Back-over Accidents a Risk to San Antonio Kids

In the United States, an average of 50 children are injured each week when they are backed over by a vehicle. The majority of these children are around 23-months-old on average, according to Kids and Cars. A total of 48 generally receive treatment in a hospital as a result of being backed over by a vehicle. The remaining two children lose their lives.

A personal injury lawyer knows there are steps that can reduce the risk of a back-over accident occurring. One of the best options available may involve installing an after-market rear-view camera system or purchasing a vehicle that has such a system installed as an option available from the manufacturer of the vehicle.

Rear View Cameras Can Prevent Back-over Crashes and Save Lives

According to the Auto Channel, a vehicle with a rear view camera provides significantly more visibility in the rear than a vehicle with no back-over camera. A study from AAA demonstrates the extent to which visibility can be improved. AAA tested rear visibility in 17 different vehicles made by 11 different car manufacturers. Some of the vehicles had rear view camera systems installed by the manufacturer and others had systems installed by the drivers after-the-fact.

The research revealed in hatchback cars, there was a 75 percent improvement in rear visibility when a camera was in place. In smaller cars such as sedans, there was a 36 percent improvement in rear visibility after the installation of a rear view camera.

Cameras were especially helpful in making it easier for drivers to see the area 10 feet immediately behind the vehicle. This is the most dangerous location in terms of children being injured in back-over accidents.

Unfortunately, statistics reveal that around 70 percent of situations where a child is the victim of a back-over crash, the driver of the vehicle is a parent or a close relative of the child. This means parents can significantly improve their own children’s safety by making the decision to install a rear view camera.

Of course, while cameras can make a big difference, they are not 100 percent perfect. AAA still advises drivers should walk behind the rear of a car before getting into the vehicle to make sure the exit path is clear and no children or obstacles are in the way of the car backing up. When walking behind to do the pre-check, it is also a good idea to clear off the camera if it has debris on it that could impede visibility. Drivers should also be aware bad weather can create a fuzzy picture and make back-over cameras slightly less effective.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has imposed a requirement that all vehicles be equipped by back-over cameras by 2016. Until this time, drivers may wish to invest in a vehicle that has one installed when looking for a car to buy. Alternatively, they may wish to install an after-market system on their own.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation. Serving San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, and Terrell Hills.

Parents Can Help Teens Prevent San Antonio Crashes

Parents of teen drivers frequently try to set rules to reduce the chances of their sons or daughters getting hurt in a motor vehicle accident. A teen driving is a frightening thing for a parent, especially since the statistics show collisions are the No. 1 cause of death among young people.

Unfortunately, sometimes parents are not aware of the greatest risks that their children face behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration aims to draw attention to high risk teen driving behaviors during National Teen Driver Safety Week, which took place at the end of October 2014. A part of this campaign urged parents to talk to their teens about a different driver safety issue on each of the five days. While the teen driver safety week is over for the year, a personal injury lawyer knows there is never a bad time for parents to begin a conversation about staying safe behind the wheel.

Parents Can Make a Big Impact on Preventing Collisions

According to the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are a number of different ways in which parents are involved in setting the conditions for teen drivers. For example, parents control:

  • When their children are able to get a driver’s license.
  • The access their kids have to a vehicle.
  • The rules the family sets for driving, as well as punishments for breaking the rules.
  • The vehicle that a teen uses to drive.
  • When and how they teach their children to drive and the extent of supervision of teen drivers.
  • How their own behavior behind the wheel serves as a role model for their kids.

Many parents set rules related to when children can drive, where they can go and what time they should be home. Unfortunately, parents often don’t spend a lot of time talking about dangerous driving conditions and some parents are unaware of the biggest hazards their kids face. For example, parents often don’t talk to their children about the risk of driving with numerous teen passengers. However, the NHTSA indicates having just one teen passenger in the car more than doubles the risk of dangerous teen driving behavior. Meanwhile, having multiple teen passengers in the car results in three times the risk of dangerous behaviors.

