San Antonio Legal Blog

Staying safe while driving on slippery roads

Snow, ice and rain can confound drivers on Texas roads and others throughout the country. However, there are steps that they can take to minimize their chances of getting into an accident. If possible, it may be best to stay home during periods of inclement weather. This can help a person avoid sliding off an icy road or otherwise being at risk of bodily injury.

While on the road, it is a good idea to maintain an adequate following distance as it can take longer to stop on a snowy or icy road. It is also important to maintain a consistent speed while driving in slippery conditions. If a driver has to speed up or slow down, it should be done in a controlled manner. This can make it easier to maintain traction on the road.

What should you do next after a denied workers' comp claim?

If you endured injuries in a workplace accident, you know how this type of incident can result in physical and financial suffering. Your work accident can leave you with both painful injuries and medical bills that you cannot manage on your own. This is why workers' compensation benefits are important during your time of recovery.

It can be devastating to learn that your claim for workers' compensation benefits came back denied. How will you pay your medical bills, especially if you can't work? You may feel devastated over the denial, but this is not the end of the road for you. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind, but you can continue your fight through other steps. You don't have to give up on getting the support you need.

Drowsy driving crashes go up after daylight saving time ends

Drivers in Texas can certainly benefit from the one hour of sleep they gain with the end of daylight saving time, but they should know that risks are involved. Changes in sleep patterns give rise to drowsiness, which can affect driving for at least a day or two after they occur. The end of DST also causes some people to stay up late the night before and think that the extra hour will make up for it, but this also leads to drowsiness.

Another problem is that with the end of DST, many drivers will be making their commute home in the dark. Night driving, as everyone knows, is fraught with dangers. It makes sense, then, that the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia reports that car crashes during the late afternoon commute are more frequent in the two weeks after DST ends than in the two weeks leading up to it.

Pedestrian deaths up even as overall fatalities decline

Even as the federal road safety agency celebrated a decline in overall deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, the statistics pointed to increased dangers for pedestrians and cyclists in Texas and across the country. According to the NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36,560 people were killed in auto accidents nationwide in 2018. This number reflects a 2.4% decline in accident fatalities, the second straight year of decreasing deaths. These positive signs come after several years of increasing deadly accidents as the economy recovered from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. However, pedestrian deaths did not show the same welcome trend with fatalities up 3.4%, reaching their highest point in 28 years.

According to the NHTSA, fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents are continuing to decline, with first-half statistics for 2019 showing a decrease of 3.4%. Around 6,280 pedestrians were killed on the roads in 2018 while cyclist deaths also showed an upswing of 6.3%. In addition, fatal trucking accidents also showed a slight rise of 1%. Trucking safety advocates drew attention to the fact that 4,951 people lost their lives in crashes involving large trucks, especially as political figures are pushing to loosen safety regulations for truckers. They argue that deregulating safety in the trucking industry could increase truck driver fatigue and lead to even more deadly collisions.

Petroleum refiner faces OSHA fines after worker fatality

OSHA has penalized a petroleum refiner and an industrial contractor with $106,080 in fines after a worker in a confined space lost air supply and died from asphyxiation. Workers in Texas may want to know how the two parties were negligent.

According to reports, the Alabama petroleum refiner failed to evaluate all hazards in the confined space and did not document all of the steps that are required to ensure the safety of workers in such spaces. It also failed to conduct periodic evaluations of the industrial contractor to ensure that the latter was fulfilling the obligations laid down by the Process Safety Management standard.

Study lists 15 states with teen drunk driving problem

Drunk driving is not uncommon among teenagers in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S. CDC data shows that 5.5% of teens drive after consuming alcohol, but the amount consumed may vary. Regardless, it can be argued that drinking and driving among teens has an impact on overall drunk driving fatality rates. This was precisely what some researchers at argue.

Their study was based on data from the CDC's High School Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Looking at how many teens reported drinking and driving at least once in the previous month, researchers made a list of 15 states with the highest percentages. Arkansas, Louisiana and Montana were at the top with 10.6%, 10% and 7.6% of high school students reportedly driving after drinking.

Understanding negligent entrustment

Given the number of motorists that utilize San Antoni's roads, car accidents are almost viewed as being an inevitability (despite the best efforts of local residents in trying to implement defensive driving practices). Indeed, according to information shared by the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 2.35 million Americans are injured in car accidents every year. It is when drivers do not attempt to drive defensively that those who suffer in accidents that they cause question their fitness for being behind the wheel. That questioning might even extend to who would allow such a driver to have access to a vehicle. 

The legal principle of negligent entrustment allows car accident victims to assign vicarious liability to the owners of the vehicles that caused their accidents (even if those owners were not driving their vehicles at the time). The logic supporting this doctrine is that vehicle owners should be responsible when loaning their cars out to others and not allow drivers who have proven themselves to be reckless or inexperienced behind the wheel to have access to their vehicles. 

Your return to work and the support available to you

After a work accident, you will need various types of support to get better and get back on your feet. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may require extensive time away to recover and need help getting back to work down the road. You will find it beneficial to learn about all of the benefits available to you and how you can get what you need.

Injured workers sometimes need help both in the immediate aftermath of a work injury and after their time of recovery as they try to reenter the workforce. Through your employer's workers' compensation coverage, you can get support that will allow you to get better and move forward. Knowing the types of benefits available to you will help you fight to maximize your claim and secure what you need during this difficult time.

Assigning liability for speeding truck drivers

If you are in business, then you know that the pressure to please your clients in San Antonio is ever-present. Thus, you may be willing to do whatever you can to meet (or even exceed) their expectations, even to the point of straining the resources available to you. Commercial freight carriers also experience this pressure. Their customer satisfaction is typically gauged by how quickly their drivers can complete their delivery routes. Due to the demand to make deliveries in a timely manner, carriers may enforce route times. Unfortunately, we here at The Law Offices of Miller & Bicklein, P.C. have seen the unintended consequences of such enforcement. 

Truck drivers who operate their vehicles as excessive speeds present a great danger to you and others required to share the road with them. You might view the decision of a truck driver to speed as the ultimate sign of negligence. These professionals are familiar with the capacities (and limitations) of their vehicles, and thus should know better than to operate them in a manner that is unsafe. Yet what if the decision to speed is not on that they make by choice, but rather compulsion? 

How can I drive safely on Halloween?

On Halloween, drivers must deal with a lot more pedestrian traffic than normal. While safety should be a priority under normal driving circumstances, it's a must on Halloween. Children can be unpredictable when trick-or-treating, and it's up to drivers to maintain safety no matter what. In this case, Consumer Reports offers the following tips so you and others will remain safe on this popular holiday. 

If you plan on attending any parties on Halloween, do not drink and drive. Being drunk greatly impairs your ability and puts everyone else on the road at risk. If you plan on drinking that night, use a ride-share service or call a cab. If those options aren't available, make arrangements to stay over at the home where the party is taking place or designate a sober driver to bring you home at the end of the night.

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