Texas Traffic Is Down… But Our Roads Remain Dangerous & Deadly. Why?

Texas Traffic Is Down… But Our Roads Remain Dangerous & Deadly. Why?

In recent months, Houston, Austin, and the DFW areas have all seen a decline in traffic. 

With many of us self-isolating, ordering in, and skipping our commutes as we work from home, driving during a pandemic is an avoidable activity. Some car insurance companies are even offering refunds or discounted premiums during this time.

So why have Texas road fatality statistics stayed practically the same?

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the numbers and the possible reasons behind them.

The death toll for Texas car accidents is one we are all too familiar within our industry. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation’s #EndTheStreak campaign exists to combat a grim fact: there has not been a death-free day on Texas roads since November 2000

On average, ten people die in car crashes every day in Texas. (Results are slightly skewed as well: some victims survive the crash but die in the hospital days later from their injuries.)

Ever since coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders took effect, Texas traffic has decreased by approximately 50%. But between January 1st and April 15th, 2020, the number of car crashes only dropped between 11% – 15% compared to the same time period in 2019 in the Austin, Dallas Fort Worth, and Houston metros, according to recent data analysis conducted by Community Impact Newspaper

For example, here in Houston, Harris County alone had 32,096 car crashes between January 1st and April 15th of this year. During the same time period last year, there were 36,816 car crashes. That’s only a 13% percent drop. 

Why doesn’t the large drop in traffic correspond to an equally significant drop in accidents?

It all boils down to our behavior. Sure, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) encourages all drivers to wear seatbelts and obey speed limits, but is this enough?  

Each year, the causes of tens of thousands of accidents are classified simply as “driver inattention.” Many preventable errors like swerving, weaving, drifting out of lanes, and tailgating are all found to be factors contributing to traffic deaths in Texas.

Plus, we’ve got a lot on our minds these days. We are more prone to distraction. We are more tempted to check that new text message that just dinged on our phone, thinking it could be a family member in crisis. 

Some drivers might not have been behind the wheel at all during these last several weeks – especially if a different family member had been appointed to go on grocery runs. Joking aside, we might actually be forgetting how to drive! Getting reacclimated can be difficult, especially at a time like this when many of our minds and bodies are already in a panicked state. 

We might even be feeling a little emboldened. The lack of other cars on the road might have some of us thinking “anything goes,” but now is not the time to go on a midnight joyride or do donuts in that Costco parking lot… no matter how much you need to blow off some steam.

 

Defensive driving and road safety tips apply now more than ever. Below are some rules and recommendations everyone should brush up on before they buckle up:

Always use your blinkers

when passing and turning, even if you think no one is behind you. If you’re about to pass an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road, Texas state law requires you to move over one lane or reduce your speed to 20MPH below the posted speed limit.

Come to a complete stop and look both ways

before entering intersections. Be on the lookout for bicycles and motorcycles.

Leave plenty of space

Social distancing recommends keeping six feet apart from others on foot, but remember to give all vehicles – especially large trucks – some breathing room, too! Every vehicle has blind spots, and lingering in them could be deadly. 

Road construction has not stopped

At any given time, there are as many as 3,000 active work zones in Texas. Exercise an extra dose of caution and slow down when passing road work crews and construction zones. Be aware of blocked-off roads or redirected lanes and detours.

Don’t text and drive

This one’s common sense. Texting and driving is illegal in Texas. A first offense is punishable by a fine of up to $99, and any subsequent offense carries a fine of up to $200.

Don’t drink and drive

You might not think this one applies, what with bars in Texas remaining closed until further notice and many of us snuggling up with our wine bottles at home. But in case of an emergency that requires you to go elsewhere, always have a designated driver.

Don’t drive if you’re tired

Everyone’s sleep schedules are unbalanced these days, with one day blurring into the next in quarantine. Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re feeling sleepy. You could become another statistic. In 2018, nearly 10,000 Texas car accidents were attributed to drivers being either fatigued or asleep.

Have an errand? Don’t make it a family affair

Fewer passengers means fewer distractions… and fewer risks for fatalities. If your family needs to stock up on household essentials or pick up a takeout order, send one driver – not the whole brood – to handle these errands. This also minimizes your risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

Don’t get stranded

The sad truth is, current precautions and social distancing measures mean people are now less likely to stop and help you if you’re stranded on the side of the road. If you have to go out, expect the unexpected. Make sure you are equipped with a full tank of gas, spare tire, jumper cables, and the knowledge to use them. You can also go all-out and put together a complete roadside emergency kit.

