Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable for Crashes

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Dallas Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer | Car Accident Attorney in TxOne of the most dangerous traffic laws a driver can violate is the Texas law against driving while intoxicated (DWI).1 Despite the very obvious and serious risks of DWI, safety advocacy organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has reported2 that Texas has the most deaths due to drunk driving than any other state in the U.S. In addition to tragic fatalities, thousands of people in Texas are left with serious and life-changing injuries following drunk driving crashes.

The only good news for drunk driving victims is that the law gives you the right to hold drunk drivers accountable for their negligent behavior by filing a personal injury claim to seek compensation for all of your losses. This case is separate from any criminal proceedings that may be initiated against the drunk driver. In order to recover financially, however, you must present evidence that they were negligent in violating a safety rule–in this case, the DWI law.

Evidence Against Drunk Drivers

There are many types of evidence that can be used to prove that a drunk driver was violating the law and was negligent in causing your collision and injuries. The following are only some examples of common evidence in a drunk driving case:

  • Results of a breath or blood test performed by police officers indicating that the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit.
  • Testimony from the police officers on the scene regarding the drunk driver’s performance on field sobriety tests (FSTs) or any other observed signs of intoxication.
  • Credit card receipts from bars or restaurants prior to the crash.
  • Witness statements regarding the drunk driver’s intoxicated behavior.
  • Video surveillance footage showing the driver exhibiting common signs of drunk driving, such as weaving, swerving, or driving the wrong way.

Call to Find out More About How our Dallas Car Collisions Attorneys Can Help You

At Clements & Clements in Dallas, our drunk driving crash lawyers know how to gather evidence to prove that a drunk driver was negligent and caused your injuries. To learn more about your rights as a crash victim, call us for free at 214-827-1122 today.

1http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.49.htm
2http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats/Texas.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

Aggressive Driving Leads to Collisions

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Dallas Auto Accident Attorney | Aggressive Driver in DallasEveryone gets impatient at times on the road. Maybe you are in a hurry or traffic is moving slower than you would like to travel and impatience in such situations is understandable in our fast-paced society. However, too many drivers allow their impatience to escalate to extremely dangerous aggressive driving behaviors.

Aggressive driving is a serious epidemic in Dallas and throughout the United States and puts the entire community at risk. The Foundation for Traffic Safety1 found that aggressive driving behaviors play a part in causing over 50 percent of fatal traffic crashes. For this reason, anyone who engages in aggressive driving and causes collisions and injuries should be held fully accountable under the law for their actions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),2 “aggressive driving” occurs when a driver violates one or more traffic safety laws in a manner that endangers other motorists or their property. Some of the more common aggressive driving behaviors can include breaking Traffic Safety Rules made to protect us all from danger: 

  • Excessive speeding
  • Tailgating or following too closely
  • Dangerous lane changes to weave through other traffic
  • Passing on shoulders or in no-pass zones
  • Running stop signs or red lights
  • Cutting off other vehicles

Contact a Dallas Auto Collision Attorney for a Free Consultation Today

There is no excuse for allowing impatience to lead to aggressive driving that causes crashes and injuries. At the law firm of Clements & Clements, we help car crash victims in and around the Dallas area hold aggressive drivers fully liable for their unacceptable actions. If you have been the victim of a crash caused by an aggressive driver, we will fight for your rights to recover for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and more. Call today at 214-827-1122 to learn more.

References:
1https://www.aaafoundation.org/aggressive-driving
2http://www.nhtsa.gov/Aggressive

 

Alcohol-Related Trucking Collisions

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Dallas Truck Accidents Attorney - Clements & ClementsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control,[1] collisions involving drunk drivers are responsible for roughly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. When the wreck involves a large commercial truck, the risk of fatalities is even higher.

Most states, including Texas, have adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration[2] regulations for commercial drivers and alcohol, which set a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol concentration limit. This is half the BAC limit for non-commercial drivers in most states. The FMCSA rules also stipulate that commercial drivers may not operate a commercial vehicle within four hours of using alcohol.

