Archive for October, 2014

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 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 for a free case consultation.