Regardless of what the traffic reports say, these incidents usually aren’t “accidents.” An accident implies that car crashes are unavoidable incidents that were inevitable. But that’s usually not the case. Driver error causes over 98 percent of vehicle collisions in Houston. The most common kinds of driver errors are outlined below.
A Houston personal injury attorney could obtain compensation in court if this error were negligence or a lack of care. Compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.
In 2019, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Houston’s ambitious Vision Zero plan. It aims to end traffic fatalities by 2030. Right now, that goal looks like little more than a pipe dream. In 2021, 330 people died in traffic collisions in Houston. Bayou City is the largest city in the Lone Star State in terms of both area and population. However, that fatality figure is substantially larger than the figures in other large cities, like San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth.
As mentioned, driver error causes almost all of these collisions. The specific causes in Houston include:
- Aggressive Driving: Speeding, which is a factor in about a third of fatal vehicle collisions in Houston, increases the risk of a wreck and the force in a collision. Other dangerous forms of aggressive driving include tailgating, turning unsafely, and ignoring red lights or other traffic control devices.
- Impaired Driving: As mentioned, drunk driving is still a serious problem, despite a decades-long law enforcement and judicial campaign to eliminate it. Drugged driving, usually driving under the influence of marijuana, is an even larger issue in some jurisdictions, especially those decriminalizing it. Other forms of impaired driving include operating a motor vehicle while distracted or drowsy.
Defective products, mostly defective tires, cause most of the rest of the car wrecks in Texas. A Houston personal injury attorney can hold manufacturers strictly liable for the damages their defective products cause. There’s no need to prove negligence or fault in these cases.
The car crash fatality rate would be even higher if it weren’t for advanced airbags, engineering, and other changes. Motorcycle, scooter, and bicycle riders have no such protections. So, the fatality rate for these riders is about thirty-five times higher than the fatality rate for four-wheel vehicle occupants.
Left hook and right cross collisions are the most common kinds of four-wheel vehicle on two-wheel-vehicle collisions in Houston.
A left hook wreck occurs when a tortfeasor (negligent driver) makes an unprotected left turn against traffic and doesn’t see an oncoming motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle. These wrecks are more common than ever. Many people drive large vehicles, like pickups and SUVs, which limit driver visibility.
As for right cross collisions, when motorists turn right, they usually only look to the left. Therefore, they may not see a two-wheel vehicle next to them, especially if the victim was riding a bicycle in a designated bicycle lane with concrete pillars separating it from the other lanes.
As mentioned above, speed is a major factor in vehicle collisions. Speed is even more of a factor in vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions. At impact speeds under 25mph, the pedestrian death rate is under 10 percent. The fatality rate catapults to 90 percent at speeds over 55mph.
Many pedestrian accident victims are children. Usually, October 31 is the deadliest day of the year regarding vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions.
Contrary to popular myth, compensation is usually still available even if the pedestrian was jaywalking across the street. If both parties were at fault for a wreck, perhaps because the driver wasn’t watching the road and the pedestrian didn’t look both ways before crossing the street, jurors must divide fault between them on a percentage basis.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, even if the victim was 49 percent responsible for the accident, the tortfeasor is liable for a proportionate share of damages.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart & Boundas LLP. We routinely handle matters in Harris County and nearby jurisdictions.