Archive for June, 2011
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Recently, several bills in Texas that would have cracked down on bad behaviors by drivers have failed to become law.
Last week, Texas governor Rick Perry vetoed legislation that would have banned texting while driving. The bill would have punished anyone found to be texting while driving with a fine of up to $200 and up to 30 days in jail. If their actions resulted in injuries to another person, the driver could have faced 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Governor Perry failed to sign the bill because he believed it represented an effort on the part of government to micromanage the behavior of adults.
Another series of bills that failed to become law were aimed at preventing drinking and driving. A Texas representative sponsored a bill that would have suspended the driver’s license of anyone convicted of a fifth DWI offense. She plans to try again during the 2013 legislative year. Another bill that didn’t pass was tougher on drunk drivers – it would have revoked the drivers’ licenses of anyone convicted of a second drunk driving conviction.
However, one bill that may become law that deals with DWIs is the Abdallah Khader Act, which would increase the penalties for some drunk drivers. In some DWI cases in which the victim is left in a vegetative state, the maximum penalty would be 20 years in prison instead of 10. In misdemeanor DWI cases where the driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, the maximum penalty would be a year in jail instead of six months. The bill was named after a two year old who was left in a vegetative state after a repeat drunk driver hit his family’s car.
Accidents caused by texting and driving, or drinking while driving, are especially tragic because they could so easily be prevented. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the bad behavior of another driver, contact Kris Barber at the Barber Law Firm. Call him today at 817-329-5095.
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
Texas House Bill 242, which imposes harsh penalties for texting, sending instant messages, or checking emails while driving, may soon become law. The bill is awaiting Governor Perry’s signature.
Under the new law, anyone who violates the ban on texting, messaging, and emailing could face a fine of up to $200 and up to 30 days in jail. If their actions cause serious injuries to, or the death of, another person the driver could face 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Currently, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso already have bans on texting while driving.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2009, 3,308 crashes were caused by cell phone usage while driving in Texas alone. Among those crashes, 41 people were killed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that distracted driving, which includes cell phone use, was to blame for 20 percent of traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2009. In 2005, distracted driving was to blame for only 10 percent of traffic deaths. Currently texting while driving has been banned in 33 states.
Texting while driving is especially dangerous for teens, most of whom are not experienced enough drivers to handle any outside distractions while driving. However, 50 percent of teens admitted to texting while driving in a survey. Some studies have shown texting and driving to be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
Have you been involved in an accident with a driver who was texting at the time of the accident? If so, the driver could be held legally responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Call Dallas personal injury attorney Kris Barber at 817-329-5095.
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 14. Unfortunately, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three out of four car seats are not installed correctly.
The first step in making sure your child is correctly placed in a car seat is figuring out which seat is right for your child. From birth up until a child reaches age one and at least 20 pounds, your child should be in the back seat in a rear-facing car seat. Between ages one and four, your child should ride in a forward facing car seat in the back seat. After your child outgrows that seat (around age 4 and 40 pounds), the child should ride in a booster seat in the back seat. Under Texas law, the child must ride in a booster seat until he or she reaches the age of 8 or is taller than 4’9”.
Besides insuring you have the right type of seat, you should also be sure that the seat you buy is the safest. Purchase one with a five point safety harness. Don’t buy a used seat if you don’t know the history of the seat or if it has visible cracks or a missing label. You may also wish to see the ratings of various car seats at www.nhtsa.gov.
After you make sure you have the right car seat for your child, the next step is to have it properly installed. In Texas, there are Child Passenger Safety Technicians who provide free safety checks and one-on-one training on car seat installation. You can find one at www.texasclickitorticket.com.
Car safety seats are the primary defense we have for our child if we are ever involved in an accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident in the Dallas area, contact Dallas personal injury attorney Kris Barber at 817-329-5095 to learn more about your legal options.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
Tragically, an average of 10 teens die every day in teen-driven vehicles in the United States. The deadliest time of the year for teen drivers is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, because more teens die in car crashes during this time of the year than any other. This period is sometimes referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days”.
According to data from Allstate Insurance, the two most accident-prone roads for teens in Dallas are I-635 and I-35E. On I-635, there were 1,489 crashes involving drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 from 2006 until 2010. On I-35E, there were 1,162 crashes involving teen drivers from 2006 until 2010.
So how do you keep your teen drivers safe on the roads this summer? First, remember that you are a role model. Show your teens safe driving habits and seat belt use. Discuss the consequences of using drugs or alcohol while driving, and let them know this behavior is completely unacceptable. Let your teen do as much practice driving while you are supervising as possible. Drive in a variety of settings, including heavy traffic, daytime and nighttime, urban and rural settings, and bad weather.
You may wish to set firm rules about certain situations your teen may encounter while driving. You should consider restricting the passengers your teens can have in the car. Having more passengers, particularly other teens, is very distracting for a new driver and can lead to carelessness. You should also limit night driving – most teen crashes occur between 9 pm and midnight. Finally, restrict a teen’s cell phone usage while driving.
If you take certain precautions now, your teen stands a much greater chance of staying safe on the roads. If you are involved in a Dallas car accident with a teen driver, contact the Barber Law Firm at 817-329-5095 today to learn more about your legal rights.
Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Most of us have driven while we were sleepy at one time or another. However, recent studies show that driving while drowsy is much more common and dangerous than previously thought.
A 2010 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving was a factor in one in six deadly crashes. Drowsy driving was also a factor in one in eight crashes in which a vehicle occupant was hospitalized. These numbers are much higher than previous estimates.
According to the study, sleepiness can cause drivers to have slower reaction times, impaired vision, and delays in processing information. Previous studies have found that being awake for more than 20 hours can cause an impairment equal to a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, or the equivalent of being legally drunk.
About one-third of Americans have admitted they have fallen asleep behind the wheel in the last year. Over half have said they have driven while drowsy. Shockingly, over a quarter of adults have admitted to driving despite being so tired they had trouble keeping their eyes open in the previous month.
Experts recommend that you quit driving if you have trouble focusing, keeping your head up, an inability to remember the last few miles driven, if you are yawning repeatedly or are missing exits or traffic signs. If you are exhibiting those behaviors, stop driving and if possible, take a short nap. Drinking caffeinated beverages can also help.
Have you been involved in a Dallas accident that was caused by a sleepy driver? If so, contact Dallas automobile accident attorney Kris Barber at the Barber Law Firm at 817-329-5095 to explore your legal rights.
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
A tragic accident occurred May 19 at a cement plant about 25 miles southwest of Dallas. Five workers were burned at the plant. Three of those workers suffered critical injuries. Details on how the accident occurred are still not clear, but the burns occurred while a group of both contract workers and plant employees were doing maintenance work on a kiln in the plant. The three most critically injured workers were airlifted to a Dallas hospital. The others were transported by ambulance to a local hospital. The plant will remain shut down while the company investigates what happened.
The workers that were injured in the accident will have a claim for benefits. Workers who are injured on the job, either from a work accident or from repetitive motion over a long period of time, may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation. Workers’ Compensation can provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. In some cases however, an injured employee may be able to pursue a claim directly against the company. This can occur if the company denied benefits or if the company did not subscribe to the Workers’ Compensation program.
Have you been injured in a job-related accident? If so, contact Dallas work accident attorney Kris Barber of the Barber Law Firm at 817-329-5095. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident, because a lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time after the injury.