To help parents know exactly what subjects they should raise with their kids, the NHTSA listed five key issues in the “5 to Drive” campaign. Parents are urged to talk to their kids about:

  • Not using cell phones or texting while driving.
  • Not having extra passengers in the car with them while driving.
  • Not speeding.
  • Not consuming alcohol before driving
  • Not driving or riding in a car without having a seat belt on.

In 2012, there were 1,875 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 killed in fatal car accidents and teens of this age group were involved in a total of 4,283 crashes. Parents should do everything possible to talk to their kids so they can reduce the chances that a collision will occur.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation. Serving San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, and Terrell Hills.

Traffic Safety Data May Not Tell Texans Whole Story About Collision Prevention

In the United States, there has been a 41 percent reduction in the number of people dying in motor vehicle collisions since 1972 when there was a peak in motor vehicle accident fatalities. This seems like great news, and U.S. traffic authorities such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration want the public to believe that we are doing a really good job in making the roads safer and reducing deaths.

The reality, however, is that there is more to the story. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows that other countries have experienced much more significant declines in the number of motor vehicle accident deaths in the past several decades since the 1970s. In fact, at least 25 other countries have reduced their death toll more than the United States, many by very significant amounts.

Why is the U.S. Not Keeping Up in Traffic Safety?

In both Germany and the Netherlands, there has been an 81 percent reduction in the traffic accident death rate since the 1970’s while in Great Britain, there was a 76 percent reduction in people killed in collisions each year.

Why are these other countries doing so much better than the U.S. at making road conditions safer and saving lives? USA Today suggests that it is because these other countries have focused on different things than the United States. Specifically, the U.S. may be overly focused on developing and mandating new safety technologies rather than on shaping and changing driver behavior to encourage safer actions behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website seems to prove the point that USA Today is making. On the website, there are numerous news stories about different technologies that have been established or developed in recent years or that are under development now. For example, news stories discuss child safety seats; a website to check for vehicle problems; advances in airbags; and new rules for vehicle-to-vehicle communication. There are some stories providing safety tips to motorists but the NHTSA is clearly focusing on technology tools.

A focus on technology can be problematic because technology can fail. Recent recalls of GM motor vehicles show that vehicle technology is not perfect and that serious problems can occur when cars don’t function the way that drivers expect.

Further, much of the technology that is developed to make vehicles “safer,” actually is intended to reduce the damage that is done to the body after a crash happens. It is far better to prevent crashes in the first place, and other countries are doing a better job of that by establishing more rules to make drivers behave more safely. For example, other countries have passed stricter laws on distracted driving and have instituted more widespread radar detection and red light cameras than the U.S.

If we had been as successful at these other countries in reducing fatalities, as many as 20,000 fewer Americans would have died in vehicle collisions just in 2012 alone. Clearly, something needs to change to improve road safety for U.S. drivers and the focus needs to shift to encouraging motorists to make safer choices.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation. Serving San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills and surrounding areas.

Preventing San Antonio Pedestrian Collisions on Halloween

Each year on Halloween, children enjoy trick-or-treating in San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills and surrounding areas. Unfortunately, some of the kids who are out for a good time will end up involved in pedestrian collisions that could result in injury or even death. A personal injury lawyer knows that children face double the risk of dying in a pedestrian collision on Halloween as compared with on other days of the year. Parents need to know about the added danger that their kids face and should take steps to keep their children safe on Halloween night.

Reducing the Risk of Halloween Collisions

State Farm Insurance recently conducted a study of more than four million motor vehicle accidents that occurred between 1990 and 2010. According to the fatality reports from this time span, an average of 2.6 children each day are killed in pedestrian accidents in the United States. On Halloween, however, there were an average of 5.5 pedestrian accident deaths among kids.

Children between the ages of 12 and 15 were actually at the greatest risk of being killed in a deadly pedestrian crash on Halloween night. Kids in this age group accounted for 32 percent of the Halloween pedestrian deaths. The age group with the next highest number of fatalities, 23 percent, was kids between the ages of five and eight.

