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‘Tis the Season: Houston Traffic Fatalities Surge During the Holidays

Posted on Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 at 9:27 am by Williams Hart   

The holiday season is bustling with the clamor of travel. Year after year, Texas roadways swell with gridlocked traffic as drivers hustle to make it to their next costume party, pumpkin patch date, turkey feast, last-minute shopping trip, early-morning flight, ugly sweater party, or new year celebration.

 

Unfortunately, hundreds of Texans will not make it to their destination this time of year, or next, as the Lone Star State leads the nation in highest in holiday fatalities by city. In fact, Houston and San Antonio outnumber any other city in the nation during the holidays — according to a study supported by evidence pulled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. 

Here is some helpful information to help you and your family to stay safe.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

The following conditions are the most common causes of car accidents in the U.S. that can greatly increase during the holiday season.

 

Drunk Driving/DUI 

According to 2016 Road Safety Facts data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29 people die every day in automotive crashes caused by drunk drivers. Unsurprisingly, these types of accidents surge during major holidays as alcohol consumption doubles among average Americans. 

 

 

Speeding

Texas was ranked by the NHTSA as the state with the most speeding-related traffic fatalities in 2015, with a total of 1,105 deaths. Those speeding-related deaths accounted for 31% of the total traffic fatalities in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Harris County ranks second in the state for the highest number of speed-involved fatal crashes. People often speed because they are running late or frustrated with traffic. None of these rationalizations are a justification for the tragic outcomes that speeding can lead to. Slow down. No ugly sweater party is worth risking a life. 

 

 

Dangerous driving conditions

Texas drivers infrequently encounter cold weather driving conditions on the roadway. When these conditions do occur, they can catch Texas drivers off guard. A few dangerous driving conditions include: high winds, rain, fog, sleet, frozen bridges, and black ice–all of which significantly increase accidents during the holiday season.

 

 

Distracted driving 

 

  • Visual – Not keeping eyes on the road.
  • Manual – Reaching for an object, such as a cell phone.
  • Cognitive – keep your emotions in check!

 

 

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving causes approximately 1.6 million car crashes in the U.S. every year. In other words, 1 out of every 4 car accidents is caused by driving and texting at the same time. Put your phone down. Let your loved ones know you’re on your way to Thanksgiving dinner before hitting the road.

 

Driver fatigue

 

When fatigued, driving a vehicle can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, many drivers do not address the severity of their fatigue and cause accidents that can injure and kill those involved. Many of us may experience lack of sleep caused by long travel delays during the busiest time of year for travel. 

 

Highway defects

 

It is estimated that 20% of all fatal road accidents involve a single car that runs off a road or highway, often causing other accidents. A defective highway can result from poor design, bad construction, or faulty maintenance. Unlike some states, Texas has no regulations regarding road construction suspension on major holidays, making it all the more dangerous to be behind the wheel during this time of year. It’s important to stay informed on lane closures, construction and detours when traveling Texas roads. You can do so at drivetexas.org.

Safe Driving Tips 

 

Follow these safety precautions on the road:

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Stay alert
  3. Drive defensively
  4. Don’t drive while impaired
  5. Avoid distractions
  6. Ensure everyone in the vehicle is appropriately secured by a seat belt or booster seat.
  7. Be patient and slow down

Road Safety for All

The safety tips above can help most people. There are some people that require specific safety precautions on the road–like children, teens, and senior citizens–as they tend to be at higher risk of injury when involved in a motor vehicle accident. Visit cdc.gov to find out how you can help protect vulnerable groups from becoming a preventable statistic.

Children

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children, but you can make a difference. Protect yourself and little ones during this holiday season.

  • Learn the new child passenger safety recommendations. Know the stages.
  • Buckle children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, and seat belts—these reduce the risk for injury in a car crash by up to 80 percent.
  • Children are safest when car seats and booster seats are used correctly. Buckle children in the right way in the right seat and learn how to avoid the most common mistakes.
  • Remember that children aged 12 and under should be properly buckled in the back seat.
  • Set a good example by always wearing a seat belt yourself.
Teens

Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times as likely to be involved in a car accident. Help protect your teenager on the road. 

  • Understand the leading causes of teen crashes and injuries, from nighttime driving to not using seat belts.
  • Consider using tools like parent-teen driving agreements.
  • Know your state’s laws: all states have graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems, which help ensure teens can build driving skills under lower-risk conditions.
  • Get in some supervised driving time with your teen over the holidays.
  • Buckle up in every seat, on every trip, no matter how short.
Senior Citizens

Older adults make up 15% of all licensed drivers in the U.S., but Texas ranks 2nd in highway fatalities involving drivers aged 65 or older. While Texas does require residents over the age of 79 to pass a vision test every two years, in person, to renew their driver’s license, it’s important to keep these precautions in mind: 

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review medicines—both prescription and over-the-counter—to reduce side effects and interactions.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as required.
  • Consider potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend, using public transit, or using a rideshare service to get around.

