent, leading to potential personal injuries from assault or battery.

Aggressive driving is a leading cause of auto accidents, according to studies. Aggressive driving can cloud a driver’s judgment or lead to intentional crimes, such as ramming one’s vehicle into another car or a pedestrian. It could also become a significant cognitive distraction, causing unintentional mistakes such as failing to notice a light changing. Road rage could be harmful to the driver and to everyone else on the road.

Is Road Rage Deadly?

Road rage has proven fatal for many victims in the past. Deadly incidents of road rage could involve catastrophic vehicle collisions or physical assaults with weapons from the angry driver. In many cases, road rage goes hand in hand with personality disorders and/or substance abuse. These combinations can lead to reckless driver behaviors that ultimately lead to fatal incidents.

You can help prevent road rage incidents by being a careful and courteous driver. Do not cut other drivers off, use hand gestures, yell at other drivers, tailgate, honk or otherwise instigate an altercation. Avoid doing things that could incite a driver’s road rage, such as driving too slowly in the fast lane. If an angry driver tries to engage with you, ignore him or her and do not make eye contact. Get out of the driver’s way and report him or her to the police if the driver appears to be a threat. Drive directly to a police station if an enraged driver appears to be following you.

Posted by admin at 8:21 pm

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