A Houston pastry chef was among those injured in a recent alleged drunk driving incident when a motorist crashed into a crowd at South by Southwest while trying to evade arrest.
Drunk driving accident lawyers in Houston know it is frequently the clouded decisions a driver makes after an initial incident, such as a traffic stop or fender bender, that result in serious or fatal injury. Friends held a fundraiser at Big Star Bar to help the student and single mother defray medical costs and lost wages while missing time away from work to recover. Hopefully, they have also spoken to a personal injury attorney experienced in handling workers' compensation claims and transportation incidents that occur on the job.
Nearly one-third of all fatal traffic accidents involve an intoxicated motorist, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2012, 10,322 people were killed in collisions involving alcohol, an increase of nearly 5 percent compared to the 9,865 traffic fatalities blamed on alcohol in 2011.
All the stats boil down to a sobering fact: Somewhere in America someone is killed in a drunk-driving collision every 51 minutes.
Fatal Texas car accidents often involve alcohol
Nowhere in the U.S. do more traffic fatalities involve alcohol than in Texas, where 1,498 of 3,398 traffic fatalities involved alcohol in 2012, accounting for nearly half of all road deaths.
In a separate incident, KPRC Houston reported a 42-year-old semi-truck driver is charged with intoxication manslaughter after a recent deadly incident in southwest Houston, where authorities say he ran a red light in a tractor-trailer and slammed into an SUV, killing a father of four. The station reports the truck driver's criminal record includes charges for possession of marijuana and criminal mischief.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is charged with improving motor-carrier safety in the United States, the agency has come under increasing fire as ineffective. Nearly 15 years after its formation, FMCSA is still instituting a drug-testing database and has yet to implement common-sense regulations that mandate data recorders and speed limiters to track compliance with interstate speed limits and hours-of-service limitations.
But when it comes to the dangers of motorists under the influence of drugs, commercial carriers are not the only focus of safety advocates. Increasingly permissive views regarding marijuana, and the prevalence of potent prescription narcotics have authorities increasingly concerned about drug use among the motoring public.
Prescription drugs and Texas auto accidents
As the NHTSA reported in 2010, an increasing number of drivers involved in fatal collisions are under the influence of prescription or illegal narcotics at the time of the wreck.
"If you are taking any drugs that might impair your ability to drive safely, then you need to put common sense and caution to the forefront, and give your keys to someone else," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "It doesn't matter if its drugs or alcohol, if you're impaired, don't drive."
Those involved in a serious or fatal collision with an impaired driver should seek consultation with a Houston law firm experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.
Accident lawyers in Houston can help after a collision. Call today at (800) 632-9404 to schedule your free consultation with Hagood & Neumann.