Car Accident Fatalities Drop Significantly in 2017 and 2018

Car Accident Lawyers RBR Law - Car Accident Fatalities Drop Significantly in 2017 and 2018

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic casualties fell by 1.8% for all of 2017. This came as a welcome relief after the sharp rise in deaths in the past several years. The National Safety Council states that from 2014 to 2015, traffic fatalities rose 7%, which marked the steepest two-year increase in over 50 years. 2016 brought an additional increase of 7%.

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Who’s Liable When Teen Drivers Have Car Wrecks?

liable-when-teen-drivers-have-car-wrecksStatistics show that teens are among the most dangerous drivers. This is not news to any of us. Many teens are just irresponsible, while others simply don’t have the experience necessary to be good drivers. The fact is that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are the most dangerous drivers. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, for each mile driven, teen drivers are approximately four times fore likely to be involved in an accident with another driver. They’re also involved in four times more fatal accidents than drivers between the ages of 25 and 69. Teens account for about ten percent of the population, and twelve percent of all fatal car wrecks.

So given these statistics, the question becomes, “Who is liable for these driving mistakes – the teen, the owner of the vehicle or the teen’s parents?” The following are some situations to consider when answering that question.

A Teen Crashes a Family Vehicle

Chances are, a teen is driving a vehicle that’s owned by the parents or guardian, who can be held liable for “negligent entrustment.” Further, most states will hold parents liable for damages while driving a family car under what is known as the “family car doctrine.” But even if states don’t have this doctrine, parents may be found negligent and responsible for the damages.

A Teen Crashes a Friend’s Car

If a friend owns a car and allows a teen to drive it, that person may be held liable for damages if the teen is involved in an accident. This is called “owner’s liability” in some states. A driver injured by the teen may sue both the teen and the vehicle owner. However, chances are the owner or his insurance company may end up paying for damages.

An Uninsured Teen Is in a Crash

Often insurance plans have a separate policy for uninsured motorists. This is beneficial for victims, and also means that insurance companies may make the teen pay for damages. If the teen driver is on the vehicle owner’s insurance policy, both parties’ insurance companies would work out the claims based on the owner’s policy limits and coverage of damages.

But with this scenario, injured parties and their insurance companies can sue any of the parties involved – owners, teen drivers, parents – to collect damages to themselves, their vehicle or their property.

If you live in the Dallas area and have had an accident involving an uninsured teen, your next step should be to contact a Dallas car accident attorney.

Should Dallas Prepare for Rental Scooter Accidents and Litigation?

Author: Matt Howerton, Published: 07/10/18, originally from the WFAA

DALLAS — As rental scooters begin to share the streets with bikes, cars, and buses in Dallas, a California car crash attorney already handling over a dozen cases involving the two-wheeled transportation says to get ready for accidents to start piling up.

At the end of last month, council members from the City of Dallas passed regulations for bike share companies that many in the city have been clamoring for.

They also gave the green light to a six-month trial run for electric rental scooters—which can travel up to 15 mph after the rider pays a fee.

The rules are simple, you can’t ride on sidewalks in the Central Business District (which includes Deep Ellum and Downtown Dallas), and you can’t ride on a street where the speed limit is over 35 mph.

Companies like LimeBike and Bird both dumped hundreds of scooters almost immediately after everything went through.

They must meet permit requirements, and if complaints are made to 311 about scooter litter in right of ways—they must collect them.

Council members plan to reevaluate the scooters after the six-month run is over.

The scooters have already arrived in many cities across the U.S., and have been met with both warm and critical welcomes.

Let’s look at California, they’re very common in areas like Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

But videos are already starting to pop up on YouTube of riders getting into accidents.

In Santa Monica, a city bus nearly ran over a rider when he crashed and rolled into the bus’s lane. Footage from the bus’s surveillance system captured the heart-stopping incident.

GROWING ACCIDENTS IN L.A.

In Beverly Hills, a personal injury attorney said he’s currently handling at least 24 cases involving rental scooters.

It was added that two to five calls per day are receive from people who were involved in accidents and want to lawyer up.

Most of the time people report to him that their scooter malfunctioned, accelerating and not stopping, causing the rider to crash. Riders have also reported brakes simply not working.

Many clients being represented are involved in accidents with cars.

It is reported many accidents happen while crossing an intersection, and someone hit them, or riders have been hit at a stop sign, or someone is at a red light not paying attention and the rider gets hit.

Figuring out who’s liable and who pays up can be an insurance nightmare. It is new territory for attorneys and insurance companies, much like Uber and Lyft were.

Bird and LimeBike are required to have at least $500,000 per accident in liability coverage in the City of Dallas, but the companies can only be held liable if it can proven the cause of an accident was due to scooter malfunction.

