What Are the Deadliest Distractions in Your Car?

Monday, March 28, 2022

A daily commute can be a tedious, boring part of the day, especially when stuck in bumper-to-bumper San Antonio traffic. Many drivers turn to devices to make their commutes more enjoyable, scrolling through social media on smartphones or grabbing a bite to eat on the go. Unfortunately, any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road can be deadly. In the event of serious injury or death it’s critical to work with a San Antonio Wrongful Death Attorney to fully understand your rights and get the maximum compensation for you rlossses.

In 2014, distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 more in the United States. Distracted drivers are unable to react to changes in roadway conditions or hazards in time to avoid collisions. The best way to put an end to distracted driving is to understand what activities are dangerous behind the wheel. Avoid becoming a statistic by avoiding these 10 most deadly car ride distractions.

Lost in Thought

The most deadly distraction in your car is getting lost in thought. Driving can be a soothing, therapeutic task that causes some drivers to detach from reality. Driving in a haze, daydreaming, or in autopilot can slow your reaction time and increase your odds of crashing. According to a report by Erie Insurance, 62% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were lost in thought.

Cell Phone Use

Surprisingly, cell phones do not come in at the top of the list of deadly distractions. They account for about 12% of fatal distracted driving accidents. Thirteen states ban the use of cell phones behind the wheel for all drivers, while 37 (Texas included) ban them for teen drivers only. Texting, talking, dialing, listening, and accessing the Internet on a mobile device while driving cause thousands of car accidents every year.

Rubbernecking

Staring at outside events, such as a car accident, leads to about 7% of accidents. Drivers take their eyes away from the road for extended periods of time to look at an event, object, or person, and crash into the back of the vehicle in front of them. Drivers should always keep their eyes on the road ahead.

Passengers

Other occupants in vehicles can cause an accident by distracting the driver or moving the driver’s hands or feet, such as jerking the wheel away as a joke. Bad company in your car can easily lead to an accident from occupants talking too loudly, making conversation that upsets you emotionally, or physically making you crash.

Reaching for Objects

Drivers who try to reach for objects in their vehicles, such as napkins from the glove box, headphones, or navigational devices account for 2% of all distracted driving crashes. Drivers are especially at risk of reaching for devices they bring into their vehicles.

Eating and Drinking

Eating and drinking while driving is one of the most common mistakes drivers make. Many drivers are in the habit of eating breakfast or sipping coffee on morning commutes, or taking lunch breaks on the go in their vehicles. Saving a few extra minutes isn’t worth the risk of a major traffic accident.

Changing Vehicle Controls

Fiddling with the devices or controls in your vehicle can take your eyes away from the road just long enough to cause an accident. Changing the radio station, air conditioning, repositioning your mirrors, moving your seat, or using a GPS navigation system while driving can be fatal distractions.

Moving Objects

Moving objects in the car can cause a distraction or lead to an object impeding the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. Moving objects may include pets or insects inside the car that take a driver’s eyes, hands, or attention away from the road.

Smoking

Activities relating to lighting cigarettes or other items, as well as ashing a cigarette in a car ashtray, can cause a distracted driving accident. Lighting a cigarette takes a driver’s eyes and hands away from the driving task, leaving him or her prone to crashes.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 11:21 pm

How Can Commercial Truck Drivers Limit Distracted Driving?

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Distracted driving plays a major role in car accidents, which is why most states have a ban on texting while driving. Some states go further than others – in fact, in some states even talking on the phone is prohibited. Minimizing distractions is essential to maintaining our safety, as thousands incur injury from distracted driving each year. This especially applies to commercial truck drivers, as accidents involving commercial vehicles often lead to serious, permanently disabling injury or fatality. When an accident occurs there is often much more damage and injuries if not death. That’s why it’s critical to work with a commercial truck accident lawyer to ensure you receive all the compensation you deserve. Fortunately, there are several techniques commercial truck drivers can employ to reduce their risk of causing an accident.

Put Your Phone Away

In the era of smartphones, keeping in touch with our mobile devices is second nature. We may always keep our devices close so we can check on texts, engage on social media, or navigate with GPS. When you’re operating a commercial motor vehicle, however, using a smartphone can prove disastrous. Texting and driving, for example, will make you 23 times more likely to be involved in what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration calls a “safety-critical” event, which includes lane deviations, near-accidents, or accidents.

Sending a text takes an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this means a driver may travel the length of a football field without looking at the road. In fact, using a phone on the road is so dangerous that the FMCSA also has rules restricting how truckers can dial a phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

When driving, err on the safe side and avoid temptation; keep your phone out of reach. Pull over if you need to send a text or answer a phone call.

