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Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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On today’s roads, drivers are more distracted than ever. Whether it is using the cell phone, feeding the kids or even putting makeup on, it is often difficult to keep your eyes and focus on the road when you are driving. Keeping your focus where it should be is easier said than done, but distracted driving consistently ends up as one of the most common causes of deaths caused by accidents.

The consequences of an accident caused by distraction may affect your life for years to come, so you should be aware of the three main types of distracted driving before you hit the road.

1. Manual distractions

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We have worried for years about people texting and driving and accidents related to it. Now, there is a growing concern for pedestrians who are texting and walking. There has been a large increase in injury due to pedestrians being distracted while walking.

How dangerous is walking and texting?

Safe Kids Worldwide found that nearly 40 percent of teens said they have either been hit by a vehicle or nearly hit by a vehicle while using their cell phone. Pedestrians who are paying more attention to their cell phone not only endanger themselves but others as well.  In 2010, there were almost two million pedestrian injuries caused by negligent cell phone users.

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Convenience is a high priority for everyone as we all try to fit ever more into each day. Often jobs require that more than one task be completed at the same time to maximize productivity. When this multi-tasking mindset extends to time behind the wheel it increases the number of accidents on our roads.

While cell phones take most of the blame for distracting drivers, texting or playing Pokemon Go! are not the only activities that take a driver’s attention away from the task at hand. In a 2015, insurance company survey, drivers admitted to activities from trying to read a book to changing clothes while driving.

It is largely because of this that in 2014 more than 430,000 people suffered injuries in crashes when a driver was distracted. The number killed in these needless crashes topped 3000 across the country. These numbers are only increasing.

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There has been another fatal trucking crash in central Texas, with what seems like a recent rash of 18-wheeler tractor trailers involved in serious if not fatal wrecks in the last few months. Yesterday, in San Marcos, Texas, a gravel hauler apparently failed to maintain control as motorists were slowing for traffic conditions. The gravel truck swerved and collided with two other tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles before slamming into the center wall and loosing its load.

It is not known at this point what caused the operator of the gravel truck to lose control – whether simply not being aware of the traffic conditions, being too fatigued to pay attention, or being distracted – but it is clear that one person lost their life and several others were injured. The local authorities dispatched a commercial vehicle crash team, but as we have seen in numerous 18-wheeler cases, a thorough and independent investigation by a highly trained accident reconstruction engineer can provide greater detail into the events. The earlier a team of investigators is retained can determine the amount of information to be gathered – not only at the crash site, but to include a detailed examination of the passenger and commercial vehicles involved, as well as securing evidence from driver logs and other company information.

The increase in commercial traffic in and around central and south Texas in the last few years should cause everyone driving on the roadways to be more vigilant. In many cases, however, being vigilant cannot prevent harm when a commercial vehicle careens out of control and into even the most cautious driver.

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As school is about to begin, more vehicles are about to enter the roadways. Whether in the form of individual cars taking students to school, car pools, school buses or new teenage drivers on the road for the first time, the fact is every August there are more vehicles, more situations to deal with and everyone should be more alert.

First, RESPECT SCHOOL ZONES. Not only are the traffic fines substantial in cost, but the cost of injuring a student walking to school is more than one can easily calculate or comprehend. Being aware of pedestrians, school patrols and even the slower moving traffic is a must to ensure your safety and the safety of those traveling near you.

Speed limits in general – not just near schools – need to be heeded. Young, aggressive drivers, and older drivers stressed with work and in a hurry to get there are both a substantial portion of the wrecks caused every year. Driving defensively and within the speed limit will get you where you need to be and increases the odds of getting there safely.

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Circadian Rhythms

A few weeks ago, we posted a piece on the new Hours of Service Regulations for drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs). The rules continue to change, due to accidents on our roadways which continue to occur and research being conducted which helps us to understand what factors, exactly, are causing these accidents. One theory which researchers have been studying for years is the concept of Circadian Rhythms.

Circadian Rhythms are related to our biological clocks. Our biological clocks regulate our bodies throughout our lifetimes, and, on a smaller scale, our Circadian Rhythms regulate and affect each day of our lives. Each of us has our own, individualized Circadian Rhythm, which is based on each individual’s lifestyle. Specifically, the term “Circadian Rhythm” refers to a person’s 24-hour clock. The concept is based on the idea that our bodies have internal clocks, which operate like…clock-work. Most of us operate on a 24-hour clock. During our 24-hour days, our bodies go through various processes, depending on what we are doing–waking up, eating, going to sleep, etc. The processes include sleeping patterns and digestion patterns. At what time bodily processes occur determine at which times throughout the day we are naturally inclined to be most alert or drowsy.

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According to a report by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), released this past May, Texas roads have become more deadly than they have been in previous years.

The TxDOT has analyzed the data from 2012, and the numbers are in for traffic accidents from 2012. From 2011 to 2012, auto accidents that resulted in fatalities rose almost 10%, from 3,067 to 3,399. In 45% of those cases, the people killed were not wearing a seatbelt or any type of restraint. In about 1/3 of those fatal accidents, a driver was under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Most DUI accidents occurred between 2 and 3 a.m, and the majority of those DUI accidents happened on Sunday.

Additionally, 467 people killed in auto accidents on Texas roads in 2012, about 14%, were motorcyclists, and 52% of the motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet.

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Hyundai Suspension Defect

The manufacturing company, Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, recently released a recall on some of its vehicles that were distributed in certain states. Some Hyundai Sonatas built between 2006 and 2010 and some 2006 to 2011 Azeras are being recalled, due to a faulty suspension system.

The defective suspension system in the cars could cause potential crashes. Due to the manner in which the vehicles were constructed, when road salt (put on the roads after a snowstorm) and water enter the rear suspension system, they cause corrosion that could lead to the rear control members being detached from the rear cross member. These important parts keep the car’s wheels securely attached to and aligned on the vehicle, and they help to maintain steady and manageable suspension while driving.

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Malfunctioning Jaguar hose clamp.

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC recently released a recall on some of their 2013 XF 2.0L GTDi cars, due to a malfunctioning hose clamp.

The defective hose clamp device is in the “charge air coolers” of the cars. A charge air cooler is also known as an “intercooler.” The intercooler cools certain elements used in the functions of the car’s engine.

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The National Highway Safety Administration recently released a recall on some new Ford model vehicles.

The Ford Motor Company has recalled some of its 2012-2013 BEV vehicles, which is Ford’s electric car, as well as some of its 2013 Focus ST vehicles, Ford’s sporty new hatchback.

The problem with the recalled vehicles is their front-side lights. There is a potential defect in the wiring system of their “High Intensity Discharge” headlights. The wiring defect can cause the headlights to be inoperative. Non-functioning headlights can cause the headlights and the vehicles to NOT be in conformity with Federal and State laws regarding vehicle safety.