The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) issued a statement on November 7, 2018, stating that it has officially been 18 years – since November 7, 2000 – since the last death-free day on Texas roadways. This is a statistic that is unique to Texas – no other state has posted so many consecutive years without a death-free day, for several different reasons. It can be frightening to hear such a statistic, but there are ways that you can give yourself the best chance to avoid being in an accident while you travel in Texas.
Minimize Distracted Driving
One of the most often seen factors in fatal road accidents is distracted driving, whether texting or other types of behaviors. Statistics report that roughly one in five accidents on Texas roads involves distracted driving, with over 3,000 fatalities and serious injuries reported in 2017 related to this specific type of car crash. It is very easy to imagine that you will somehow avoid the potential negative consequences, but over time, the odds catch up with everyone. If you cause an accident while you are driving distracted, you could wind up being held liable for the injuries you cause, and that can add up, even with insurance.
Be advised that Texas passed a law in 2017 making texting while driving (including reading, writing or sending a text message) a traffic violation. This may, in some cases, leave you open to a claim of negligence per se, which can increase your liability. Normally, in order for a plaintiff to hold a defendant liable for their injuries, they must show that they breached the duty to exercise reasonable care and that the harm they suffered was caused directly by the plaintiff. In cases where it can be shown that the defendant broke a law and harmed a member of the class designed to be protected by that law, such as the general populace under a texting-while-driving ban, negligence per se is often assumed, meaning that a breach of the duty of reasonable care can be inferred and does not have to be proven.
No Drinking and Driving – No Exceptions
By far the highest contributor to roadway deaths in Texas is driving while drunk or high. Texas has, on average, a higher rate of drunk driving and a higher rate of fatalities, especially among younger adults (6.7 deaths per 100,000 population compared with 10.0 deaths per 100,000 in drivers aged 21-34). While no group has a monopoly on drunk driving, younger people do tend to be less cognizant of the potential dangers simply because they rarely have to be.
If you are arrested and charged with drinking and driving, you will have to face going through the criminal process, but you can also be found civilly liable, especially if you cause the death of another person. Wrongful death and negligence are common civil cases that arise out of drunk driving incidents, though there are many other causes of action that might be brought depending on the facts of your individual accident. Driving under the influence can lead to a host of criminal and civil problems, but many people are unaware that civil liability can come out of a drunk driving incident. It can be a powerful reason to think twice before setting foot behind the wheel.
Call a New Braunfels Auto Accident Lawyer
While we all have to work together to give Texas its first death-free day in 18 years, you can also protect yourself as best you can. If you are in an auto accident through no fault of your own, it may be a good idea to contact an attorney to advise you of your interests. The skilled New Braunfels car crash attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to sit down with you and try to do just that. Call us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a consultation.