If a truck driver is driving while drunk or on drugs and causes a crash, there could be multiple parties responsible. In addition to the driver, the trucking company may be held liable if the driver is an employee. Even if the driver is self-employed and works for the company as an independent contractor, the company may still be held liable in certain circumstances.

Alcohol and Drug Tests for Dallas Commercial Drivers

When truck drivers make the decision to get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated, they put everyone else on the road with them at risk of serious injury. Big rigs require every ounce of the driver’s skill and attention to operate safely under normal conditions. When drivers attempt to operate them after having a few drinks, the results can be catastrophic.

Commercial drivers may be required to submit to alcohol testing randomly, after a collision, where there is reasonable suspicion, or as a condition of returning to duty following an alcohol policy violation. In addition to alcohol testing, the FMCSA regulations allow for drug testing in the following circumstances: as a condition of employment, where there is reasonable suspicion, after a crash and as a condition of returning to duty following a drug policy violation. The following drugs are often screened: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP). When pulled over on suspicion of DUI, commercial drivers also face harsher penalties for refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test. Under FMCSA rules, refusal to take a blood alcohol test is the equivalent of pleading guilty to DUI.

Call an Experienced Dallas Truck Collision Attorney

Trucking wrecks caused by driving while drunk or on drugs are caused by individuals who failed to Texas safety rules. If you have been involved in a collision with a truck driver who has consumed alcohol, it is necessary to speak to a skilled Dallas truck collision attorney to hold those responsible for such crashes fully accountable, so they do not continue their reckless behavior. At Clements & Clements, our team of truck crash lawyers are aggressive advocates for our clients, working tirelessly to obtain full compensation for the physical,
financial and emotional toll the wreck takes on you and your family. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas truck collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References
[1] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

Memory Loss After a Dallas Auto Crash

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lost memory auto accident | Dallas personal injury lawyerA traumatic brain injury[1] can occur when the head is stricken, suddenly jerked, or penetrated by a foreign object. The injury can be in the range of mild to severe. During a mild brain injury, the loss of full conscious awareness will persist for a short amount of time. When a severe brain injury is inflicted there will be memory loss or extended unconsciousness for a prolonged period of time after the injury was inflicted. 1.4 million Americans are reported to sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, 280,000 of which are caused by auto collisions.  

Memory Loss Linked to Car Wrecks

One of the most frequently stated complaints from survivors of brain injury is reduced memory capacity. Statistics suggest that 70% of TBI survivors continue to experience memory problems 1-year post injury. Although the degree and nature of memory impairments varies in each situation, there are common patterns. Types of memory loss[2] including:

  •  Immediate Memory (also known as working memory). This type of memory involves the processing of sensory information via the five senses. It also includes the ability to remember a small piece of information for a short period of time (for example, memorizing an address long enough to type it into a GPS device).
  •  Sort-term Memory. This type of memory allows us to process and remember information for hours or days at a time (ex. Remembering an appointment you have later in the week).
  • Long-term Memory. This type can be broken down into several sub- types, such as: episodic memory (remembering life events, such as birthdays), semantic memory (remembering facts), procedural memory (remembering how to perform tasks like riding a bike), prospective memory (remembering to do something later).

The type of memory impacted depends on the unique head injury. The brain is an incredibly complex structure, and each injury is different. Sometimes a person will lose their immediate memory for a time after an auto crash while another person may lose their ability to remember past life event

 Contact a Dallas Auto Collision Attorney

If you or someone you love was injured in an auto collision and suffered memory loss it is important to speak to an experienced Dallas auto wreck attorney as soon as possible.  Your memory loss may be temporary, but in many instances victims of traumatic brain injury suffer life-long difficulties and the individual responsible should be held accountable for their actions.  An experienced Dallas car wreck attorney can review your case and determine what individual or business entity may be responsible for your injuries, damages and even lost wages. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas auto collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

 References
[1] http://www.brainandspinalcord.org/brain-injury/motor-vehicle-accident.html
[2] http://www.brainline.org/content/2012/01/what-exactly-does-the-mild-in-mild-traumatic-brain-injury-mean.html

Can a Passenger Help to Avoid a Collision?

