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Driverless Cars And Car Accidents

The population of Texas is expected to double by 2050. From housing availability to roads, this growth will impact the state’s infrastructure in previously unforeseen ways. Although there could be more cars on the road due to a population boom, we may actually see fewer drivers. Ten million driverless cars, popularized by the brand Tesla, are expected to hit the road by 2020, and a large portion of them could be in Texas. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently selected areas of the Lone Star State as one of 10 proving grounds for automated vehicles and their technological capabilities. TexDOT will partner with Texas A&M, University of Texas, the Southwest Research Institute and 32 cities for testing. While the prospect of new cars is exciting, it raises concerns for crash risks and responsibilities for drivers on the road. How will driverless cars react to accidents? New research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology addresses how people might want a driverless car to react when faced with the potential for an accident. So far, researchers find that people have utilitarian, or “greater good,” expectations for technology. The study shows that people would rather have the car sacrifice one passenger to save a group of pedestrians, but those same individuals may not want to be the passenger. Would a human driver act so selflessly? The psychological barriers we put on ourselves could “undermine the entire industry,” according to researchers. While sacrificing one passenger to save a larger group is perhaps what is best for society as a whole, we might feel uncomfortable when put in the passenger’s perspective individually. Driverless cars raise new ethical questions Researchers admit that, so far, testing for life or death situations in real time has been limited, but it could be one of the problems addressed in local research of driverless cars. According to MIT, “risk management” is the current focus of a driverless car’s accident response. However, computers are unable to account for the ethical dilemma each situation provides. Many of the regulations surrounding driverless cars have yet to be written, which could leave those involved in accidents uncertain of where to turn for help. Where the law may be unable to account for your situation, a personal injury lawyer can address the ethical questions and help you gain access to the care and compensation you need for recovery. While technology may leave many cars without a driver, victims of accidents are still in control through civil courts.

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Waco Fire Department urges motorists to vigilant on Interstate 35

A Waco Fire Department spokesperson issued a public notice on May 6 warning all motorists to use more caution when traveling along Interstate 35’s construction zones. They issued this warning after one of their firetrucks was struck this past Sunday. While no one got hurt in this most recent crash, construction has only just begun on I-35. It was on that same highway that several firefighters were seriously hurt back in 2015. Fire Engine No. 5 was dispatched to an accident that had occurred along I-35 South just before 5:15 p.m. on May 5. They were supposed to provide protection for paramedics who were working the crash scene. It wasn’t long after they arrived on the scene that the driver of a Tesla fast approached and crashed into their truck, causing significant driver side damage. Police determined that the car’s operator was likely distracted before the collision occurred. Fire officials are concerned that this most recent crash is the first of many similar incidents that are likely to occur in the future. The I-35 expansion is expected to take four years to finish. A Waco Fire Department spokesperson notes that Station No. 5 firefighters are particularly vulnerable to getting hurt as they’re frequently dispatched to wrecks that occur along I-35. The department instituted a policy requiring firefighters to be dispatched to crash scenes to block lanes in October 2015. Two firefighters were struck and seriously injured that month while attempting to put out a grass fire that had ignited along a part of I-35 South. Texas Department of Public Safety stepped up their enforcement of the state’s Move Over Law this past January. Motorists are expected to move over when they see an emergency vehicle in an adjacent lane. If they’re unable to do so, then they’re supposed to reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour instead. Interstates are some of the most dangerous places for motorists’ cars to break down or for accidents to occur. Drivers aren’t safe standing around their vehicles. They run the risk of their vehicle being struck if they stay inside of them as well. Police officers, paramedics, construction workers and firefighters are all also at significant risk. Those injured in crashes on highways should reach out to an attorney to learn more about getting their medical costs covered.

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Is the interstate more dangerous than a normal road?