Maintain Your Focus

People often fail to realize that distracted driving is anything that takes your attention off the road. This may include personal grooming, talking on the phone, fiddling with the radio, or even talking to a passenger. Take steps to minimize any distractions:

  • Take care of all personal grooming needs before leaving each day.
  • Plug your route into GPS before hitting the highway.
  • Finish all personal calls before beginning a shift.

When on the road, maintain your focus by actively scanning and using your truck’s mirrors. Drive defensively and resist the temptation to multitask.

Prepare Smart Snacks

Driver fatigue can play a large role in distracted driving. Taking frequent breaks and eating smart snacks can help keep your energy level up and combat fatigue. The FMCSA sets rules for breaks and sleep for a reason. When taking a break or refueling, choose snacks that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, not sugar. Sugar may make you feel better for a while, but an inevitable drop in blood sugar follows, which can make your fatigue worse.

Over a third of truck drivers have reported falling asleep or nodding off behind the wheel – get plenty of rest and take breaks when you need them, as concentration helps prevent accidents.

Distracted driving can lead to devastating accidents, but commercial vehicle operators can help mitigate their risk. Follow these tips to reduce accidents and enjoy a safe trip.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:02 pm

How to Report a Car Accident

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

If you get involved in a car accident in San Antonio, Texas, there are steps you must take to fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver. There are also steps you should take to protect your physical health and legal rights, such as reporting the car accident. If you need assistance with crash reporting, consult with a San Antonio car accident attorney.

When Do You Need to Report a Car Accident in Texas?

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident and call the police, if legally required, is the crime of a hit-and-run in Texas. Texas law requires a driver to report an accident to the police if it causes physical injury or death suit to one or more people, or property damage that appears to be valued at $1,000 or more to any one person’s property. If your car accident meets this definition, you lawfully must call 911 as soon as possible – usually from the scene of the crash.

Contact Your Auto Insurance Carrier

You must report a car accident to your auto insurance company. Your car insurance company needs to know about any collisions that involve your vehicle. Most car insurance companies require reporting as soon as possible, or within 72 hours of the wreck. You can also call the other driver’s insurance company to report the accident if you believe he or she caused the crash.

When speaking to an insurance company, be careful what you say. The insurer will look for ways to reduce or reject coverage for your auto accident. Do not admit fault for the crash, do not sign anything and do not agree to give a recorded statement. Always tell the truth when answering questions from an insurance company. Keep your answers short and simple and do not offer any information that is not specifically requested.

Report the Accident to the TxDOT

Texas Revised Statute Section 550.062 states that if a law enforcement officer investigates a motor vehicle accident that causes injury, death or at least $1,000 in property damage, the officer must make a written report of the collision. The officer must submit this report to the police department and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) no later than 10 days after the car accident.

If the police officer does not make an accident report, it becomes your responsibility to report the crash to the TxDOT within 10 days. The TxDOT needs to know about all auto accidents in Texas – even minor ones – to maintain accurate crash records. You must fill out the appropriate forms and submit them online or print them out and mail them to the TxDOT. You can also visit the closest TxDOT office near you to report your collision in person.

Get a Copy of Your Police Report in San Antonio

It is important to report your car accident in San Antonio for many reasons. One is to officially document the car accident so you can use the crash report as evidence in your car accident claim later. An auto insurance company will ask for your police report number as one of the first steps in investigating your claim. Try to write this number down before you leave the scene of your car accident.

Once you have gone to a hospital for your injuries and made your initial crash report, request a copy of your police report for your records. This report should become available within 10 days of your accident. Car accident reports are only available to those involved in the wreck. You can contact the San Antonio Police Department to request a copy of your report. You can also request a copy of the police report submitted to the TxDOT through the department’s website.

If you need assistance reporting a car accident in San Antonio or obtaining copies of your accident reports, contact a lawyer near you.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 5:57 pm

Tips for Avoiding Wrecks with 18-Wheelers in San Antonio

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Commercial motor vehicles and big rigs are a part of our everyday lives. We may see them on our daily work commute or on family trips. These vehicles provide a valuable service to us all, transporting goods and driving our local economy. We all know, however, that these vehicles can also be dangerous. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways you can reduce your risk of being in an accident with an 18-wheeler in San Antonio.