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Auto Collisions & Car PassengersMost everyone knows what to do when they are the driver on Dallas roads.  Drive safely.  Don’t consume alcohol or even drive under the influence of some prescription medications.  The list goes on and on.  But what if you are a passenger in a vehicle? Safe driving does not always stop with the driver especially when arriving safely is always the goal for everyone in the car.

Here’s what you can do as a passenger to help avoid being injured in a car wreck:

  • Wear your seatbelt.

Seatbelt use is mandatory[1] in the state of Texas.  Wearing a seatbelt has proven to reduce the potential for injury in many crashes. Some drivers rely upon the airbag and do not buckle up. This is a mistake because air bags are designed as secondary to seatbelts.

  • Avoid being a distraction.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car collisions in the United States. According to Distraction.gov[2], crashes involving distracted drivers injure more than 400,000 people each year.  If you are a passenger, do not be a distraction to the driver while they need to keep their eyes on the road. You can have a discussion with the driver and also aid in navigation and traffic identification, but avoid those situations where you become the focal point and not the road.

  • Keep a calm environment.

Listing to the radio or music is fine but avoid extremely loud music or a boisterous environment for the driver. Being able to hear horns and sirens is an important part of roadway safety.

  • Limit your criticisms.

As a passenger, you may offer helpful advice occasionally, but criticism can cause a dangerous distraction for the driver.  Seeing a roadway hazard that the driver has not noticed may provide a reason to alert them, but save any criticisms of a minor mistake until later when you have reached your destination safely.

  • Limit your own cell phone use.

Limit your cell phone use while you are a passenger in another person’s car. The driver may be tempted to be included in the conversation thus diverting their attention from the roadway where it is needed. If you can, limit your telephone conversations to those that are absolutely necessary.

  • Do not let the driver text.

Texting and driving is proven to be one of the most dangerous activities. Studies of shown that a distracted driver can be almost as dangerous as someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Do not let the driver text while driving. If necessary, offer to help your driver by texting for them or reading their text to them.

  • Help with navigation. 

Many people use their cell phones to navigate to their ultimate destination. GPS has been an incredible development but when a driver takes their eyes off the highway to look at their cell phone screen even for directions it creates a dangerous situation. Most cell phones will offer speech navigation which is much better than looking at the screen. A passenger may be able to help with navigation by pointing out in advance turns that need to be net made and also making sure lanes are open and your driver signals their intentions.

  • Take on co-pilot duties.

Your risk as a passenger is the same as that of the driver’s and both of you can take steps to ensure your safety. Offer to adjust the sound system or the air conditioner and help the driver avoid looking at the controls, but make changes only when necessary. You can help by searching for something in the console or on the floor when the driver needs it as a few seconds of inattention to the road ahead can result in a rear end collision. 

Contact a Dallas Auto Collision Attorney 

Even if you and the driver take all necessary precautions, you may still be involved in a serious car crash.  If you are a passenger in an auto collision, the experienced auto wreck lawyers at Clements & Clements will review your case in a free consultation and determine the amount of compensation that you are owed for your injuries and damages.  To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas auto collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References

[1] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.614.html
[2] http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

Dallas Auto Collisions And Chest Injuries

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closeup of a young caucasian doctor man observing a chest radiogChest injuries after a Dallas car collision are common and can be severe or even life threatening.  While seatbelt use certainly saves lives, seatbelts can also cause chest injuries to people who are involved in auto collisions.  In a crash, the seat belt tightens in order to forcefully hold the person in place. This can cause several different types of injuries, including abrasions, bruising, fractures to the rib and sternum, injuries to the organs and intestinal injuries. It is important to seek medical help when a chest injury from a seat belt is suspected. While these injury types may appear to heal fairly quickly, they can indicate much more severe issues including internal bleeding or torn cartilage, muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Dallas Seat Belts and Chest Injuries

The most common symptoms of chest injuries from seat belts[1] include bruising and tenderness at the injury site. There may also be visible bruising and abrasions. If there is a seat belt mark across the abdomen, the person may have also suffered abdominal or intestinal injuries, which should be addressed as these injury types could be fatal if not addressed.