“Should I travel during the coronavirus disease outbreak? What travel precautions should I take during the coronavirus disease outbreak?”

With over 25,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Texas and over 660 deaths, we’re not out of the woods yet.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend those crossing state lines should remain quarantined for 14 days after arriving at their destination. Air travel and cruises put you at far higher risk than driving. Put simply, nonessential travel should be avoided.

What next?

On Monday, April 27th Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his plans to allow businesses to reopen at limited capacity. This news means more drivers will be back on the road… but the streak of daily Texas car accident deaths is one norm we don’t want to return to.

In short: it is every Texas driver’s responsibility to make better decisions. Look out for your fellow Texan.

TxDOT says it best: “Be safe. Drive smart.

Hurt in a Texas car accident? Help is here.

If you were injured in a car accident, our Houston car accident lawyers are here for you.

Getting into a car accident now is even more stressful than usual. Bills are piling up, you may not have health insurance or steady income, and you may not know how to pay for medical care. 

We understand, and we’re here to help. 

Call us now at 713.804.7675 or submit your questions here for a free consultation. Get informed about your options. You might not know about all the compensation you’re entitled to, but it’s our job to!

What to Do After A Fender Bender

What to Do After A Fender Bender

4 Steps to Follow When You Get in a Fender Bender

Don’t surrender or lose your temper when a fender bender has rendered you injured!

…Did we lose you already with that tongue-twister? No? Great! Because we have some vital information that could help you.

Car accidents, no matter how minor, leave you feeling shook. With all the stress and shock swirling around in your head, it’s hard to know exactly what to do after a fender bender. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports over 6 million traffic accidents each year in the United States, with 40% of them involving rear-end collisions. In fact, the National Safety Commission estimates that a rear-end collision happens every eight seconds. With stats like that, everyone is bound to get in a fender bender eventually.

What is a fender bender? Fender benders commonly occur in intersections, parking lots, or even drive-thrus. These mishaps usually involve being rear-ended and warping the bumper, fender, or frame of your car, hence the name. But don’t let that cute name fool you. Fender benders can seem unimportant compared to the more tragic car accidents you may see on the highway, but they’re not just an inconvenience that makes you run a little late for work. 

They can have hidden complications and serious consequences for both your body and your vehicle.

Below you’ll find important info related to these risks, plus recommendations on what to do in a fender bender.

 

1. Determine Liability

Determining liability means figuring out who to blame for a car accident and why they were legally at fault.

The person who hit you is probably eager to dodge hefty insurance rates, which go up after an accident. They may try to offer you cash in exchange for agreeing not to file a claim against them.

We all want to see the best in people, but let’s be real: it’s not wise to trust a total stranger who just hit your car. You should always call the police. You should always exchange insurance information, and use your phone to snap pictures of their license plate, license, and the damages.

If you are in a fender bender with a commercial vehicle, the company that owns the vehicle may be responsible for your damages.

Additionally, rideshare companies often have insurance, so if you’re in a fender bender with an Uber or a Lyft, you can seek compensation.

If the other driver fled the scene or you cannot get in touch with them, there’s still help available. Consult a car accident attorney to learn about your options. 

Don’t let someone else’s carelessness leave you in pain after a car accident.

2. Get Checked for Physical Injuries

Even if you walk away from the scene of the accident feeling fine, you need to be evaluated by a doctor. Aches and pains might take days to appear, but they could follow you for the rest of your life if they’re not treated properly and promptly. 

Common injuries after a fender bender include:

  • Wrist or arm injury: When your hands are on your steering wheel – where they should be! – your wrists and arms absorb a lot of the impact of a fender bender. Wrist and arm injuries may need surgery or physical therapy and may prevent you from returning to work or doing the things you love. 
  • Airbag injury: If your airbags deploy, they may end up harming you in their attempt to protect you. Sometimes the force of an airbag can even break bones!
  • Brain injury: Traumatic brain injuries can happen in the blink of an eye, but their impact on your life can be devastating. Severe cases of whiplash can actually cause your brain to hit the interior of your skull. You may also hit your head on your steering wheel or dashboard.
  • Back injury: The impact of a car accident can cause your spine to compress or misalign, which can get severely painful. You may even be left temporarily bedridden. 
  • Soft tissue injury: Sometimes called “whiplash,” these are the most common injuries in fender benders. They’re also more serious than you think. Many soft tissue injuries require medical attention, physical therapy, and visits to a chiropractor to alleviate the pain. 

The good news is that rear-end settlements can be substantial, especially when injuries are involved.