For many young drivers, the interstate feels more dangerous than a traditional, two-lane road. Everything moves quickly, they have brand new skills to learn regarding merging and ramps and they feel like an accident on an interstate would result in greater injuries. However, the reality is that the interstate, according to highway engineers, is far safer than older, two-lane roads. The system was specifically designed to be as safe as possible. For one thing, interstates do not allow traffic to share the road while heading in opposite directions. Wide medians and guardrails are used to keep traffic separated. This vastly reduces the odds of a head-on collision, one of the most dangerous types of crashes in which anyone can ever get involved. The interstate also has generally consistent speeds and gentle curves. This makes it far easier to stay in control of the vehicle. Nothing unexpected happens. Drivers make fewer mistakes. Finally, the interstate does not have intersections. These are highly dangerous, as even a simple mistake can lead to a deadly crash. The interstate strictly controls all traffic coming on and off. While accidents may happen at ramps, they are less likely and the cars that collide are at least heading in the same direction. This can reduce the force of the impact. While interstates are safe, mistakes and negligence can cause accidents. Perhaps the worst are wrong-way accidents. When someone gets on the interstate going the wrong direction, they eliminate all of those safety features and put everyone at risk. If you get hurt in an accident, make sure you know if you have a right to compensation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

A college student is arrested after a fatal crash in McGregor

On June 14, a 23-year-old University of Mary Hardin-Baylor nursing student was arrested on suspicion of causing a fatal hit-and-run crash that occurred on the evening of June 6. Bell County Sheriff’s Department officers were originally summoned to a northbound shoulder of State Highway 317 sometime after 10:30 p.m. on June 6. The individuals who’d requested for them to come to the scene were a 26-year-old man’s Ferguson Enterprises co-workers. They’d found his lifeless body along that stretch of roadway after going looking for him when he didn’t show up to work for his overnight shift that day. The McGregor father-of-two had already passed away by the time he was found. He appeared to have been struck by a vehicle from behind. They found his broken backpack and earphones nearby his body. In speaking with the victim’s widow, they determined that he was walking to his night job when he was struck. In addition to the victim’s personal effects, investigators located plastic car pieces at the crash scene. They had part numbers on them. They determined that they belonged to the headlight assembly and bumper of a Ford F-150 pickup truck with the model year of 2004 to 2008. On June 12, the defendant voluntarily appeared at the McGregor Police Department. She told officers that she’d realized that she’d struck the decedent on June 6 while she was traveling between Belton and Crawford. She told them that she’d taken her eyes off the road to plug her cellphone in soon after entering McGregor. She said that she then remembered striking what she believed to be a mailbox. She didn’t stop to check if that was the case though. Investigators impounded her vehicle soon after that. They then confirmed that the pieces that they’d recovered from the crash scene perfectly matched her vehicle’s damage. She turned herself into police on June 14. She was later charged with failure to stop and render aid resulting in death charges. She was let out on a $150,000 bond on June 17. Walking along the road at night is dangerous. This is why it’s important that motorists don’t allow themselves to become distracted. If your loved one has died in Texas at the hands of a motorist who engaged in bad behavior behind the wheel, then an attorney in Waco can advise you of your right to hold them accountable for their actions.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Car Accidents

Driven to distraction? There’s an app for that.

Even though we admonish our teens, we’re just as guilty of committing this offense: texting while driving. A poll conducted by AT&T, 49 percent of adult drivers admitted to sending an electronic message behind the wheel compared with 43 percent of teen drivers. In spite of the fact that 98 percent of drivers questioned by AT&T recognized the hazards associated with this activity, just under half of those polled revealed that they would reply to a message. Whether it’s due to the fear of missing out on important information or it’s an attempt to lessen the boredom of a long commute, engaging in distracted driving is a practice that seems to increase in popularity despite the publicized risks. For drivers who can’t seem to shake the habit, solutions exist: turn off the phone before turning on the engine or notify friends that you’ll be driving and shouldn’t be contacted. Of course, few drivers will take these steps to secure their safety. Fortunately, smartphone application developers have recognized that phone owners are loath to power down their phones regardless of the circumstances. Some apps are free to install and others charge a small fee to access the software. In terms of benefits offered and ease of installation, all of these products are worth investigating: 1. AT&T DriveMode Available to AT&T subscribers, this application blocks incoming calls and texts. It relays a message to those sending texts, informing interested parties that the driver is engaged. To prevent any temptation to review texts, the application prevents the driver from accessing messages while the car is in motion. In case of emergencies, the software has been updated to allow the driver to contact and receive calls from 5 selected numbers and 911. 2. DriveSave.ly For drivers who need to access to their messages at all times, the DriveSave.ly app will read texts and emails to the driver while the vehicle is moving. Additionally, the software will transcribe and send a reply or respond with an auto-reply. 3. DriveScribe For parents who want to monitor their child’s driving from afar, the proprietary software in DriveScribe will relay pertinent information. The app records the distance and route taken during the drive, notifying instances of excessive speeding or traffic violations. Teen drivers benefit from using this application, as they will be rewarded for their cautious driving with points for gift cards from area merchants. The app provides these benefits in addition to text and call blocking functions. For drivers who are quick to respond to the buzz that announces the presence of a text or e-mail, the three applications above can reduce the fear of missing a message. They put aim to put drivers back in control of their vehicle and ensure safety of those on the road.

