Car accidents are the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. But we can’t effectively prevent car accidents unless we know why they happen. The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek are committed to doing what we can to make Texas roads safer. Our families drive the same roads that yours do.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Texas
A driver doesn’t have to be drunk or speeding to cause a deadly accident. Sometimes all it takes is glancing down at a cell phone.
The leading cause of car accidents in Texas and across America is distracted driving. According to the state Department of Transportation, distracted driving is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 accidents in Texas – adding up to more than 100,000 crashes and 450+ deaths in 2014.
When you take your eyes off the road for any reason, the result can be disastrous. It’s scary to think that a simple, brief mistake can have such consequences, but it can.
Laws in Texas limit cell phone use while behind the wheel primarily to new drivers and bus drivers, but you should also avoid using your phone while driving. If it’s urgent, pull off to the side of the road to use your phone or, better yet, wait until you come to a parking lot.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Harris County had the dubious distinction of leading Texas in drunk-driving crashes in 2011 and 2012. In some years, the Houston area leads the nation in drunk driving accidents. The percentage of accident deaths due to alcohol-related causes in Harris County is twice the national average.
We don’t need to tell you why it’s a terrible idea to get behind the wheel after drinking. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs have delayed reaction times and diminished coordination. They can create a hazard for other drivers and fail to avoid hazards themselves. When a drunk driver causes an accident that hurts others, that driver needs to be held accountable.
Speed limits are established for a good reason – the faster you are driving, the less time you will have to react. If it takes you one second to react, your car will have gone twice as far in that second at 60 miles per hour as it would have at 30 miles per hour.
Speeding isn’t the only reckless behavior that can lead to a serious crash. When drivers disregard traffic signals, weave in and out of lanes and drive aggressively, they aren’t just putting themselves at risk – they’re risking the safety of everyone on the road.
When another driver’s recklessness causes you or a loved one serious harm in an accident, our attorneys know how to hold the driver accountable.
Adverse Weather Conditions
The posted speed limit is intended for ideal weather situations. In cases of rain, snow, heavy wind and more, you will need to adjust your speed accordingly. Slow down and put more space between your car and the car in front of you than you normally would. Especially on long trips, pay attention to the weather forecast and try to plan accordingly. There’s no need to drive in terrible weather if you don’t need to.
Another common cause of Texas car accident is driver error.
What Causes Driver Error?
No one’s perfect. We’ve all accidentally cut someone off on the road or cut it too close going through a yellow light. But they doesn’t mean we aren’t accountable for our actions and our mistakes.
Inattention plays a huge role in accidents. A quarter of all accidents are a result of cell phone use, according to the National Security Council. Texting while driving is a growing problem as we enter an era in which everyone has a cell phone.
Here are a few other examples of driver error and distraction that can lead to an accident:
- Changing lanes without looking
- Following too closely (a main factor in rear-end accidents)
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup
- Changing radio stations or fumbling with CDs or an iPod
- Turning to face passengers in the back seat
- Fatigued driving
- Reaching into the glove compartment
Like all areas of personal injury law, car accident cases in Texas come down to negligence. In the case of a car accident, a driver is negligent if they were at-fault for the crash. Texas is a “fault” state when it comes to car insurance, which means that the driver at fault and his or her insurance company are responsible for damages stemming from the accident.
When someone runs a red light and hits another car, it’s obvious who is at fault for the crash. But proving liability is not always as cut and dry as that. Liability can be shared among drivers. Other insurance companies might try to make the accident look like your fault when it was not so they can save money.
If you’ve been injured in a serious accident, you should speak with an attorney about seeking compensation. The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek have experience investigating accidents to determine liability. We work with experts and professionals when necessary to build the strongest cases for our clients.
Accident Causes Other Than Driver Error
Not every accident is the fault of one of the drivers involved. For example, perhaps your new brakes weren’t installed properly by the car shop, leading to an accident. A defective design in countless parts of a car can result in a serious accident that no driver could foresee.
When a defective part causes an accident, an attorney can pursue a products liability case on your behalf. Manufacturers have a legal and moral responsibility to offer safe products and to warn of any potential dangers. When they fail to do this and people get hurt or killed, they can and should be held accountable. The attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek can help.
In addition to mechanical defects, there are also environmental causes:
- Poorly designed roads
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
- Unmaintained streets
- Non-working street lights
- Lack of visibility due to poorly placed utility poles, trees, etc.
- Insufficient signage
Most of these claims involve liability on behalf of the state or local government. You cannot file a claim against a government the same way as you can against another driver, but there are options available to pursue justice.
Contact our accident attorneys today to learn more about your options if this has happened to you or someone you love.
We Are Houston Car Accident Attorneys
When you are hurt in a serious car accident in the Houston area, you need an attorney who knows the ins and outs of Texas car accident law. You need an attorney who can handle your case with thoroughness and professionalism so you can focus on getting your life back on track.