It has been reported that several cases involve riders who injured themselves after crossing over poorly maintained streets or sidewalks.

Riders in Dallas won’t be able to sue the city or county when it comes to situations like that thanks to sovereign immunity.

However, a rider that gets into an accident near a construction zone with insufficient signage or warning could sue the contractor behind the job.

A PROBLEM FOR BIG D?

Possibly. It’s only a matter of time before riders start calling personal injury offices with a host of issues no one has even thought about.

In cases where riders get into an accident with a car and they’re not at fault, things are pretty simple because the driver’s insurance (if they have any) should take care of things.

But if a rider causes an accident or is hurt by their own negligence, they may not have any coverage at all.

To put it simply, car insurance will not cover you on a scooter if you’re at fault.

The LA Times recently wrote about a woman who broke her arm on a rental scooter—and fell off because she was avoiding an accident.

In that article, the Times reported that her health insurance and car insurance pointed fingers about who would cover what.

Not to mention, even though Bird and Lime Bike encourage helmets– there are no laws in Dallas requiring them for electric scooters. The only helmet ordinance in place is for cycling, and it only impacts minors.

Council Member Phil Kingston said the city will revisit the scooters by the end of the year. If there are issues, he said they will be addressed before moving any further.

However, as a rider, it’s good to know any consequences before hopping on.

70 Percent of Hit-and-Run Fatalities are Cyclists or Pedestrians

Hit-and-run accidents are rising nationwide, and pedestrians and bicyclists account for close to 70 percent of the victims, according to a new report, as more people cycle to work and motor-vehicle fatalities are at a near-decade-high level.

The number of hit-and-run fatalities jumped 61 percent from 2009 to 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

About 68 percent of fatal hit-and-run victims in 2016 were pedestrians or cyclists, compared with 61 percent a decade earlier, according to federal data cited in the report.

In 2016, 1,980 fatal hit-and-run crashes across the U.S. resulted in 2,049 deaths—both record highs in the roughly four decades that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tracked such data, the report said.

“On the one hand, these statistics are a bit deflating. On the other hand, we can hope they serve as a wake-up call,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research.

A big reason for the rise in fatal hit-and-run crashes is that deadly car crashes are up overall, the foundation said. Traffic-related fatalities surpassed 40,000 last year, the second year in a row, according to the National Safety Council.

Mr. Nelson said one possible reason those deaths have risen is an increased in accidents due to distracted driving. A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association said texting while driving and texting while walking may help explain why pedestrian deaths have hit their highest levels in decades.

Have you been injured in a hit-and-run accident? Get the Dallas pedestrian accident lawyers at Reyes Browne Reilley on your side. Call us today at 214-526-7900.

I Was Hit By Someone Texting and Driving

shutterstock_1245274481-300x200In order to begin to comprehend the issues surrounding distracted driving, it’s important to get a view of the bigger picture. Consider this about texting and driving:

In 2011, 23 percent of all car accidents reported were attributed to the driver using a cell phone in some capacity – talking, texting and driving, browsing, and even playing games – this number has increased to 54 percent in 2017.

Last year, 3,500 people died in car accidents that are attributable to distracted drivers, including texting and driving. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the use of cell phones, but encompasses all driver distractions.

When it comes to the younger driving demographic, 21 percent of the accident fatalities were directly attributable to the use of cell phones. Texting while driving, either sending or reading while operating a motor vehicle, makes the chance of you having an accident 23 times more likely.

So, why is texting such a catalyst for accidents? One study cited texting as one of the worst distractions that drivers can experience behind the wheel. The average driver will take their eyes off the road for a full 4.6 seconds and travel the length of one whole football field blind to send one text message.

That’ s terrifying, and the message has been made loud and clear: texting and driving is deadly.

One study published in the journal Human Factors has indicated texting and driving is actually more dangerous that talking on a cell phone or to a physical passenger in the vehicle. The study actually tested subjects using a driving simulator and found individuals texting were involved in more crashes because they responded very slowly to the appearance of brake lights in front of them and showed significant impairment in control.

Researchers were also able to determine that it was more than just drivers taking their eyes off the road that contributed to these accidents. There is evidence that attention patterns differ for drivers texting and driving over those who talk on their cell phones or converse with passengers in their cars. For those talking on cell phones, researchers say that the drivers make an attempt to divide their attention equally between the conversation at hand and driving, making adjusting in the priority of each task as they demand it. But in texting, the attention divide is different. During texting, drivers must divert 100 percent of their attention to the phone and then divert it 100 percent back to driving. Because there is several seconds in time when drivers are focused on the process of reading or typing a text, their reactions times are significantly slower. Additionally, the study revealed that reading rather than composing produced the most significant reduction in reaction time.

