Archive for February, 2013

Crossing guard knocked down by car near Condit Elementary in Bellaire

A crossing guard working outside Condit Elementary School in Bellaire was struck and injured by a car yesterday. Bellaire Police Department say the driver of a Cadillac made an illegal right turn and hit the crossing guard, throwing her onto the hood of the vehicle. The crossing guard was conscious as she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. The driver of the Cadillac was issued a citation for causing the accident. KHOU’s web site has video of the aftermath of the pedestrian accident.

Condit Elementary crossing guard hit by car in Bellaire Texas

The injured crossing guard is assisted by paramedics

If you are searching for a Houston personal injury attorney to help you resolve your pedestrian accident injury claim, Smith & Hassler has four trial attorney who are Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law. Clients are represented on a contingency fee basis, meaning no fee unless you recover a settlement or judgment.

Texas Driver Responsibility Program Causes Unexpected Consequences

25
Feb 2013
By:

According to the Texas Tribune, lawmakers are pushing to end a program in Texas called the Driver Responsibility Program. The reason: the program is having some unexpected negative consequences that are actually making drivers less safe.

Our Houston, TX accident attorneys believe that lawmakers need to act in a way to improve the safety of the road for every driver. Because the Texas Driver Responsibility Program is having the opposite of its intended impact and may actually be putting drivers at risk, we urge lawmakers to move forward on plans to put an end to the unsuccessful legislative program.

The Texas Driver Responsibility Program

The Texas Diver Responsibility program was signed into law in 2003. The purpose was to deter certain types of dangerous behavior. Driving with no insurance, driving on a suspended license, driving drunk and certain other types of behavior were singled out by the Driver Responsibility Program.

Drivers who committed an offense that was included in the program were subject to additional surcharges, above and beyond the standard fines and penalties. The surcharges often totaled in the thousands of dollars for serious offenses and drivers received points for lesser offenses that were added to their license. Drivers received notices of the surcharges assessed to them and were expected to pay within 105 days.  The intent was for the money to go toward trauma centers to provide support and funding for these centers. If drivers didn’t pay up, they would end up having their license suspended.

Unfortunately, a lot of drivers did not pay. In fact, there are now an estimated 1.3 million drivers who have had a license suspended as a result of a failure to pay their surcharges under the Driver Responsibility Program. Of course, this creates a compounding cycle because the drivers are now committing the offense of driving on a suspended license which can result in them being hit with even more surcharges.

Another unintended consequence of the legislation was that people didn’t want to take DUI pleas any more because they didn’t want to be hit with the huge surcharge. Prosecutors were forced to take cases to trial or to plead DUI charges down to lesser offenses, so the DUI conviction rate went down because of the Driver Responsibility Program.

Considering A Change

The program, while it may have been well-intentioned, clearly did not work as it should. Drivers are actually in greater danger as a result of the program for several reasons. First, with a lower rate of DUI convictions, there may be more drunk drivers who are able to stay on the roads and avoid the legal consequences of driving impaired. Second, drivers without a license cannot get insurance. Drivers without insurance put everyone in serious risk of financial peril. If these drivers get into an accident and hurt someone, they are not going to be able to pay for the damages that they are expected to cover, and the victim is going to be left with no viable recourse for collecting damages due.

With such serious problems created by the law, it is no wonder that lawmakers are moving to end the obviously unsuccessful program.

If you have been seriously injured in an accident and you are seeking experienced, aggressive attorneys to represent you, call Smith & Hassler for a no charge consultation: 713 739 1250.

Allegedly drunk BMW driver causes head on accident near The Galleria

An allegedly drunkwrong way driver caused a head-on crash on West Alabama in Houston near The Galleria early Sunday morning. Around 1:30 a.m. a woman driving her BMW the wrong way on West Alabama crashed into another BMW. Three victims of the crash in the second BMW (i.e. the one that was driving safely) were taken to hospital: one of them was a child according to Channel 2’s report. The wrong-way driver was arrested at the scene and charged with drunk driving.

drunk driver in bmw head on crash near The Galleria

Photo credit: Channel 2 Houston

Pedestrian critical after being hit by car on Loop 336 in Conroe

A woman walking home from a shopping trip was hit by a car near North Loop 336 in Conroe and is in critical condition. Conroe Police Department say they started getting calls about an automobile versus pedestrian accident around 10:30 p.m., and shortly later a woman came in to the police department to say she thought she had hit someone walking off North Loop 336 near Longmire. Police came to the scene to find a woman in her mid-20’s in the roadway with groceries strewn on the road. The injured pedestrian had been walking with a cart full of groceries in an unlit area of the roadway not protected by a crosswalk. She was flown by helicopter to Memorial Hermann in Houston. No charges were expected to be filed in connection with the accident.

Pedestrian hit by car on Loop 336 in Conroe Texas

Groceries litter the roadway where the pedestrian was struck

Red Light Cameras Reduce Accidents in Sugar Land

21
Feb 2013
By:

According to the Sugar Land Sun, the “Safe Light Sugar Land” program has been a great success. The Program involved the placement of red light cameras at certain targeted locations in this city within the Houston metropolitan area in order to make targeted high-volume intersections safer.

Our Houston, TX accident lawyers are strongly in favor of any laws that are successful in encouraging drivers to be safer and in reducing the risk of auto accidents. Injuries resulting from auto accidents are devastating, and it is heartbreaking when someone loses a loved one in a crash. Running a red light is a top cause of accidents, and if the cameras curb that behavior, that is a very good thing.

