Don’t Text and Drive!

Author: Angel Reyes  

Auto Accidents, In The News

stop-texting-300x200According to a recent article in the Texas Tribune, texting and driving may become illegal later this year and rightly so.  Most of us are guilty of looking at texts while behind the wheel. For some reason, we’re unable to resist the temptation.  For some, there’s a misconception that a phone call can wait, but a text requires an immediate response.

And then there are those of us who would never text and drive.  But with voice-to-text technology that transcribes your spoken words into text form, we’re totally safe in doing so, right?  Wrong.  A new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute finds that voice-to-text technology is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Coincidentally, this study was released while lawmakers are determining whether to pass House Bill 63, which would be a Texas-wide ban on sending text messages.  Many Texas cities already have their own bands in place.  This bill has already passed the House and the Senate will now vote on it. Two years ago, the bill was passed but Governor Rick Perry vetoed it.  According to Perry, the bill was “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”  This past March, he was quoted as saying “The key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education, not government micromanagement.”

The lead author of the study said that new technologies such as speaking into a phone don’t protect drivers from having accidents. The study involved 43 research subjects who drove cars on a closed course.  The first time they drove, they did so with no distractions.  Then they were required to perform several activities, including texting, and voice-to-text technology.  Results indicate that driver reaction times were nearly two times slower than the baseline condition, no matter which texting method was used, according to the study.  Eye gazes to the forward roadway also significantly decreased.  Despite these findings, drivers perceived that they were safer using the voice method of texting.

Prior to approving any statewide ban, lawmakers want to see more data, as well as educational campaigns that will alert the public of the dangers of distracted driving. Earlier in April, the Texas Department of Transportation launched a campaign. On Monday, the House passed HB 437, by state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie.  This bill would enforce current laws which prohibit all use cellphones on public school grounds, protecting children from distracted driving.

If you have been injured in a wreck through no fault of your own, the expert Dallas car accident accident of Reyes Browne Reilley can help. Call us today for your FREE consultation!

Spanish Speakers Are Fastest Growing Demographic In USA

Author: Angel Reyes  

In The News

reyes-blog-0318131-300x200Currently the Hispanic population in the US is approximately 50,500,000. Latinos represent 16% of the US population, and are expected to grow to 27.8% by 2050. They accounted for more than half of the 2.3 million persons increase in the last year. More than 60% of Hispanics in America were born in the US. Mexico makes up 36.1% of those Hispanics that are foreign-born.

Spanish speakers are America’s fastest growing demographic. Of the 50+ million Latinos, almost 37 million are Spanish-language dominant. 24% of Hispanics live in homes where only English is spoken, but 68% of Hispanics live in homes where both English and Spanish are spoken. Although there are over 100 languages spoken in the US, a 2012 US Census reported that Spanish is the most common secondary language used by non-native English speakers.

The US Department of Labor reports that there are currently about 23 million people of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. That is almost 15% of the current labor force, and it’s a growing number. By 2020 it is expected to grow to 19%. Neilson data reports that Latino buying power will increase from approximately 1 trillion dollars in 2010, to 1.5 trillion by 2015.

Hispanics (specifically Spanish speakers) watch more television than their English-speaking counterparts. In a 2011 report, Univision beat all other networks in the evenings for the 18-34 age demographic among all Americans.

Fun Fact: The last name Garcia is the #8 most popular name in the US. There are 1,114,559 Hispanics with this name.

Dallas Federal Jury Orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $247 Million to Hip Implant Patients

A federal jury in Dallas on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopedics unit to pay $247 million to six patients who said they were injured by defective Pinnacle hip implants.

Delivering a third straight win to patients, the jury found that the metal-on-metal hip implants were defectively designed and that the companies failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Six New York residents implanted with the devices said they experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they blamed on design flaws.

J&J, which faces more than 9,700 Pinnacle lawsuits in state and federal courts across the United States, said in a statement it would immediately begin the appeal process.

A DePuy spokeswoman said the company was still “committed to the long-term defense of the allegations in these lawsuits,” adding that the metal-on-metal hip implants were backed by a strong record of clinical data showing they were effective.

Plaintiffs claimed the companies falsely promoted the device, most commonly used to treat joint failure caused by osteoarthritis, by saying it lasted longer than similar implants that include ceramic or plastic materials.

“We thank this jury for sending a very strong message about the responsibility the defendants have to take care of their consumers,” Mark Lanier, who represented the New York patients, said in a statement.

Thursday’s verdict came in the fourth test trial over the devices in Dallas federal court, where some 9,000 of the cases are pending. Test cases have been selected for trial, and their outcomes will help gauge the value of the remaining claims and inform potential settlement talks.

J&J won the first Pinnacle test trial in 2014, but subsequent juries determined the companies to be liable.

A jury in March 2016 awarded five Texas plaintiffs $500 million in damages. That award was later cut to $150 million.

J&J and DePuy were also found liable at a trial in March, during which a jury awarded six California patients $1 billion – a verdict that was later reduced to $543 million.

DePuy ceased selling the metal-on-metal Pinnacle devices in 2013 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its artificial hip regulations.

PINNACLE HIP REPLACEMENT PROBLEMS

The Pinnacle hip replacement is a total hip replacement system manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000, the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Acetabular Cup System was the predecessor to the now recalled DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement is a total hip arthroplasty intended to provide increased mobility while reducing pain in patients with damaged hip joints.

Like patients who received ASR hip replacements, it appears that those who received the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement also face an increased risk of hip failure. This is because the two hip replacement systems had similar design defects, which can lead to severe pain, dislocation of the hip implant and hip replacement failure.

Although the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants were not part of the August 2010 ASR hip recall, they are also metal-on-metal devices, and therefore carry many of the adverse side effects commonly experienced by ASR hip implant recipients. Due to the defective design associated with metal-on-metal implants, as with the ASR hip systems, many recipients of DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants have had to undergo painful revision surgeries.

DEPUY PINNACLE HIP REPLACEMENT COMPLICATIONS

Lawsuits involving the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant alleged that the all-metal version is similar in design to DePuy’s ASR hip implant, another metal-on-metal device that was recalled in August 2010. The lawsuits claimed that the all-metal version of the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant caused patients to suffer the same types of complications that prompted the ASR Hip Implant recall, including:

  • Hip pain
  • DePuy Pinnacle failure
  • Elevated metallic levels
  • Need for a second hip replacement surgery
  • Hip implant loosening
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Premature failure of the implant requiring revision surgery

Additionally, patients who received the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement implants should be aware of symptoms associated with metal toxicity, or metallosis.  The effects of metallosis can manifest outside of the hip region. Therefore, individuals who received a DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement should be mindful of any changes in their overall health and pay close attention to any symptoms related to their:

  • Heart (chest pain, shortness of breath)
  • Nerves (numbness, weakness, change in vision or hearing)
  • Thyroid (fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain)
  • Kidney (change in urination habits)