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Houston-area cops are cracking down on speeders

Houston auto accident attorney

Everyone knows that speeding is dangerous, even those who speed, but some drivers are willing to take that risk in order to reach their destination “faster.” Other drivers are under the impression that their speeding will never cause a crash, but national figures speak for themselves.

In 2018, almost 10,000 people were killed in speed-related crashes across the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, speeding was a factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities over the past two decades.

In Texas, speeding was a factor in:

  • 670 rural crashes — 88 of which were fatal
  • 2,275 urban crashes — 219 of which were fatal

Where most speeders got tickets

In response, the Texas Department of Public Safety has begun cracking down on speeders in the Houston area, according to the Houston Chronicle. In July alone, nearly 2,000 speeding tickets were issued by law enforcement officers throughout Harris, Chambers, Brazoria, and Galveston counties. The majority of speeding citations were issued on:

  • Highway 288 in Brazoria County — 316 tickets
  • Interstate 10 in Chambers and Harris counties — 241 tickets
  • Interstate 45 in Galveston and Harris counties — 137 tickets
  • Farm-to-market Road 1960 in Harris and Brazoria counties — 129 tickets
  • U.S. 290 in Harris County — 103 tickets

Risk factors in speed-related crashes

Speeding increases the likelihood of a fatal crash due to:

  • Increased risk of losing control of your car
  • Reduced effectiveness of airbags and seatbelts in a collision
  • Reduced time and increased distance to stop when a collision is imminent
  • Increased crash severity

Despite knowing the risks, why do drivers speed? According to the NHTSA, speeding is often driven by:

  • Aggressive driving caused by traffic congestion
  • A driver running late
  • Anonymity or detachment from surroundings
  • Habitual aggressive driving and disregard for the law or other road users
  • Drowsy driving
  • Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

When these drivers fail to acknowledge the potential consequences of the risks they take, their actions can result in someone’s injury or death. Luckily, those who are impacted by speed-related crashes have legal options available to them. So, if you or a loved one was hurt in a crash caused by a speeding driver, it is critical that you take immediate action.

Consulting with an experienced Houston car accident attorney is a crucial step in pursuing a strong legal claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. The legal team at Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law knows how to get results. We can help you maximize your compensation, so you can focus on recovery. To learn more, contact us online today and schedule your free case evaluation.

Houston Bicycle Safety Depends on Bike Plan

Houston bicycle accident attorneyThe future of cycling safety in Houston hinges on fully funding and implementing the city’s bike plan, making it vital that elected officials keep their promises and voters hold them accountable.

The Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University reports that mapping recent Houston bicycle crashes onto the Houston Bike Plan underscores the critical importance of following through with short-term and long-term cycling infrastructure projects to reduce the rising accident rates.

Cycling Safety and Houston Bicycle Accidents

A growing urban environment and the increasing popularity of cycling for transportation and fitness has pushed the number of serious and fatal Houston bicycle crashes to historic highs. Statewide, the Texas Department of Transportation reported nearly 500 bicycle crashes through the first six months of 2018.

The good news is the Houston Bike Plan looks to be targeting some of the area’s most critical cycling safety needs, according to accident data.

The study found 1 in 4 crashes happened on local streets, along mostly residential areas. Safety advocates say this is due to a lack of dedicated bike lanes on main thoroughfares, which pushes riders into nearby neighborhoods. Some 60 percent of accidents were reported on or near streets marked for future projects, while 22 percent occurred on streets already targeted for short-term retrofit improvements, primarily low-cost projects like re-striping and adding signage.

Liability for Houston Cycling Accidents

Planners noted cooperation between Houston City officials and Harris County will also be critical. ABC13 reported a fatal Harris County bicycle accident as a rider attempted to pull into traffic near West Mount Houston and Ella Boulevard.

The bad news is the Houston Bike Plan remains little more than a promise. Adopted in March 2017 by the city council, the aim is to make Houston a gold-level bike-friendly city by 2027. But the city describes the plan as a  “guide,” and acknowledged future funds have not been earmarked or dedicated.

The Houston Chronicle series Dying to Ride examined the growing risks to riders on city streets, reporting that at least 23 riders have been killed on Houston streets in the past 5 years. The newspaper detailed several high-profile fatal hit-and-run bicycle accidents.

A rider’s first avenue of compensation will be a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, in cases of hit-and-run, or in collisions where an at-fault party lacks insurance or does not have enough insurance to compensate a victim for all losses, a rider may pursue an uninsured (UM)/underinsured (UIM) motorist claim – if the cyclist has his or her own auto insurance with this type of coverage or is covered under another household member’s policy.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Houston, an attorney at Smith & Hassler Attorneys At Law can help.