The Success of the Sugar Land Red Light Program

The Sugar Land program, known as Safe Light Sugar Land, was intended to encourage motorists to stop at red lights rather than breaking the law and driving through. While prompting motorists to follow the law, the aim was also to improve mobility in Sugar Land, which is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Houston metro area.

Cameras were placed at targeted intersection, with the last of the current cameras installed in 2009. Data was then recorded on the number of accidents that took place as well as on the other impacts of the cameras. The statistics revealed that program has largely been successful. For example, according to the Sugar Land Sun:

  • The number of auto accidents decreased at certain targeted intersections by more than 58 percent.
  • At several intersections, including along Highway 59 and State Highway 6, compliance levels for stopping at red lights improved by almost 60 percent. Cameras at these locations were removed after the compliance levels improved.
  • Approximately 70 percent of those caught on camera violating red light laws lived outside of the Sugar Land area.
  • Violations of red light laws were most likely to occur in the afternoon, especially on Saturday afternoon.
  • 90 percent of those who received a violation notice for running a red light did not ever a receive second notice for another violation, which means they did not run a red at an intersection with a camera again.

As these statistics show, putting red light cameras at targeted intersections can make people significantly safer. Making use of the cameras to stop those who are breaking the law and running the light also frees up police to work on other important matters rather than simply monitoring intersections to ensure people are stopping at lights.

When a person is caught on camera running a red, he or she can be subject to a civil fine of $75.00. The proceeds from the fine are split between the state and a Sugar Land City account set up to fund traffic safety programs and other projects including traffic enforcement and the right light cameras.  This penalty acts as a deterrent which prompts people to think twice about running a red. This, in turn, helps to prevent more people from becoming the victim of a traumatic car crash caused by running a red.

If you have been seriously injured in an accident and you are seeking experienced, aggressive attorneys to represent you, call Smith & Hassler for a no-charge consultation: 713 739 1250.

Drivers injured in head-on accident on Lauder Road

Two drivers were hospitalized last night after a head-on accident on Lauder Road near Long Oaks in north Harris County. Deputies say that the driver of a Ford F-250 pickup truck lost control of his vehicle and veered into oncoming traffic, hitting a Ford Ranger pickup truck head-on. The driver of the Ford Ranger was transported to hospital in critical condition. Sergeant S. Wolverton with Harris County Sheriff’s Office told Channel 13 local news that it was unknown if the Ford Ranger driver will survive his injuries. The driver of the F-250 pickup will face intoxication assault charges: there was evidence that both of the drivers involved had been drinking before the crash.

Emanuel Ramirez crashes into police car, charged with drunk driving

Emanuel Ramirez, 21, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after he rear ended a HPD patrol car, totaling it. Police say Emanuel Ramirez was driving on the North Freeway Service Road near Burress when he tried to pass a larger vehicle before losing control of his vehicle and smashing into the passenger side rear of the police car. Ramirez then hit a light pole. The officer was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries where he was treated and released.
Emanuel Ramirez drunk driver rear end accident HPD patrol car

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Suspected drunk driver crashes into police car on Corporate Drive

A suspected drunk driver bought himself a trip to Harris County jail last night when he crashed his white-colored Chevrolet Tahoe into several over vehicles, including a marked Houston Police Department patrol unit. The Tahoe driver lost control of his SUV while driving on Corporate Drive in southwest Houston, striking two vehicles and the police car. According to Channel 13 there were no reports of any injuries in the accident; the driver was given filed sobriety tests and then charged with drunk driving.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, Smith & Hassler has four board certified personal injury attorneys with a very significant amount of experience handling drunk driving accident cases. Visit www.smithandhassler.com to arrange a free consultation.

drunk driver crashes into police car on Corporate Drive Houston

Photo credit: Channel 13 News Houston

Cement truck accident at Highway 59 and Bissonnet

cement truck and another vehicle crashed this morning on Highway 59 at Bissonnet blocking the southbound main lanes. According the Houston TranStar the crash happened at around 7:13 a.m. There is no immediate word from any of the local news channels whether anyone involved in the accident was injured. Still images from a TranStar camera appear to the show the driver’s side front wheel of the cement truck to be either missing or collapsed. Channel 2’s story is here and Channel 11’s coverage is here.

cement truck accident bissonnet and highway 59

Photo credit: Houston TranStar

Speeding black coupe rear ends Chevy Tahoe on West 610 Loop

Police say a small black coupe was speeding on the West 610 Loop in Houston last night around 1:00 a.m. when it rear-ended a white-colored Chevy Tahoe causing both vehicles to strike the concrete divider. The black coupe rolled over in the accident, which took place near the San Felipe exit in the Houston Galleria area. The driver of the coupe was transported to the hospital and the driver of the white Tahoe was treated at the accident scene. Both vehicles sustained significant damage and appear to be totaled. Channel 11’s story on the accident is here.

If you or a family member have been seriously injured in a car accident, Smith & Hassler has the experience to handle your claim properly.  Click here to check out Google reviews from former Smith & Hassler clients.

West 610 Loop rollover speeding accident

Photo credit: KHOU Channel 11 News

610 West Loop Houston rollover car accident

Photo credit: KHOU Channel 11 News