3. Evaluate Property Damage

When you get into a minor accident, you might think you can skip the auto shop. You may assume your accident will be labeled “low impact,” or the damage to your car can be dismissed as “cosmetic” or “superficial.”

However, serious vehicle damage could result from a fender bender – meaning you could be stuck in serious trouble.

Just like how you could underestimate your physical damage after an accident, you may think you only have a scratched bumper or cracked taillight when you actually have a car with alignment issues, frame damage, or axle problems that could cost thousands to fix

If someone backed into the front of your car, you likely have damage to your grille. (Grille damage accounts for more than 20% of all auto accident damage.) Control arm bushings or joints could also be damaged. 

Delicate electrical components are often knocked out of whack in fender benders too, causing problems with your wiring or battery. You could also face damage to your trunk or trunk latch or issues with your transmission or suspension.

Alignment problems can cause uneven tire tread wear, requiring a costly set of replacements. Your axis caster angle or tire camber could be thrown off. If you’re car-savvy enough to know what this means and how to fix it, good for you. But many drivers aren’t so lucky – and the person who hit them could be miles down the road before they notice the true extent of the damages.

Underlying issues like these not only cost you money, they put you and your passengers in danger. With so many potential hidden concerns, you can’t know for sure until you get your car checked out by a professional.

When it comes to car trouble, prevention is the cure. A tiny bit of damage can snowball into a major complication if you don’t catch it in time.

Insurance companies also have time limits for reporting accidents. Err on the side of caution and call in your claim as soon as the fender bender happens, because, by the time the body shop gives you an estimate for your repairs, it may be too late to file your insurance claim.

Don’t gamble with your life. 

Have your car – and yourself! – thoroughly checked out after a fender bender. (By a mechanic and a doctor, respectively. Unless you’re a cyborg. Then you just need the one.)

If you’re worried about paying for these services or feeling overwhelmed by the complicated process of filing an insurance claim, we can help. In fact, many collision repair shops work directly with lawyers and insurance companies. Which brings us to our next step… 

4. Consult A Car Accident Attorney

Many people hesitate to get a lawyer involved in their case, but remember: just because you have a meeting with a car accident lawyer doesn’t mean you have to hire one! Many car accident attorneys offer 100% free case evaluations. The advice they provide can be crucial. You might not know all of your options, but it’s their job to!

Know your rights and make an informed decision about your next steps.

Contact one of our car accident attorneys today to receive expert legal counsel about your fender bender, absolutely free.

After a Car Accident: Why You Should Call Police & How to Request a Police Accident Report in Houston

After a Car Accident: Why You Should Call Police & How to Request a Police Accident Report in Houston

When a car accident happens, chaos follows. 

You’re in pain. Your property is damaged or lost. You feel frozen and afraid of making the wrong choice. 

We understand. We’ve helped thousands of people through this, and now we’re making it our mission to help you.

When it comes to what to do after a car accident, calling the police is a smart move. For starters, officers can help you and other victims get medical care while directing traffic flow and preventing more crashes. Police reports can also be essential when it comes to:

  • Investigating the accident
  • Collecting witness statements
  • Gathering evidence at the scene
  • Figuring out who is at fault for the crash

A police report can support your statements in an insurance negotiation or in court. If you have questions about your rights and a potential car accident claim, contact our Houston car accident attorneys for free answers and professional advice. In addition to being beneficial, we should remind you that calling the police is sometimes required.

Texas Law: When Am I Required to Report a Car Accident?

Drivers in Texas are required by state law[1] to call police and report a car accident whenever a crash results in:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • Damaged vehicles that cannot be driven away from the scene

Failing to report these car accidents to police can land you in deep trouble, including fines and criminal charges. 

Even if no one is hurt, things can get messy. There are other circumstances where summoning police can protect you and your rights after an accident. For example:

  • You suspect another driver may be intoxicated.
  • Another involved driver has fled the scene of the accident.
  • Another involved driver has no insurance or no license.
  • Any other involved party is threatening you or harassing you.

