The Texas Department of Transportation reported 12,795 car accidents in Fort Worth in 2020, with 108 being fatal crashes. Despite the local government’s efforts to keep roads safe for motorists and pedestrians, motor vehicle accidents continue to rise. Unfortunately, other cities in Tarrant County, like Arlington and Dallas, have similar traffic records.
One reason for the rising accident rates is people’s attitude while driving. A survey reported that 93 percent of Americans engage in unsafe driving behaviors. These behaviors include texting, speeding, tailgating, and running yellow and red lights. Although many can relate to committing these mistakes, motorists should actively avoid them, as accidents can happen when least expected.
It is unreasonable to rely solely on the government for safer roads. People should also proactively try to be better drivers. Being a responsible driver is an effective way to prevent car accidents and ensure the safety of everyone on the road. It is a collective goal that everybody should strive for.
Part of becoming a better driver is learning about traffic rules and relevant laws. The Personal Injury Center offers legal articles written for ordinary citizens, offering insights into their rights and legal interests. You may browse our repository to gain valuable knowledge on dealing with the aftermath of car crashes.
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Top Causes of Vehicle Crash in Fort Worth
The national estimate for car accident injury costs ranges from $6,700 to $1,778,000. Considering the overwhelming expenses involved, regular income earners can face a severe financial crisis if they get involved in a vehicle crash.
As auto accidents can happen anytime, drivers should be vigilant about their causes. The most common reasons for Fort Worth car crash incidents are as follows:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration previously revealed that drunk driving is responsible for 31 percent of fatal car accidents. Alcohol consumption impairs cognitive functions such as reasoning and muscle control. The more drivers consume, the more dangerous they are on the road. However, some get into fatal crashes with only .01 g/dL of alcohol in their systems.
Aggressive driving involves operating motor vehicles in a way that may injure persons or damage properties. This behavior may manifest even without violating traffic laws. Motorists should refrain from driving while angry because they are at a higher risk of expressing aggressive behavior behind the wheel.
Reports show that drowsy driving contributes to as many as 6,000 fatal crashes yearly. Sleepy drivers struggle to maintain focus, making it difficult for them to react fast enough to sudden changes on the road. Besides insufficient sleep, people may grow drowsy due to medications and sleep disorders.
Speed limits are in place to establish a traffic flow that guides motorists through specific areas. Going over or under these limits could confuse other drivers, preventing them from adjusting appropriately. In Texas, the maximum speed limit is around 70 miles per hour, but it may change to accommodate specific areas and circumstances.
Only change lanes when necessary and when there are no nearby vehicles. Drivers who change lanes abruptly without yielding to nearby vehicles have a high chance of getting into a side-sweeping accident. The Texas Administrative Code considers an improper or erratic lane change a severe traffic violation.
Poor road conditions threaten the safety of all motorists. Some drivers end up in accidents while avoiding potholes and uneven pavements. Passing through damaged roads may also gradually damage motor vehicle parts, like the undercarriage, body, and tires.
Road Safety Tips for All Drivers
Defensive driving is among the best ways to promote road safety. It is about disciplining oneself and anticipating potential causes of car crashes.
Keeping roads safe is a collective responsibility among all motorists. You may follow these tips to become a better defensive driver:
Always wear a seat belt
Seat belts can prevent drivers and passengers from being ejected from their vehicles during a collision. Even with frontal airbags, the force of the impact could still be powerful enough to cause fatal injuries. Under Texas law, wearing seat belts is mandatory while driving. Not wearing seat belts may result in a fine and court cost of $200.
Follow the three to four-second rule
The three-second rule means keeping at least a three-second distance from the car before you to reduce the risk of collision. Following at a safe distance gives drivers enough time and space to react to abrupt changes. This practice is most helpful when the car before you makes a turn without signaling or suddenly stops.
Other drivers find keeping a four-second distance more appropriate.
Observe the proper usage of signal lights
Car signal lights function as communication devices between drivers. They demonstrate whether a car is decelerating, stopping, or making a turn. They are also a helpful visual indicator that another vehicle is nearby, especially during nighttime or foggy days.
Driving with a broken signal light is illegal in Texas. Ensure all your turn signals, headlights, and tail lights are functional before heading out.
Predictable driving means abiding by traffic rules, following standardized driving practices, and exhibiting responsible behavior on the road. Being a predictable driver helps other road users anticipate driving behaviors and reduces the risk of accidents.
Moreover, predictability assists self-driving cars in making more accurate calculations, as they rely on the consistency of other drivers’ driving patterns. This helps them safely interact with various traffic environments.
Install law-mandated safety features
Your vehicle should have the following safety features:
- Airbag system
- Exhaust system
- Foot and parking brakes
- Gas caps
- Seat belts
- Side and rearview mirrors
- Signal lights
- Steering system and its components
- Wheel components
- Window tint and coating
- Child safety seat (for passengers younger than eight years old)
Texas remains one of the fourteen states that require an annual vehicle inspection. Besides your car’s safety features, DPS-certified inspectors will also assess your emission.
Check weather conditions before heading out
The weather in Texas, whether northbound or southbound, is unpredictable. In addition, the state also experiences ravaging typhoons, electrical storms, and snowstorms. It is not surprising that more than 10 percent of car accidents in the area are attributed to bad weather.
It is best to avoid driving during extreme weather conditions, as they add unpredictable factors even the most defensive drivers struggle to anticipate.
Keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance
Regular vehicle maintenance is essential for road safety. Good drivers should not operate vehicles that pose a threat. Moreover, proper maintenance of your vehicle offers the following benefits:
- Longer and better unit performance
- Better fuel efficiency
- Less often and minor car repairs
- Cheaper repair costs
- Earlier diagnosis of car problems
- Better resale value
Maintenance schedules often depend on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Generally, bringing your car to a qualified mechanic for an annual inspection is advisable.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted that Texas has the most distracted driving accidents in the US. Estimates show two out of 100,000 local fatal car crashes involve distracted drivers.