Children who are involved in accidents on Halloween night were most likely to be killed in the middle of a block, rather than at the corners of roads or at intersections. An estimated 70 percent of the fatalities happened in the middle of a block. This is likely because kids tend to run out between parked vehicles into the road to cross and drivers do not see them.

The majority of accidents also happened between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM when it was starting to get dark. In total, 60 percent of deadly Halloween night crashes resulted in kids dying between the hours of 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM.

Parents need to be aware of the risks their children face, especially when their kids are out at night or when they allow older kids to go trick-or-treating on their own without parental supervision. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends that parents go out trick-or-treating with kids until at least age 12, and that parents prohibit younger kids from going out alone without adults.

Kids of all ages should also be reminded of basic safety rules like making eye contact with drivers before crossing; looking both ways before crossing the road; and continuing to pay attention while going across rather than looking at electronic devices. Wearing brightly colored costumes, avoiding masks that obscure the ability to see, and putting reflectors on trick-or-treat bags could also go a long way towards helping kids to stay safe and avoid pedestrian deaths on Halloween night.

Drivers must also do their part to help reduce the risk that a deadly Halloween pedestrian crash will occur. Drivers should slow down, especially in residential areas, and should be watchful at all times for kids who are out on Halloween night.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation.

Distracted Drivers Put Texas School Kids at Risk of Collision Injuries

Each year, around 25,000 children are injured when they are involved in accidents commuting to or from school. Unfortunately, things may be getting worse. A recent study has revealed that there are many motorists who drive distracted in school zone areas. A personal injury lawyer knows that distracted driving can significantly increase the risk of a collision, with texting alone making a motorist 23 times as likely to become involved in an accident.

San Antonio drivers need to be aware that schools are back in session and that laws related to school zone and school bus safety are in effect. Young lives could be saved if drivers paid attention around school buses and areas where children walk to school.

Distracted Driving Dangers in School Zones

An NBC News video dramatized the risk that distracted drivers present to school children by showing a semi-truck blowing past a stopped school bus. The truck drove on the side of the road and narrowly missed hitting a young girl who was waiting for the bus. The driver subsequently tuned himself into authorities and admitted he had been distracted at the time when the incident occurred.

Unfortunately, distracted driving has become much more common in school zones in recent years. Experts estimate that as many as two million more people illegally passed school buses with their stop arm extended as compared with in 2011. American Traffic Solutions largely attributes this problem to the fact that there are more drivers who are distracted on the roads.

Drivers are not only putting kids at risk when it comes to not stopping for buses, but are also very distracted as they drive through designated school zones as well. Safe Kids USA published a national report that looked at the number of motorists who were doing things other than driving at the time when they were in a school zone. The report reveals that:

  • One driver out of every six who passes through a school zone is distracted at the time.
  • Men and women are distracted in close to equal numbers. There were 154 distracted men for every 1,000 male drivers and 187 distracted women for every 1,000 female drivers.
  • Out of every 1,000 drivers passing through school zones, 98 were distracted because they were on their cell phones or using other electronic devices.
  • A total of 44 out of 1,000 drivers who were distracted in school zones were eating, drinking or smoking as they drove.
  • There were 19 drivers out of every 1,000 driving through school zones who were distracted because they were reaching behind them or looking behind them.
  • Nine out of every 1,000 distracted drivers passing through a school zone was engaged in personal grooming.
  • Three out of 1,000 drivers who went through a school zone were reading at the time.

Drivers were more likely to be distracted during the afternoon school zone hours as compared with the morning hours. Zones that did not have flashing lights were also more likely to have distracted drivers, as were areas where 10,000 or more cars passed through daily. These are the areas where children are most at risk.

Contact a San Antonio, TX accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation.