Top 4 Reasons to Call Police After a Car Accident in Houston

When police respond to a car accident in Houston, they do a lot more than ask you questions or divert rubberneckers. They will write up an official accident report in order to:

  • Document important details about the crash
  • Record who the involved parties are and how they appeared and behaved after the crash
  • Record whether any involved party was issued a criminal citation or placed under arrest
  • Note important details about the road and weather conditions at the time of the crash
  • Illustrate the scene with a diagram

Since police reports contain all of the important info listed above, they can be vital to your claim. Below are the top 4 reasons to call police after a car accident: 

  1. Figuring out who is at fault for the accident
  2. Establishing the extent and severity of the injuries victims suffered
  3. Proving property damage
  4. Finding other key evidence, like witness statements and breathalyzer test results, which may be integral to successful car accident cases

How to Request a Police Report for a Houston Car Accident

There are three ways to request police car accident reports in Houston:

  1. Mail: Download and complete the B. 2633 Crash Report Form. Mail it to the following address, along with a $6 check or money order made payable to the City of Houston and a self-addressed, stamped envelope:

Houston Police Department, Records Division

1200 Travis

Houston, TX 77002

  1. Online: You can find, purchase, and download a Houston police car accident report here.
  2. In person: Visit the Records Division of the Houston Police Department in person at 1200 Travis Street between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. The cost is $6.
  3. When trying to obtain police accident reports, please note that:
  • They are typically available between 5 and 8 days after the date of the crash.
  • You will need at least two pieces of the following information in order to request the report for your accident:
    1. The date of the accident
    2. The location of the accident
    3. The name(s) of the involved party or parties
    4. The incident number
  • These reports do not always capture every detail—and they can even get some details wrong. It’s important to review these reports and reach out to the officer to promptly correct any wrong information or inaccuracy.
  • Our Houston lawyers can handle this for you. We can obtain and review your police accident report, and we can also use it to figure out your legal options and come up with a strategy for your recovery.

We represent victims in all kinds of car accident cases, including drunk driving crashes, Uber and Lyft accidents, UPS wrecks, FedEx accidents, and more. In our 20 year history of serving the Houston area, we’ve seen it all. No matter how complex a case may be, we have the skills and the experience fight for you.

Experienced Houston Car Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help 

A car accident can be the most stressful thing that’s ever happened to you. One accident can change your life – but so can one victory with us. 

Don’t go through this alone. 

You deserve professional legal counsel and dedicated guidance. You can rely on our Houston car accident lawyers to follow up with you and keep your best interests at the forefront of their minds, every step of the way. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, now’s the time to contact us. It’s the first step to getting the compensation you deserve. 

 

Call (713) 804-7675 or Click HERE

For a 100% FREE Consultation

We’re Here 365/24/7

Hablamos Español 

We’re ready and waiting to explain your rights and legal options for moving forward. Plus, we work on contingency. That means if you decide to partner with us, you will pay nothing upfront and absolutely nothing at all unless or until your case is successfully resolved.

We proudly back our strategic, aggressive representation with client-focused service, and we’re committed to providing the type of advocacy we would want for our own family.

Our perfect rating on Avvo, along with our testimonials and many industry accolades and awards, speak to our long-standing record of excellence and success in car accident cases. Let our next victory be yours, too.

Semi-Truck Accidents: Causes and Effects of 18-wheeler accidents in Houston

Semi-Truck Accidents: Causes and Effects of 18-wheeler accidents in Houston

Commercial trucks are everywhere. With a whopping 15.5 million of them on our U.S. roads each day, carrying 70 percent of all manufactured and retail cargo in the country, it’s impossible to drive far without seeing one.  

Unfortunately, this means commercial trucks are also involved in collisions – often.

While these accidents may be caused by an assortment of factors, they typically involve negligent, careless, or reckless behavior.

Below, we share more about why and where truck accidents happen—and how you can find a helpful attorney when one has happened to you. 

(If you need answers fast, contact our Houston truck accident lawyers. We can explain your rights and help you seek the recovery you may deserve. If you can’t come to our offices for a free case evaluation, we can visit you at your home, the hospital, or another location that is more convenient for you.)

Truck Accidents per Year

Why Are There So Many Truck Accidents?

It’s simple: people make mistakes. But when your mistake involves a massive 80,000 lb. automobile, lives can be lost. 

In fact, according to federal transportation authorities, human error causes most traffic collisions.[2] 

Each year, at least 1 out of every 3 deadly truck wrecks involves driver-related factors.[1]

Some careless driver behaviors that commonly cause truck accidents include:

  • Speeding: This is the most common driver behavior that causes deadly truck accidents. It’s also 100% preventable. No deadline is worth jeopardizing a life.
  • Distracted driving: As the second most common cause of fatal truck accidents, driver distraction can include texting, checking the GPS, eating, changing the radio station, or doing anything else that diverts attention from the road.
  • Driver impairment: Another common cause of truck wrecks, driver impairment, can involve alcohol, drugs, or extreme fatigue. Even legally prescribed or over-the-counter drugs can impair someone’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
  • Vehicle equipment failure: Tire blowouts often end up causing truck accidents. While tire failure can result from poorly-made tires, it may also happen when trucks are overloaded or when tires are not properly maintained by motor carriers and drivers. Routine truck inspection and preventative maintenance are the responsibilities of truckers and their employers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the causes of semi-truck hazards. Construction zones, bad weather, and more can all cause truck accidents.

