Automobile Accidents and Drunk Driving

Automobile accidents will always be a threat and an inconvenience to drivers. The website of attorneys Habush, Habush, and Rottier S.C. ® mentions that the most common causes for car accidents are driver error, reckless driving, speeding, mechanical malfunction, and highway defects. All of these potential causes become even more liable to happen when the driver has been drinking.

According to Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD), thus far in 2013, 40% of all traffic deaths in Texas are related to drunk driving. Additionally in 2013, Texas has spent $5.7 billion so far on drunk driving accidents. Drunken driving accidents are extremely expensive for those involved. People sustaining injuries could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills as well as complicated with their insurance policies.

With the intention of curbing the amount of drunken driving incidents, the country-wide initiative of “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” was launched. The program works to monitor the roads especially heavily during times and holiday seasons when people are known to drink more than usual. According to the MADD website, one of the most effective strategies for catching drunk drivers is sobriety checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints serve as an effective preventative measure since they remove drunk drivers from the roadways before they can cause any damage.

In the recent past, devices called Ignition Interlocks were approved for use. Ignition Interlocks are often distributed to people with DUI’s. In order for a past offender they must blow into the Interlock device before their car will start. The device measures sobriety and keeps drivers off of the road if their blood alcohol level is unacceptable. In addition to the Ignition Interlock technology, two new technologies are being studied and developed in cars. One technology would be able to detect blood alcohol through the driver touching a sensor while the other would be able to isolate the air exhaled by only the driver. Both of these new technologies are exciting developments in improving roadway safety for drivers and passengers.

Explosion Victims and Burn Injuries

Explosions are a risk that industrial companies hope to never experience. According to the website of the Williams Kherkher law firm, businesses that experience explosions are often fertilizer plants, refineries, oil and gas transportation, oil and gas storage, manufacturing facilities, industrial complexes, and chemical plants. The volatile chemicals stored and used within industrial settings require specific handling and care.

In order to make sure that employees and surrounding businesses are safe, the government places regulations on the transportation and handling of potentially flammable or explosive chemical substances, like ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound present in fertilizer; it is flammable and reactive to heat.

In April the West, Texas community was devastated by an explosion after the fertilizer plant, which employed many citizens of the town caught on fire. The ammonium nitrate accelerated the fire too quickly disabling firefighters from extinguishing the flames prior to combustion. The blast from the plant was able to be felt 50 miles away, damaged property within a 37-block radius, and registered on seismographs earthquake with a magnitude of 2.1.

Fifteen people were killed as a result of the explosion and about three-hundred people sustained injuries. According to the website of attorneys at the Hach & Rose, LLP, common injuries resulting from a catastrophic event, like the West explosion, are severe burns, spinal cord injuries, and head injuries. The fertilizer plant had been fined numerous times for not keeping the plant up to safety code. Many victims of the West, Texas explosion still face physical, mental, emotional, and property damage. The city of West, Texas has sued the owner of the fertilizer plant in order to collect financial compensation for damages.

Eagle Ford Injury

The Eagle Ford Formation, also known as the Eagle Ford Shale (EFS), is a sedimentary rock exposure that, very recently, has been found to be rich in natural gas resources. The EFS stretches throughout Central and South Texas, drawing oil companies to the area. Petrohawk was the first company to drill in the Eagle Ford Shale in 2008. The shale is rich in carbonate which makes drilling easier. The carbonate makes the rock formation brittle and more accessible to penetrate using a technique called induced hydraulic fracturing (popularly known as “fracking”). Fracking is used to draw unconventional oil and gas to the ground’s surface.

Fracking occurs by fracturing rock by pressurized liquid; water is mixed with sand and chemicals and injected into a wellbore. The water mixture then migrates toward the natural gas source. While fracking is extremely effective, there are plenty of environmental concerns that companies must confront when drawing natural gas out of the ground. Fracking can cause ground water contamination, raised levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, migration of toxic gasses (like hydrogen sulfide) and chemicals to the ground’s surface.

Many oil and gas companies have rushed to the EFS in order to take advantage of the natural resources. As a result of the high-paced environment, many companies overlook environmental and safety concerns. In addition to environmental issues, the EFS is the site of numerous worker injuries. The most common work-related injuries at EFS are well-site accidents, pipeline explosions, oil tank explosions, transportation truck accidents, chemical leaks, and contamination. Workers and surrounding residents of EFS sites have been injured by the drilling pursuits of companies. As a result, many of the EFS victims have taken legal accident against corporate negligence.

2012 Driving Statistics and Risks

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2012 there were no deathless days of Texas roadways. A reportable accident occurred every seventy-five seconds. All drivers are at risk for being involved in automobile accidents, but according to data, young drivers are at a much higher risk of being involved in fatal accidents than any other age demographic. In Texas, drivers ranging from 18-years-old to 30-years-old are involved in the most amounts of fatal crashes. Numerous factors render this age group a high-risk to highways.

Young drivers are most likely to speed, take unnecessary risks, neglect safety precautions, and drive under the influence. However, not all accidents occur because of other drivers. Many roadway accidents occur due to motor defects and road defects. Accidents that occur because of defective car parts or roads are generally less severe than collisions, but they can still be extremely costly. Despite that, there are still cases where these kinds of accidents can be quite severe, such as a car’s brakes malfunctioning or a roadway collapsing in on itself. These kinds of accidents can be particularly frustrating, as there is almost nothing a driver could do to avoid being involved.

When driving a motorcycle, the risk for being involved in a serious injury or fatal crash multiplies exponentially. Motorcycles do not provide the obvious external protection that traditional automobiles offer. Because of the lack of protection, even small and seemingly harmless accidents can cause severe injuries to the motorcycle operator. In 2012 467 Texas motorcyclists were involved in fatal accidents. Off all of the fatal motorcycle accidents, 52% of all motorcyclists that died were not wearing helmets. Severe motorcycle accidents can lead to costly medical bills, income lost from time spent away from work, as well as strains on personal relationships.

As risky as driving can be, preventative measures are useful in avoiding being the victim of a crash or collision. According to Houston attorney Ali Mokaram’s website, safety precautions like seat belts, helmets (when applicable), vehicle inspection, and vehicle maintenance all help to keep drivers safe. In addition to these precautions, people can avoid car accidents by driving especially carefully during high traffic times like rush hour or holiday seasons.