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How do you prove negligence in a Texas car accident case?

If a drunk, drowsy or distracted driver were to get behind the wheel of a car and crash into you, you’d want to hold them accountable for any medical costs that you amassed. You can hold a motorist financially accountable for their negligence under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 33.001 through 33.012. Individuals who’ve been hurt in a car crash in Waco or elsewhere in Texas may be able to recover compensation for their injuries provided that they meet five different conditions. First, a plaintiff will have to convince the court that the other motorist had a “duty” not to drive while intoxicated, distracted or sleepy. If the injured party can do that, they’ll have to prove that the defendant breached their duty by acting differently from or failing to do what was expected of them. There must also be a “cause in fact” present. What this essentially means is that a plaintiff must be able to prove that the injuring accident would not have occurred had it not been for the defendant breaching their duty. A plaintiff must be able to show that there was “proximate cause” as well. The injured motorist may produce data showing a direct correlation between certain at-risk behaviors and injury or fatality rates as a way of proving this. Plaintiffs must be able to document that they suffered actual harm to qualify to sue someone for negligence. In Texas, there’s a concept known as “proportionate responsibility”. It’s known as comparative negligence in other jurisdictions. It allows a plaintiff to assume a percentage of responsibility for an injuring crash and related expenses. The remaining blame is then passed on to the defendant. Understanding the concepts of negligence or liability can be challenging. If you’ve been in an automobile crash and you’re trying to determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation for your injuries, you can consult with a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer can review your case and let you know if you indeed have a valid claim.

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Texas worker injured in 3-vehicle car accident

The scene of a multi-vehicle car accident is often chaotic and confusing to witnesses as well as first responders. In many cases, it can be difficult to see who or what caused the collision. In a recent car accident that left a man injured, it appears as if the fault lies on the shoulders of one or perhaps two motorists. When the authorities arrived at the scene of this car accident, they saw that a car had struck a private SUV as well as a College Station, Texas, garbage truck. Reportedly, the garbage truck pulled into an outside lane on Wellborn Road to empty a trash bin. An SUV that was behind the city vehicle slowed down in a cautionary manner when the truck stopped. Unfortunately, a car that was traveling behind the SUV did not slow or stop. The car reportedly struck the SUV and caused it to roll over onto its roof. The car then went on to collide with the garbage truck as well as the city worker who was still outside of the vehicle. The news report does not say if any of the SUV occupants suffered injury. However, the city worker suffered undisclosed injuries that were reported to be incapacitating. It is likely that he will need to consider a legal solution to acquire compensation for his suffering and his injuries. In this car accident, it appears that the worker bears no fault for the crash. It also looks as if the SUV driver may be guilt-free as well. Despite appearances, however, it will take a careful investigation to determine whether the car driver or the SUV driver ultimately caused the accident. This unfortunate incident is a good example of how important it is to find a legal professional to uncover the facts and help the victim seek an appropriate legal remedy.