Symptoms of a Minor Chest Injury Caused by a Collision

With minor chest injuries, people may experience pain in their chest wall when they try to move their shoulder, arm, trunk or rib cage. For days afterwards, you may feel chest pain when you breathe deeply, lie on the area, sneeze or cough. While a minor chest injury may not need medical treatment, it is still a good idea to see a doctor to make certain the injury is not something more serious.

Symptoms of a Major Chest Injury

If a person who suffered a chest injury is having trouble breathing and is experiencing severe pain, they may have suffered serious injuries, including damage to the lungs, blood vessels or heart. They may also demonstrate symptoms of shock or extreme shortness of breath. This can happen when a person has experienced a blunt force trauma to their sternum or a sternum fracture[2] in a collision. Blows to the front of the chest can also cause injuries to the lungs or trachea. If the impact is lower or to the side of the chest, the person may also have injuries to their liver or spleen.

Fractured Ribs and Sternums Caused by Safety Belts

Fractured ribs and fractured sternums are quite common with seatbelt injuries in car crashes. Rib fractures may be very painful and take weeks to heal. The connective tissue and cartilage between the ribs may also be torn. The symptoms of a rib fracture include severe and sharp pain in the injured area, pain that worsens when the person coughs or breathes deeply and sharper pain when lying on the area.

Sternal fractures may cause tenderness and severe pain over the injury site. People may have trouble breathing deeply and may experience increased pain when they try to do so. Sternal fractures may also cause injuries to organs underneath the sternum. In some cases, a fractured sternum is also associated with fractures to the ribs or injuries to the spinal cord as well.

Contact a Dallas Auto Collision Lawyer

If you are involved in a car collision and suffer a chest injury, it is very important to seek immediate medical attention. A doctor can give you a thorough medical examination in order to determine exactly what injuries were caused and then provide appropriate treatment. Failing to get immediate care may make injuries worse. In some cases, some injury types may be fatal if not treated. If the collision was caused by another driver’s negligent operation of their vehicle, you may want to get help from a car wreck attorney after you have received help from medical professionals. An experienced Dallas car wreck attorney can review your case and determine what individual or business entity may be responsible for your injuries, damages and even lost wages. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas auto collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.614.html
[2] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/826169-overview

Use Your Smartphone After a Dallas Auto Collision

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Close up of a young woman's hand typing text message on her smarAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. The Texas Department of Transportation[1] provides that one in five crashes involves driver distraction.

Distracted driving[2] is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.  There are three main types of Dallas distractions:

  • Visual: Driver taking their eyes off the road;
  • Manual: Driver their hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive: Individuals taking their mind off of driving.

Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technology such as a navigation system can also be a source of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distractions.

Because smartphones are responsible for distracted driving collisions at an alarming rate, most insurance companies recommend that drivers turn off smartphones while driving.  When used safely in this manner, that same smartphone could turn into an asset if you are involved in a Dallas automobile crash.

How Can Your Smartphone Help After a Collision in Dallas?

In the minutes following an automobile collision, it can be difficult to think clearly or decide what steps to take first.  But properly documenting what happened and who was involved in the collision is critical in order to protect your rights.  In order to make sure that you document all of the necessary information, you likely have all that you need already; your smartphone. After being involved in an auto crash you can:

  • Debris: Take photographs of any debris or other material that is on the road.  Be sure to include a photograph of where the debris is located in relation to your vehicle as well as any other vehicle at the scene of the crash.
  • Damage: Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle as well as any other vehicle at the scene.  Try to take some pictures of the entire scene with all of the vehicles included if you are able to do so in a safe manner and to take pictures from different angles. It may also be important to take photographs that show the location of any vehicles in connection with any road signs, stop lights and the like. If the air bags deployed, this should also be documented by taking photos.
  • Accident Checklists: Consumer Reports [3] recommends several smartphone apps to be used as a checklist after a collision.  You may also be able to receive a recommendation for an app from your insurance company or perhaps even an app from their company.