Get the Justice You Deserve

When you have become a victim of a serious car accident, you need a personal injury lawyer who can help you get the money you need to pay your bills, repair or replace your vehicle, and move on with your life. Trying to recover from a serious car accident is difficult enough without dealing with complicated legal matters. You should not have to bear the burden of recovery and legal matters without help from an attorney who has handled these cases before. 

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Williams Hart secures $1.5M verdict for client injured in auto accident.

Posted on Saturday, December 10th, 2016 at 12:14 pm by Williams Hart   

On January 20, 2015 our client broke his leg when he was hit by an SUV while he was attempting to purchase an automobile at an auto auction. The driver of the SUV was a worker sent over by Pacesetter to drive cars at the Manheim Big H auction center. Our client was safely crossing the road when he was struck by a Ford Explorer being driven by the defendant.

Our client was back to work in just 9 months. He turned to Jim Hart and Steve Kherkher to handle his case and handle the case they did.

Steve and Jim spent many long nights strategizing and prepping for trial. After a rigorous trial before Harris County 55th District Court Judge Shadwick, the jury came back with a UNANIMOUS decision in favor of the plaintiff. They awarded the client $750,000 for pain and suffering as well as $750,000 for physical impairment for a whopping total of $1.5 million dollars.

Here at Williams Hart, we are so proud of Jim and Steve and the work they put in on behalf of their client and know they will do the same for you or your family members.


Houston drivers rank among the worst in the nation

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2016 at 2:19 pm by Williams Hart   

shutterstock_228064051 (1)According to a new report done by Allstate, Houston drivers are among the worst in the United States. After evaluating the best drivers in 200 cities, Houston ranked number 170 on the list for accident frequency.  The report states that Houston drivers, on average, have a collision once every 7.2 years, 37% higher than the national average.

The list does not specify the reasons for the car accidents they tracked, but rather, is looking to make the public aware of the importance of safe driving. Boston had the worst record on the list with drivers getting in an accident an average of once every 3.9 years, while Kansas City ranked the best with drivers having an accident every 13.3 years.

At Williams Hart, we know all too well how devastating accidents in Houston can be, and we are proud to represent individuals who have been injured in an accident caused by another party’s wrongdoing. For the legal help you need if you’ve been injured in an accident, call us today at (713) 352-7071.


Students and adults brought to hospital after bus accident

Posted on Saturday, October 31st, 2015 at 9:47 am by Williams Hart   

Thursday, October 29, a Crespo Elementary school bus was hit by a car during a student field trip. The accident happened at around 10:30 a.m on FM 1960 near Woodland Hills Drive in Harris County, according to reports.

Twenty-nine students and five adults were brought to the hospital in an Alascocita Volunteer Fire Department emergency bus after a sedan rear-ended their school bus outside the Old MacDonald’s Farm petting zoo, where the students were on a field trip. All of the individuals on the school bus were taken to the hospital to be check out as a precaution. No life-threatening injuries were sustained by the adults and children, and all of them were released in the afternoon of the same day.

The driver of the sedan was brought to Memorial Hermann Hospital. The driver’s condition remains unknown.

The driver of the school bus was cited by officers for failure to yield while turning left.

If you or your child has been injured due to negligent drivers, speak with our esteemed personal injury lawyers at Williams Hart to discuss your legal options. Call us today at (713) 352-7071.


Caitlyn Jenner not charged after fatal accident

Posted on Thursday, October 1st, 2015 at 11:09 am by Williams Hart   

Last February 7 on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Caitlyn Jenner was involved in a car crash that took the life of Kim Howe. Jenner’s SUV hit Howe’s Lexus from behind, causing it to head towards oncoming traffic, where it was hit by a Hummer.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced September 30 that Jenner will not be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter- despite lawsuits already filed by the victim’s adult stepchildren.

Based on reports, the investigation concluded that Jenner was below speed limit and was driving slower than Howe. Although Jenner was not going over the speed limit, she was still driving at an unsafe speed for the condition of the road, according to reports.

Losing a life is devastating, and it is more tragic if another person is at fault. True justice must be served for everyone who is experiencing a loss like this. Our legal team at Williams Hart extends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Kim Howe.


71-year-old dies in Carson City accident

Posted on Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 9:54 am by Williams Hart   

Last Thursday, September 17, a 71-year-old man was killed after he was hit by a pickup truck in Carson City, Nevada. The man was brought to the hospital but died later that night.

It was around 2:50 p.m. when a sheriff responded to the crash at 101 Hot Springs Road. The victim was crossing the street when he was hit by a truck driven by a 68-year-old who was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to Reno Gazette Journal.

According to the release, the man was trapped under the truck, but he was already removed and still conscious and speaking when the respondents came. He was transported to Renown Medical Center by helicopter.

The sheriff’s office was notified of the victim’s death that same day at around 7:50 p.m.

No one deserves such a tragedy. The legal team at Williams Hart extends their deepest condolences to the friends and family of the victim.

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