Why Are There So Many Truck Accidents?

It’s simple: people make mistakes. But when your mistake involves a massive 80,000 lb. automobile, lives can be lost. 

In fact, according to federal transportation authorities, human error causes most traffic collisions.[2] 

Each year, at least 1 out of every 3 deadly truck wrecks involves driver-related factors.[1]

Some careless driver behaviors that commonly cause truck accidents include:

  • Speeding: This is the most common driver behavior that causes deadly truck accidents. It’s also 100% preventable. No deadline is worth jeopardizing a life.
  • Distracted driving: As the second most common cause of fatal truck accidents, driver distraction can include texting, checking the GPS, eating, changing the radio station, or doing anything else that diverts attention from the road.
  • Driver impairment: Another common cause of truck wrecks, driver impairment, can involve alcohol, drugs, or extreme fatigue. Even legally prescribed or over-the-counter drugs can impair someone’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
  • Vehicle equipment failure: Tire blowouts often end up causing truck accidents. While tire failure can result from poorly-made tires, it may also happen when trucks are overloaded or when tires are not properly maintained by motor carriers and drivers. Routine truck inspection and preventative maintenance are the responsibilities of truckers and their employers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the causes of semi-truck hazards. Construction zones, bad weather, and more can all cause truck accidents.

Where and Where Do Most Truck Accidents Occur?

18-wheeler crashes can happen anywhere. Looking at recent statistics[1] from federal authorities, however, we notice some trends:

  • 57% of fatal truck accidents happen on rural roads
  • 27% of deadly semi wrecks occur on Interstate highways
  • 13% of these crashes happen on rural Interstate highways
  • 30% of fatal work zone crashes and 12% of nonfatal work zone crashes involve at least one commercial truck

Additionally, federal transportation data reveals fatal truck accidents are most likely to occur:

  • At night: About 35% of deadly truck accidents and 22% of nonfatal truck wrecks happen between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Given the reduced visibility at night, as well as the spike intoxicated drivers on the road, it makes sense that so many truck accidents happen during these late-night and early-morning hours.
  • On weekdays: About 83% of deadly truck crashes and 88% of nonfatal truck accidents happen on a weekday. Due to our work schedules, there are far more vehicles on the road Monday through Friday. This means more complicated traffic conditions – another ingredient in the recipe for a truck accident.

  • Fatal Truck Accidents on Rural Roads 57% 57%
  • deadly semi wrecks occur on Interstate highways 27% 27%
  • crashes happen on rural Interstate highways 13% 13%
  • fatal work zone crashes involve at least one commercial truck 30% 30%
  • deadly truck crashes happen on a weekday 83% 83%

 

    How to Find the Best Houston Truck Accident Lawyer for Your Case

    After you or your loved one is hurt in a truck accident, connecting with the right attorney can make a huge difference in your recovery. Here are some tips on how to set yourself up for success and select the right lawyer for you:

    1. Check out an attorney’s website to make sure they handle cases for accidents like yours. Also, look for information about any professional recognition, honors, and awards an attorney has earned.
    2. Read testimonials for the lawyer. This can include reviews on the lawyer’s website, as well as on lawyer directory sites like Avvo.
    3. Check a lawyer’s credentials and standing with the state bar association. Here’s the attorney search tool for the Texas State Bar Association.
    4. Meet with the lawyer to get a feel for their experience, attitude, and ability to help you. Many will provide free consultations.

    If you’re pressed for time and want to talk to an experienced lawyer with a long-standing record of success ASAP, contact one of our Houston truck accident attorneys. Our firm has more than 20 years of experience helping 18-wheeler accident victims seek the justice and compensation they deserve.

    Experienced Houston Truck Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help

     

    The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can help.

    If you decide to partner with us, you will pay nothing upfront and absolutely nothing at all unless we successful resolve your case.

    Nationally recognized and locally lauded, our Houston truck accident attorneys fight tirelessly for our clients as if they were our own family. We’re more than your attorneys – we’re your allies and your advocates. No matter how complex your case may be, you can count on us for aggressive representation and client-focused service.

    Become a part of our long-standing record of excellence and success in truck accident cases.

    The aftermath of a truck accident is never a good experience, but we try our best to make it an easy one.