The most prevalent example of distracted driving is texting while driving, which diverts attention for at least five seconds. You could have crossed a standard-size football field if the vehicle ran 55 miles per hour.
How To Deal With Traffic and General Citations
Sometimes, vehicle accidents are unpreventable. Attending officers may issue a citation and hold you accountable for your actions. You will be responsible for making good of the ticket and dealing with its legal consequences.
Parties may consult a personal injury law firm for an in-depth review of the following options:
Payment of fine
The most straightforward way to settle a general or traffic citation is to pay for the amount due. The base cost for a speeding ticket is $102.10, which increases by $8 per mile exceeding the speed limit. At-fault parties must pay an additional $15 mandatory state fee if they settle the fine thirty days beyond the entry of judgment.
Deferred disposition or probation
Parties may only be eligible for deferred disposition or probation if they plead guilty. In exchange, they will pay a special expense fee much lower than the maximum amount of the fine.
The following parties are non-eligible for probation:
- Seventeen years old or younger
- Had probation in the previous twelve months
- Commercial driver’s license holders
Driving safety course
One may choose to undergo a safety driving course to dismiss their citation. Like the previous option, the erring parties should plead guilty to the charges. The requirements are as follows:
- At least seventeen years old;
- Did not complete a driving safety course to dismiss a citation within the last twelve months or currently taking the course for a different violation;
- The speeding violation did not exceed the speed limit by more than twenty-four miles per hour;
- Has a valid Texas driver’s license or military ID;
- Has proof of liability insurance in their name or as a covered driver;
- The violation did not happen in a construction zone when workers were present; and
- The violation did not happen while passing a school bus.
“Not guilty” plea
Another option is to contest the citation and plead “not guilty.” The parties can choose whether to appear before a judge or jury. At this point, they may dispute claims established in the police report and other relevant records. Contesting parties may file their pleadings online, in person, or via mail.
Filing a Personal Injury Case in Fort Worth
Victims of a Fort Worth car accident may file a personal injury claim against erring parties, especially the at-fault driver. But before going to court, interested parties should have an overview of the technicalities. Study the following information to protect your rights and legal interests throughout the process:
Elements of personal injury
A personal injury claim should successfully establish the following:
- The at-fault party had a duty toward the plaintiff;
- The at-fault party breached the said duty;
- The at-fault party’s actions caused injuries to the plaintiff; and
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages.
In car crashes, the erring driver often breaches their duty to drive safely and responsibly. Consequently, the driver’s negligence caused the collision and injured the plaintiff’s body and properties. Notably, all elements should be present to gain the court’s favor.
In at-fault states like Texas, parties causing personal injury to another are liable to pay damages. Injured victims can file a case against the at-fault parties and ask them to pay out-of-pocket or with their insurance companies.
If the insurer’s coverage is insufficient, the injured parties may claim the remaining amount from the at-fault parties. Similarly, if the at-fault party had no active insurance policy, they would personally pay the claimants.
Statute of limitations
A statute of limitations is the timeframe given to parties for filing a case. Parties failing to file within the specified period forfeits their claim and may no longer file a similar action in court.
In Texas, injured parties should file within two years from the car accident date.
The discovery rule applies regardless of the statute of limitations. In effect, the reckoning period for the filing date starts when injured parties discover an injury or loss. This exception applies in Texas.
Types of damages
In personal injury lawsuits, parties may seek compensatory and punitive damages. Both represent the injuries and losses claimants experienced due to the at-fault party’s negligent actions.
Compensatory damages can be economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are calculable losses like hospital costs, car repair costs, loss of wages, and loss of business opportunities. In contrast, non-economic damages are more abstract and relate to the claimant’s mental well-being. Non-economic damages pay for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
Payment of legal services
Despite the validity of their claims, many injured parties withdraw from lawsuits because of financial instability. The inability to afford a lawyer and pay litigation costs can be discouraging. Fortunately, several ways exist to settle legal fees besides making upfront payments.
One option is pro bono cases. Pro bono originates from the Latin term “pro bono publico,” which directly translates to “for the public good.” Lawyers agreeing to work on a case pro bono means they will handle it for free.
Another option is a contingency basis. Under this agreement, attorneys may demand payment for legal fees only upon winning the case. They will typically take 30 to 50 percent of the settlement award.
Did you know?
Fort Worth ranks 19th among the top fifty riskiest cities to drive in the US. Another Texas city, San Antonio, also ranks within the top twenty, holding the 17th position.
Work With Dependable Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyers
The increasing number of Fort Worth car crash incidents should be a call for residents to be better drivers. Everyone should actively contribute to building a culture of defensive driving, ultimately leading to safer roads for all.
However, accidents are inevitable despite building a more efficient and protective traffic system. Parties who suffer personal injuries from a car collision should never take their rights for granted.
You can find first-rate legal services at The Personal Injury Center. Undertake our free case evaluation, and we will refer you to trusted local car accident lawyers.
Victims of Fort Worth car accidents do not deserve to suffer in silence. Visit The Personal Injury Center to enhance your legal knowledge and find first-rate lawyers.
FAQs on Fort Worth Car Crashes
Filing a car crash report with the police is highly recommended. The Fort Worth Police Department will create an official report about the incident. You can use this official document when pursuing a claim.
It is ideal to work with a personal injury lawyer. With their legal background and expertise, they can correct wrongful entries and apply relevant laws.
It is possible. However, it is practical to approach the insurance company first. Filing a case can be more expensive, stressful, and time-consuming than negotiating with an insurer.