Simple Ways to Prevent Big Rig Accidents

You can’t always predict the actions of another driver, but you can control your own. Use these tips the next time you get on your local highway or truck route:

  • Don’t hit the brakes quickly unless necessary. Rapid deceleration is dangerous when you’re ahead of a big rig, as even empty ones take a long time to stop. A fully loaded semi can require 300 yards to come to a complete stop. Keep an eye on the road ahead of you and allow plenty of time to react to possible hazards.
  • If a truck is following you too closely, give them time and space to pass. Move out of the way safely and continue your way.
  • Know their blind spots. Commercial motor vehicles have pretty impressive mirrors, but they still have blind spots – in fact, their blinds spot are much larger than typical vehicles. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you cannot see their mirrors, they cannot see you. It’s always a good idea to assure a safe following distance, especially behind a semi.
  • Don’t tailgate. Tailgating is dangerous for the reasons listed above, but also because it prevents you from seeing road signs, traffic lights, and other things necessary for safe driving. Always allow ample room between you and a large vehicle.
  • Exercise patience. Semi-trucks can travel slowly, but this is a good thing. It’s much safer for them to travel at slower speeds than it is to keep pace with smaller vehicle traffic. On the highway, travel in the faster lanes, as semis tend to keep to the slow lane. If you need to pass, wait until it’s safe to do so – a little patience could save your life.
  • Drive defensively. A trucker owes you a duty of care, but you also have a duty to drive safely on the road. Minimize distractions and concentrate on the road always, especially when you’re sharing it with a semi.
  • Use your blinker. Before making lane changes or engaging in any other activity with a driver, be as predictable as possible. This means using a blinker and waiting a moment before switching lanes. Remember, large vehicles take longer to maneuver and require more reaction time.

Sharing the road with semi-trucks may seem like second nature, but’s it’s important to keep your guard up. By driving defensively, remaining visible, and allowing them plenty of time to react on the road, you can make your commute safer. Do your part to prevent trucking wrecks in San Antonio by observing these tips. If you are in an accident with a large truck, contact an 18 wheeler accident attorney in San Antonio as soon as possible to help ensure you receive all the medical care and financial compensation you deserve.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:00 am

How Effective Are Roadside Inspections of Commercial Trucks?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The commercial trucking industry is an enormous, complex system that is imperative to the U.S. economy. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) strives to regulate this industry, enacting rules that companies and drivers must obey to increase the safety of everyone on the roadways. Roadside inspections are one of many strategies in place to improve the safety of commercial trucking. Unfortunately, not every effort works as well as regulators would hope. Here’s a look at the effectiveness of roadside inspections in Texas.

What Happens During a Roadside Inspection?

Roadside inspections are largely part of state-run systems, with trained and certified vehicle safety inspectors stationed at unannounced inspection stops. The FMCSA financially supports statewide inspections through annual grant programs. The FMCSA’s National Training Center handles inspector training programs throughout the country, certifying new inspectors and giving certificates in areas of expertise. The state of Texas is in charge of ensuring its safety inspections comply with federal regulations.

Any commercial truck or bus that passes an active inspection station is required by law to stop and comply with the process. The inspectors will look at the driver’s license and documents, the cargo, any hazardous materials, the condition of the truck, and other factors during the inspection. If any truck fails a safety inspection, it will receive an out-of-service order. These trucks cannot continue their scheduled drives until someone remedies the issue. Similarly, commercial drivers with regulation violations will not be able to continue driving.

Traffic enforcement programs are also in place to improve trucking safety. During this process, a law enforcement officer may pull over a truck for a moving violation. The officer then has the right to conduct a roadside inspection of the driver and vehicle. Any sign of unsafe driving or operations can result in an out-of-service order. The FMCSA continues its inspection programs, initiatives, and efforts in the hopes that they will catch safety violations before they result in accidents.

Inspection Effectiveness By the Numbers

The FMCSA developed a tool called the Roadside Intervention Effectiveness Model (RIEM) to gauge the effectiveness of roadside inspections. This system analyzes the results of annual roadside inspection data and concludes how many lives may have been saved. The most recent data available from RIEM is from 2012. The facts from the 2012 RIEM analysis are as follows:

  • Roadside inspections prevented 8,721 accidents, saved 285 lives, and prevented 5,341 injuries.
  • Traffic enforcement inspections prevented 5,703 crashes, saved 187 lives, and prevented 3,492 injuries.
  • In total, roadside inspections prevented almost 9,000 injuries in more than 14,000 crashes in 2012.

Despite allegedly preventing accidents, Texas’ current roadside inspection system does not consistently screen vehicles or drivers. This results in a fraction of commercial trucks being dangerous to operate at any moment on the state’s highways. This is a frightening reality for other drivers in Texas. After a trucking accident, one of the first steps should be to investigate the truck and driver involved for potential safety violations. Any type of infraction could have contributed to the crash, such as an unsafe load, unsecured hazardous materials, or a driver operating despite an out-of-service order. In these events, injured victims may be able to sue the trucking company for negligence.

It’s critical to hire a no-win-no fee truck accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in an 18 wheeler accident. Call us today for a free no obligation case review and consultation.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:08 am