Stoned Driving Risks Amid Marijuana Legalization Efforts

In Texas, there are no definitive plans to legalize medical marijuana although there is much speculation about when legalization will come to the Lone Star state.

When marijuana is legalized for either recreational or medicinal use, rules have to be established to determine if a motorist is too impaired by THC to drive safely. The question of whether a driver is impaired can be left to the discretion of a law enforcement officer. A state can also set a limit on the amount of THC someone can have in their blood, just as the .08 blood-alcohol concentration exists for impaired driving. States that have already legalized marijuana are grappling with how to best protect driver safety and Texans may want to watch to see how their decisions impact road safety.

But as personal injury lawyers know, the regulation of stoned driving can be an inexact science. The levels of THC in someone’s blood do not necessarily correlate with the level of impairment. The ABA Journal indicates that both Colorado and Washington have set a maximum THC limit of 5 nanograms before someone is considered impaired, but that this may not be the best or most precise way to judge whether a motorist is able to drive safely or not.

Regulating Stoned Driving

Oregon is considering legalizing marijuana but has not followed the lead of Colorado or Washington regarding setting a maximum THC limit. The ballot measure addressing legalization sets no limit and it would be up to law enforcement officers to use their discretion to decide if someone is stoned and shouldn’t b operating his vehicle.

There are good arguments to make for why a THC level may not be the best way to judge if someone is a safe driver. A British study showed that a person who uses marijuana is most euphoric 30 minutes after taking the drug, but his or her THC levels would peak 10 minutes after smoking cannabis and would actually fall by the time he is most impaired. Scientists have been unable to establish a direct link between the amount of active THC in a person’s body and a driver’s impairment level, and one forensics lab supervisor expressed concern that the THC concentration in the blood was not correlated to impairment.

Of course, leaving the issue of judging impairment to the officer’s discretion is also problematic as mistakes can be made and securing a conviction for stoned driving could be more difficult without objective evidence. This is a problem because stoned driving is a major danger to other motorists.

As the FDL Reporter indicates, brain imaging tests have found that people who are stoned must use more of their brain to correctly perform simple tasks. Stoned motorists also have delayed reaction times, poorer peripheral vision and a reduced ability to multitask. This makes an accident far more likely to occur.

Between 1994 and 2011, the number of drivers involved in fatal collisions in Colorado testing positive for marijuana has more than doubled, and things are likely to get much worse as marijuana use becomes more widely accepted. Something needs to be done to effectively deterred motorists from driving stoned.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation.

Warehouse Accident Raises Concerns over Workplace Safety

A San Antonio warehouse worker lost his life in a mid-August industrial accident after a 3,500 pound sack of fracking sand fell on him. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the San Antonio Police Department and the deceased worker’s company has yet to make a statement regarding the accident.

No matter how the accident occurred, the tragedy serves as a sobering reminder that fatal accidents can happen at the workplace in a moment’s notice. People who were injured or lost a loved one in a workplace accident should contact a San Antonio personal injury attorney to discuss their legal rights.

Workplace accident under investigation by San Antonio Police Department

According to ABC 12, the worker was killed on Monday, August 18 at a warehouse owned and operated by Chalk Mountain Services, an oilfield transportation company that specializes in hauling production, flow back water and fracking sand.

The article indicates that the worker – a man in his 60s – was spotting for a forklift operator when a 3,500 pound bag of fracking sand fell from an unknown height on top of him. Officials from the San Antonio Fire Department said bags inside the warehouse were “stacked about three or four high.”

The accident victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The company has yet to release a statement or any additional information on the accident, which remains under investigation by the San Antonio Police Department. The Bexar County Medical Examiner has not released the victim’s name or specific cause of death.

A closer look at on-the-job injuries in Texas

Just about any workplace can be dangerous. However, workers within the oil industry, warehouse workers and other physical laborers often face hazards beyond what many workers face. Common examples of injuries at these worksites can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, falls from a height or crushing injuries.