Dallas Automobile Collision Lawyers

If you are involved in an automobile collision, you may be able to use your smartphone to take important photographs and to collect necessary information.  After you have contacted the local authorities and your insurance company, it is important to speak to a Dallas car collision attorney. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas auto collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] http://www.txdot.gov/driver/laws/cellphones.html
[2] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/
[3] http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/07/smart-phone-apps-that-can-help-after-a-car-crash/index.htm

Facial Fractures Caused By Dallas Auto Collisions

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Facial Fractures Caused by Dallas Auto CollisionsA fracture is a broken bone and a facial fracture[1] refers to any injury that results in a broken bone or bones of the face.  The most common cause of facial fractures and serious cosmetic injuries to the face is motor vehicle collisions and in the state of Texas, there is a statewide crisis involving vehicle crashes.  The Texas Department of Transportation[2] provides that in 2014:

  • 1 person was killed every 2 hours 29 minutes
  • 1 person was injured every 2 minutes 13 seconds
  • 1 reportable crash occurred every 66 seconds

In a Dallas car collision, injuries to the face are often caused by the steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, windshield, side window, car seats or shattered glass. These facial injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises; to a broken nose or broken jaw; to serious laceration and fractures; partial or total vision loss, severe burns and nerve damage; and broken teeth or other serious dental injuries.

Symptoms of Facial Fractures

  • Facial Bone Fractures: People who have suffered a facial bone fracture may experience tenderness at the injury site as well as swelling and bruising. When a person’s nose is fractured, he or she may also have a deformity to the shape of their nose as well as a nosebleed. Serious fractures of the middle part of the nasal bone may also fracture the bones on the inside of the nose. When this happens, the person’s brain may be exposed to the outside environment. People who have this occur may have ongoing nosebleeds or a nasal discharge that is clear.
  • Fractured Jaw: The symptoms of a fractured jaw may include pain, swelling, bruising to the underside of the tongue and problems with being able to bring the teeth together. When a person has a fracture located in the middle part of the face, they may also have trouble with bringing their teeth together, have clear nasal discharges, visual difficulties, bruising and the ability to move the bones in the area. Cheek fractures may show such symptoms as a flattened or depressed area in the cheek, difficulties with vision, problems with moving the jaw, a change in the feeling in the affected cheek and the presence of blood in the side of the eye.
  • Orbital Fractures[3]: People who have orbital (eye socket) fractures may have eyes that appear sunken. They may also complain of having double vision and have a changed sensation around the affected eye. When the temporomandibular joint is dislocated, the person may not be able to close their mouth and may have a jaw that is out of line. The joint is located in front of the ear where the temporal bone and the jaw are connected.

Contact a Dallas Facial Fracture Injury Attorney

When a car collision causes a facial fracture, an experienced Dallas auto collision attorney can review your case and determine what individual or business entity may be responsible for your injuries, damages and even lost wages. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas auto collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/facial-fracture?print=true
[2] http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/trf/crash-statistics/2014/01.pdf
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3324224/

Dallas Trucking Collisions Caused By Driver Error

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Smashed Truck WindowThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Large Truck Crash Causation Study[1] reviewed 141,000 large truck injury and fatal crashes.  The collisions reviewed during the course of the Administration’s study demonstrated that truck driver error was responsible for a majority of the crashes as follows:

  • Non-Performance: The driver fell asleep, was disabled by a heart attack or seizure, or was physically impaired for another reason.
  • Recognition: The driver was inattentive, was distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle or failed to observe the situation adequately for some other reason.
  • Decision: The driver was driving too fast for conditions, misjudged the speed of other vehicles, or followed other vehicles too closely.
  • Performance: The driver panicked, overcompensated, or exercised poor directional control.

The national large truck crash causation study set forth different types of driver error resulting in truck collisions including:

  • Driver Fatigue Causing Trucking Collisions

Fatigue leads truck drivers to fall asleep, be inattentive, misjudge gaps, ignore the signs of impending dangers, panic, freeze, and under- or overreact to a situation.  The FMCSA study provides that fatigue accounted for 13% of the collisions, including 18,000 large trucks.