One possible explanation that has been offered to explain this phenomenon is that drivers that text are 100 percent distracted from driving duties for up to 4.6 seconds at a time. During this time, drivers often decrease their following distance, which, when coupled with a slower reaction time to visual stimulus such as brake lights, often results in catastrophe.

So what does this mean?

It means while everyone knows texting and driving is a hazardous combination, we are actually able to focus on the science behind why. Governments across the country are taking heed of the ever increasing accident rate and are taking action to attempt to slow down the trend and begin to reverse it by banning texting while driving. One such state is Texas.

While the Texas state legislature has failed to pass a unilateral ban on texting while driving, many cities within the state have passed their own versions of a ban.

The next time your cell phone beeps with a text message while you are on your way to your destination, think twice before you pick up the phone to read or respond. If you can’t ignore the message, pull over and respond and keep the roads safer for everyone.

If the other driver was texting during a car accident, the Law Firm of Reyes Browne Reilley can hold them responsible. Call us today at 214-526-7900 or submit the short Free Consultation form below and one of our car accident attorneys in Dallas-Fort Worth will contact you for a free and confidential case review.

Teen Victims of Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving Reyes Browne ReilleyEach day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in car accidents involving distracted driving. Distracted driving killed 3,477 Americans in 2015, and injured 391,000. More than one-fifth, or 21 percent, of all teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 who were killed in accidents were distracted at the time of the accident.

Many teenagers are in near-constant contact with their friends on phones. But, cellphones and other electronic devices are a leading cause of distraction for drivers today.

Older, more-experienced drivers need to be careful to keep their attention on the road as much as teens. But, young people have less experience driving than most older Americans, and distracted driving can be even more dangerous.

In addition to electronics, drivers of all ages can have their attention taken away by food and drinks, conversations with other people in the car, or even events happening outside their vehicle.

What can you do to keep your teen safe? The best thing a parent can do to keep their child from becoming a victim or injured in a wreck caused by distracted driving is to talk to them about the dangers of distracted driving. Also, become familiar with local and state laws. Let your teen know what you – and society – expect from them, and what the penalties will be for things like texting while driving.

Best of all, lead by example. Never allow devices, people or anything else take your attention away from the road when you drive. Your child just may learn to do the same.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident due to another motorist’s distracted driving, contact the Dallas Texas car accident attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley for a free case review today!

Kids 12 Times More Distractive While Driving

Distracted Driving

The dangers of distracted driving are real, and taking the lives of more and more drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone.” So, what counts as distracted driving in Texas?

“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system – anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving,” according to the NHTSA.

If you’re a parent, or if you’re a babysitter who drives children around, you are well aware of the issue of children being a serious driving distraction.

According to an article published by ABC News, “one of the worst distractions might be something parents do every day: driving with kids in the backseat of the car.

Study Finds Kids 12 Times More Distracting

“In a first-of-its-kind study, Australian researchers found that children are 12 times more distracting to the driver than talking on a cell phone while at the wheel,” reported ABC. The study found that on average, parents take their eyes off the road for nearly three-and-a-half minutes during a trip that lasts 16 minutes.

Common kid-related distractions faced by parents:

  • Crying babies
  • Screaming toddlers
  • Children who are fighting
  • Children asking for snacks
  • Children spilling drinks in the vehicle
  • Children dropping toys and asking for them
  • Children throwing objects into the front seat
  • Teenagers who are rowdy in the backseat

If you have found driving with children to be stressful, you are not alone. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid driving with children, though we can minimize trips as much as possible by asking our spouse, friends or family members to watch our children while running errands.

To enhance safety while driving with children you can:

  • Schedule trips during nap time so your child sleeps.
  • Don’t let small children eat solids while you drive as this increases the chance of choking while you’re on the road.
  • Make a rule that you do not pick up dropped items while behind the wheel.
  • Feed your children before you leave the house.
  • If you have children in diapers, make sure they’re changed and dry before heading out the door.
  • Consider investing in a portable DVD player or outfitting your vehicle with one.
  • Never ever text while driving, especially when your kids are in the car.

Illegal to Send a Text Someone You Know Is Driving?

buckles-032614Should a Person be Held Accountable for Texting a Driver Who is Involved in an Accident?

We all know that in many states it is illegal to text and drive. The dangers associated with distracted driving are clear. However, the courts currently are trying to determine whether or not a person who knowingly texts someone who is driving can be held accountable if the person receiving the text is an accident. Recently in New Jersey, three judges decided that you don’t need to be the one driving to have accountability.