Workplace accidents can happen for a variety of different reasons. A poorly trained employee may not be familiar with how to operate equipment. Workers may be forced to work with poorly maintained equipment. An accident may occur at a worksite after an employer failed to comply with the directions of health or safety inspectors.

In Texas, the majority of workplace accident claims are handled by the state Workers’ Compensation Board. However, sometimes employers – and their insurance companies – will try to take shortcuts to avoid paying injured workers and may even demand employees to come back to work when they’re not completely healthy.

In other cases, a party besides an injured worker’s employer (a third party) can be held responsible for an accident. Injured workers may have a right to sue a negligent third party for damages relating to a workplace injury if that person or company created the conditions leading to a third-party workplace accident.

For those who have been injured or whose loved ones were killed in a workplace accident in Texas, it’s important to have an experienced workplace accident attorney on your side who can explain your legal rights and help guide you toward a successful outcome.

Contact a San Antonio workplace accident accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 for a free case consultation.

San Antonio Traffic Collisions Caused by Red-Light Runners

A recent San Antonio accident caused injuries to one female motorist. According to News 4 San Antonio, it is believed the collision occurred when a driver ran a red light.  Motorists have a legal obligation to obey traffic signals, including stopping at a red light, in order to prevent collisions like this one. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to stop. If you or a loved one is injured by a red light runner, call a personal injury lawyer for help ensuring a claim for compensation.

Prevention of red light accidents is essential, as there are hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year that result from red light collisions. National Stop on Red Week is one part of the effort to reduce the number of red light running collisions.

National Stop on Red Week

The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) has organized National Stop on Red Week with the goal of educating the public about the scope of the risks that go along with running a red. According to the NCSR, there are around 8,700 fatalities in intersection accidents each year.

The Federal Highway Administration has specific details and statistics on the number of people who are killed in collisions when a red light has been run. For example:

  • In 2008, 762 people died when they were involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by failure to stop at a red light.
  • Annually, there are around 165,000 injuries that occur when drivers do not stop at red lights.
  • In around half of all fatal accidents that occur when a driver runs a red light, the victim is not the person who failed to obey the traffic signal.
  • One out of every three people report that they know someone who was either injured or killed in a collision that occurred after a driver ran a red light.

So many people are injured or hurt because there are far too many motorists running red lights. The NCSR published a report on red light violations after obtaining data from 20 states. According to the report:

  • There were 570,122 red light violations recorded by traffic cameras on Fridays in 2013. Friday was the day of the week with the highest number of red light violations.
  • There were 439,323 red light violations recorded by traffic cameras on Sundays in 2013. Sunday was the day of the week with the lowest number of red light violations.
  • Around 1/3 of all red light violations occurred between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. During this time, there were more than a million red light violations recorded in 2013.

The NCSR has encouraged all drivers to Take the Pledge during National Stop on Red Week, which took place from August 3-9 in 2014. The Pledge is a promise to obey the rules of the road and not to go through red lights.

The Federal Highway Administration also has suggestions for other activities during National Stop on Red Week including:

  • Press conferences on the statistics about red light violations and related accidents and deaths.
  • School events where kids wear red.
  • Slides at movie theaters to encourage drivers to Stop Running Red Lights.
  • Political activism to convince politicians to impose tougher penalties for running a red.

Hopefully, activities like these will raise awareness and fewer red light accidents will occur.

Contact a San Antonio accident lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 for a free case consultation.

Safe and Successful Texas Summer Road Trip

Summer provides the perfect time for people to take road trips to visit friends or relax at vacation destinations. Unfortunately, with more people on the roads, there is also a greater risk of accidents during this time.

Protecting yourself during summer road trip season is essential and Safer Car has some tips for things you can do to avoid problems and to keep others safe on the roads. Drivers should consider these safety tips before heading out on the road. Victims of accidents should also consult with a personal injury lawyer for advice on protecting their legal rights and obtaining compensation if an accident does occur.