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Panic disorders can arise from traumatic car accidents

One of the most common causes of serious injuries in the United States is being involved in a car accident. Car accidents can lead to a wide range of physical injuries, some of the most serious being spinal cord injuries and brain damage. However, what is often overlooked is the psychological damage that car accidents can cause. Panic disorders and panic attacks are relatively common forms of anxiety in the general public. While it is common for people to suffer from such conditions without any obvious reason, they can be brought on after a traumatic event. Those with no previous history of a panic disorder may start experiencing such symptoms after they were involved in a car accident. In this situation, they will need to seek professional guidance to start their journey in recovering fully. What is a panic disorder? A panic disorder is a broad term to describe the condition of a person who is suffering from frequent and unexpected panic attacks. Sufferers may also exhibit avoidance, meaning that they prevent themselves from going to certain places where they easily experience a panic attack. This can mean that their life becomes very limited, and they may suffer from constant states of fear and worry. Can I make a claim due to my panic disorder? It is important that you acknowledge the emotional damages that you have suffered as a result of being involved in a car accident. It is common for car accident victims to focus on the ways that they have been injured physically rather than emotionally. This can cause them to lose out on gaining the monetary damages that they deserve. When making a car accident claim for damages, you should take the time to reflect on the ways that your life has changed since the incident. All negative changes to your emotional, physical and financial state can count as damages, and all treatment that you seek should be covered by your claim. Make sure that you take the time to understand the law in Texas when considering making a car accident claim. Having legal knowledge can empower you to take the right actions and to get the damages that you deserve.

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6 key facts about deadly teen car accidents

Teenagers often feel incredibly excited when they finally get a license and they can drive. Parents, on the other hand, feel nervous. They know that inexperienced teen drivers face extra risks on the roads. They know how dangerous it is to get behind the wheel. That doesn’t mean they don’t want the teens to drive — they know how helpful and necessary it is — but they do worry that the kids will not be safe. It’s a legitimate concern. To show how dangerous things can get out there, here are six key facts about deadly accidents involving teenage drivers: The number of teen accidents resulting in death jumps by about 15% in October, making it the most dangerous month. Experts note that the increase stated above corresponds with the time of year that teens go back to school or college. They also may attend school-related events like dances or football games. For drivers who are 16 years old and in their first year of driving, the odds of getting into a fatal accident double after dark. The majority of nighttime accidents involving teens — deadly or otherwise — happen from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fatal wrecks occur often from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., making up about 32% of the total, or roughly a third of all deadly teen accidents. This number is far higher than it should be since teens only drive about 14% of their total miles during this same time. That shows that the risks are vastly higher at night. Reasons for accidents involve everything from driving too fast for conditions to running off of the road to driving under the influence. Understanding the reasons that accidents happen may help parents work to protect their children. Parents may consider not letting the child borrow the car after dark, for instance, or they could have strict rules about drug and alcohol use. These types of things can reduce the risk by focusing on major accident causes and trends. That doesn’t mean that teens will not get involved in accidents, of course. Thousands of crashes happen every year, and many of them don’t involve these risk factors. Teens crash during the day, when they’re driving the speed limit, and when they have never used drugs or alcohol. Inexperience plays a role at all hours of the day, and all it takes is one small mistake — looking down at the phone, for instance — to cause a serious wreck. Those who get hit by teen drivers may find themselves facing high medical bills and many other costs. They need to know all of their legal rights in Texas for moving forward after the crash.

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Elderly woman killed in car accident on Christmas Eve

The holiday season is all about family, which is what makes it so hard when a loved one passes away. That’s tragically what one family is dealing with after an elderly woman was killed in a car accident on Christmas Eve. Reports indicate that the woman, who was from Las Cruces, New Mexico, was driving near the underpass for Interstate 10. It was roughly 9:30 in the morning on Sunday. Her vehicle collided with another car when she got close to the underpass. Behind the wheel of that second car was a man from Texas. The woman did survive the initial crash and was taken to a local hospital. At around 11:30 in the morning, she passed away from her injuries in the medical center. She was 88 years old at the time. Before emergency crews got to the scene, other drivers had stopped. They found that the woman was unconscious and she was trapped in the car. One of the other drivers was able to get her out of the vehicle and give her care until the medical team arrived. The man driving the second car was from Houston, and he’s 28 years old. He had three passengers with him in the car. None of them suffered serious injuries. Police did respond and cited the man, saying he did not properly yield to oncoming cars, causing the deadly wreck. With all of the traveling around the holidays, out-of-state accidents are common. It’s very important for the families of those who are hit and tragically killed to know if they have a right to financial compensation. Source: US News, “New Mexico Woman Dies in Crash Near I-10; Texas Man Injured,” Dec. 24, 2017

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