In 2009, a couple was badly injured when a truck driving in the opposite lane drifted into the center of the road and hit them while they were riding their motorcycle. As a result of the accident, both victims lost their left legs among other serious injuries. While they had already finished settling the case with the driver of the truck – who was convicted of texting and driving, they wanted to sue the driver’s girlfriend who had been sending him text messages right before the accident. Police were able to break down the events that happened during that day to determine that the driver had sent a text to his girlfriend mere seconds before the accident.

While the girlfriend was found not liable in this case because the judges believed she wasn’t aware her boyfriend was driving when she was texting him, they made it clear that a texter may be held personally responsible if that person knowingly is texting with someone that is driving. This liability may include paying for personal injuries or the damages caused to the vehicle.

Currently, countrywide debates are happening over whether or not it should be illegal to text someone who you know is driving. As of Sept. 1 texting and driving in Texas is illegal. Some courts may find a defendant liable in a civil lawsuit for doing so in that current laws in many states place liability on a person for distracting a driver who is in an accident. This law can be used to place responsibility on the texter, as they are virtually present in the vehicle and distracting them with their texts.

While it isn’t illegal yet, lawmakers are cracking down on texting while driving as accounts of accidents caused by distracted driving surmount. The harsh penalties currently in place for those caught texting and driving in some states are equivalent to those penalties for drinking while driving. Many states soon may allow police offers to check a driver’s phone for texts after an accident. These possible laws are all being considered in order to reduce the amount of vehicular accidents caused by texting and driving.

While a great deal of support exists for holding a texter responsible for damages if he or she is aware the person being texted is driving, many others believe this step goes too far in the fight against texting while driving. The opposition thinks the blame shouldn’t be placed on the person who sends the text as the driver is the one who is responsible for whether they read it and respond immediately or wait for a safe time to do so. Clearly, one of the biggest questions up for debate is how can someone know when the person they are texting is driving? Others believe you should simply ask a person if he or she is driving; however, this begs the question as to whether the one answer text of “yes” could be a fatal one.

Most reports say that distracted drivers cause approximately 20% of car accidents, and unfortunately. numbers are on the rise. Distracted driving could be texting and driving or anything involving taking your eyes off the road. While most people believe that texting and driving should be illegal, some states are reluctant to make it so. The debate for certain will continue though. Only time will tell if in the future if blame will be placed on the person knowingly texting others who are driving.

Regardless of the laws, for your own safety, and for the safety of others on the road, put down phones and focus on the road. If you believe there is any chance someone is driving, wait to text until you know they are off the road. Otherwise you may be contributing to possible harm and may be held personally responsible if you choose to take the risk.

Denton Bans Hand-Held Devices While Driving

3NoHandHeldSign-300x193Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, of the Denton Record-Chronicle, has recently reported motorists may no longer hold their cellphones while driving in Denton.

She reports: “After more than nine months of debate and compromises, the Denton City Council agreed 6-1 to ban drivers from using handheld devices behind the wheel.

Council member Sara Bagheri cast the only opposing vote in a decision that came after an hour of public testimony and debate Tuesday night.

Denton joins a growing chorus of cities that are banning handheld devices behind the wheel to combat distracted driving in Texas.

Locally, Argyle, Lake Dallas and Little Elm have adopted such bans.

Council member Keely Briggs was among the four who initially resisted the call for a tougher ordinance, but agreed the step was needed.

Before casting her vote, she read a prepared statement about her change of heart, citing the need for better public safety.

“People are not doing the right thing,” Briggs said.

Denton resident James Shaffer testified again to the need for the ban. His wife and daughter were killed in a head-on car collision April 9.

Investigators ruled the other driver, Ashli Morgan, who was also killed along with her 4-year-old daughter, had been distracted by her cellphone at the time of the wreck.

He told city leaders he really couldn’t understand the need for some of the exceptions in the ordinance.

“Your hands need to be free when you are driving,” Shaffer said.

Currently, Denton bans drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

The Denton Police Department has cited drivers for texting and driving. But Police Chief Lee Howell told the City Council that the current ordinance has proved difficult for officers to enforce.

With the new ordinance, an officer can now pull someone over if the officer observes the driver simply holding a wireless device.

The ordinance still allows drivers to use the hands-free features found in newer cars and trucks.

It also allows drivers with older cars and trucks to set up their cellphones in hands-free mode.

Mayor Chris Watts helped draft the final compromise, which has an exception to allow drivers to operate their hands-free device when their vehicle is stopped, such as at a stoplight.

Some devices and set-ups are not truly hands-free and require one touch to answer or terminate a call.

Violating the new ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor, which can bring up to a $500 fine.

The ordinance becomes effective on June 1.”