Tips for a Successful Summer Road Trip

The success of your summer road trip begins with making sure your car is in good working order before you head out so you do not have a breakdown. One of the worst types of breakdowns that occurs is a tire blowout because this could cause you to experience an accident. You should check your tire treads before you leave on your road trip to ensure that the treads are not too worn. You should also check the air pressure in your tires. Your car may have a sensor that alerts you when tire pressure gets too low, but it never hurts to check manually.

You could also be at risk of an accident if you have problems with your windshield wipers on the road. Be sure that the wipers are not overly worn and that you have windshield wiper fluid in the car before you go. This will allow you to maintain adequate visibility in case you hit a patch of bad weather on your drive.

Once you are on the road, you need to tell all of your passengers to buckle their seat belts and you need to be buckled up yourself. Seat belts should be worn even for trips of very short duration because accidents can happen anywhere. If you are traveling with children, kids under the age of 13 should be in the back seat to avoid the potential for air bag injuries. Younger children will need more than just a seat belt and you should have a booster seat or car seat depending upon the child’s weight and age. Installing car seats can be difficult so check your owner’s manual to make sure that your seat is installed correctly.

You need to focus not just on your own safety but also on the safety of others on the road when you head out for your summer road trip. Remember that there are more young children walking and biking in the summer because they are out of school and there are also more motorcycles on the road during the nice weather. Avoid driving while you are distracted and stay focused on the road at all times so you do not cause a collision and injure someone else. Let pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks and don’t assume that they see you when you are driving.

Contact a San Antonio personal injury lawyer at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation.

Avoiding Truck Collisions in San Antonio

Truck accidents remain a significant risk for drivers and passengers in smaller motor vehicles. Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals a rise in truck accident fatalities in 2012 and demonstrates that occupants of passenger vehicles make up the majority of those killed in truck crashes.

Preventing truck accidents is essential for motorists to stay safe on the road. Those who are injured in a truck collision should also understand their legal rights. A personal injury attorney can provide legal representation for truck accident victims and family members of people killed in collisions.

Truck Accident Deaths on the Rise

The recent NHTSA report has bad news for drivers about truck collisions:

  • Truck accident fatalities increased four percent between 2011 and 2012. In total, there were 3,921 people who were killed in collisions involving large trucks over the course of 2012. A large truck is a truck that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
  • In addition to the deaths, there were a total of 104,000 injuries in truck collisions in 2012.
  • In total, 330,000 large trucks were involved in motor vehicle accidents over the course of the 2012 year.
  • People who were in a different vehicle from the truck accounted for 73 percent of all truck accident fatalities that happened in 2012. This was a five percent increase in the number of non-truck occupants killed in vehicles after being involved in a truck collision as compared with the prior year.
  • People who were not occupants of any vehicle accounted for 10 percent of truck accident fatalities over the course of 2012. This was a decrease of 11 percent compared with the number of non-occupants who killed the prior year.
  • Truckers and passengers inside of large trucks accounted for 18 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2012. This was a nine percent increase compared with the prior year.

Since drivers face the biggest risk of dying in a truck accident, drivers should ensure that they are doing everything they can to stay safe. While a driver may be unable to avoid an accident caused by a negligent trucker, there are things motorists can do to reduce their risk. For example, drivers should:

  • Remember that trucks have large blind spots. There is a “no zone” that exists in the front, the side and the back of the truck. As GEICO reminds motorists, if a driver cannot see the trucker in the truck’s rear-view mirror, the trucker cannot see the driver.
  • Know that trucks have a longer stopping distance. A truck could travel the length of a football field once the driver has hit the brakes. Drivers need to ensure they do not get into the path of the trucker and should never cut off a trucker abruptly.
  • Pass carefully. You should not pull forward and move over until you are sure that you see the front of the truck in your vehicle’s rear-view mirror.

By following these driver safety tips, hopefully people can reduce the risk of being hurt or killed in a collision with a large truck.

Contact a San Antonio personal injury attorney at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 or visit http://www.herreralaw.com for a free case consultation.