  • Hours of Service Rules

Federal regulations (called the “hours of service rules”) set forth rules to ensure that truck drivers obtain the necessary rest and restorative sleep in order to drive safely. Under these rules, truck drivers can work a maximum of 14 hours per day, during which time they can only drive for a maximum of 11 hours. The driver must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours prior to the start of a shift. The driver also cannot drive after being on duty for 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. Pressure to continue working from a carrier accounted for 10% of the large truck crashes involving 16,000 commercial trucks.

  • Drug Use by Truck Drivers

The FMCSA study provides that truck driver’s use of illegal drugs accounted for 2% of the total accidents or 3,000 trucks while over-the-counter drug usage accounted for 17% of the collisions or 25,000 trucks.

Drivers may not use any controlled substances unless prescribed by a licensed physician who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties and has determined that the drug use will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Federal regulations[2] require trucking companies to:

  • test their drivers for alcohol and drug use as a condition of employment, and
  • require periodic random tests of the drivers while they are on duty and after an accident involving a fatality.

Contact a Dallas Truck Collision Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in a collision with a large truck, you may have sustained life changing disabilities as a result of your injuries.  It is important to speak to a Dallas truck collision attorney. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas truck collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-analysis-brief
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/drug-alcohol-testing/overview-drug-and-alcohol-rules

Dallas Trucking Collisions Caused By Brake Or Tire Failure

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Concrete MixerA study sponsored by Department of Transportation[1](DOT) found that 29.4% of all large truck crashes involved brake failure, brakes out of adjustment, or other brake-related issues.  If you are injured in a Dallas truck collision where brake or tire failure either caused or contributed to the accident, it is important to speak to an experienced truck accident attorney.

Defective Truck Brakes

Brakes in tractor-trailers are different than those systems found in passenger vehicles. While the differences are many, one main difference is that many tractor trailers have air brake systems in which the various components work together to create and maintain a supply of compressed air that is used to transmit pressure from the drivers’ control to the service brake. The air brake systems can include the service brake system, the parking brake system, and the emergency brake system.  When truck brakes malfunction, blame may be placed on several different individuals or business entities including:

The Brake Manufacturer:  The federal government has imposed strict regulations on the safety of truck braking[2] systems. A truck must be able   to: develop a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck’s   weight), decelerate to a stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate specific to its size, and meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements.

If truck brakes do not meet these federal standards, a victim of a trucking crash may have a claim against the manufacturer. Usually, these claims come in two forms: (1) the manufacturer did not design the brakes properly or (2) the brakes were correctly designed, but some defect occurred in the manufacturing process.

Drivers and Trucking Companies: In some instances, actions of the driver or trucking company can cause the brakes to fail.

Depowering the front brakes. Some owner-operator truck drivers deliberately unhook or depower the front brakes on the truck and rely only upon the brakes of the trailer and downshifting to stop or slow the vehicle. They do this in order to minimize the expense of tire and brake wear and replacement costs.

Improper loading. If the truck load is not evenly distributed, the brakes may overheat and malfunction.

Trucking Collisions Caused by Tire Issues

There are many different causes of truck tire failure including:

  • Defective tires. In some cases, a tire manufacturer produces and sells a defective truck tire.  Those defective products may or may not be recalled by the federal government.
  • Failure to maintain tires. A trucking company may not maintain the tires properly.  In other cases, truck drivers may use tires that fail to meet the minimum requirements or mix bias and radial tires on the same axle.
  • Failure to perform pre-trip tire inspections. Sometimes a trucking collision is caused by a failed tire that the driver should have noticed in the required pre-trip inspection of the truck. Improper tire pressure can lead to deterioration and eventual catastrophic failure. A tire that is worn or damaged may fail as a blowout and result in loss of control of the vehicle.

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one are involved in a collision with a large truck, where brake or truck failure may have caused or contributed toward the crash, it is important to speak to a skilled Dallas truck collision attorney. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Dallas truck collision lawyers, call Clements & Clements today at 214-827-1122 or send us an email through our online contact form.

References:

[1] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-ltccs-analysis-series-using-ltccs
[2] https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/393.40