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Austin Personal Injury Blog

Experimental external air bags could reduce car accident injuries

Most vehicle owners in Texas already have the benefit of internal airbags in their vehicles that deploy during crashes. Developers at ZF are now testing the potential of external airbags to cut down on injuries. Their initial tests of air bags positioned along the sides of cars showed that injuries among vehicle occupants could go down by 40 percent with the additional safety technology.

The demonstration airbag revealed by ZF measured 80 inches long, 21 inches high and 15 inches wide. The unit weighed 13 pounds and featured the ability to inflate fully in 15 milliseconds. The external airbag expands upon the protective crumple zones engineered into the structure of vehicles. It serves, essentially, as a large pillow that absorbs the force of an impact and reduces its effect on vehicle occupants.

Automatic emergency braking reduces accidents, IIHS study finds

Drivers in Texas who regularly get behind the wheel in vehicles with automatic emergency braking (AEB) technology can take comfort in knowing that they're benefiting from an effective safety feature. This is the big takeaway from a study by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS), which focused on crash data related to 10 vehicle models from a leading U.S. auto manufacturer over a two-year period. The automaker supplied IIHS researchers with VIN numbers, so they could comb through available accident data to compare crash frequency in autos with and without the AEB systems.

The manufacturer referenced in the IIHS study offers two types of brake protection systems. One type of system will alert drivers to impending motor vehicle accidents without intervening beyond that point. The other technology applies full brake stopping power automatically to either prevent an impact entirely or minimize the collision's severity. Vehicles with these emergency braking capabilities were involved with 43 percent fewer rear-end crashes than vehicles without brake alerts or full emergency braking systems when all accident severities were considered.

Why it’s difficult to share the road with commercial trucks

When you find yourself sharing the road with commercial trucks, such as when driving on the interstate, it's only natural to feel a heightened sense of anxiety. Not only are these vehicles big, but their drivers don't always take the safety of others into consideration.

The best way to avoid trouble is to maintain as much space as possible between your vehicle and commercial trucks. While this may be your plan, it's easier said than done.

Staying safe when driving at night

With the end of Daylight Saving Time, drivers in Texas may find themselves commuting home in the dark. Unfortunately, this brings certain challenges as statistics show that 50 percent of all traffic deaths occur at night. The following is a brief summary of those challenges.

The nighttime can compromise depth perception, color identification and peripheral vision as well as night vision. The latter grows worse with age, which is why a 60-year-old may require twice as much light on the road as a 30-year-old. Even with high-beam headlights, which extend about 500 feet, the darkness gives drivers less time to react. To stay safe, drivers should slow down. In addition, it's important that headlights be aimed correctly and windshields stay clean.

3 tips for safer travel as a pedestrian

As a pedestrian, one of the major risks you face is getting hit by a car. There are many reasons that these accidents happen, from crossing into a vehicle's path to a driver who's too drunk to stop in time.

The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself, even if you have to walk from place to place. Here are three tips for staying safe as a pedestrian and reducing your risk of injury.

Fleet owners should know the science behind distracted driving

With the widespread use of smartphones and a productivity culture that forces truckers to stay awake longer, the threat of distracted driving is growing among trucking companies in Texas and across the U.S. Fleet managers should know that there is plenty of science to back the claim that distractions, whether visual, manual or cognitive, raise the risk for accidents.

Texting is probably the most widespread distraction among truckers, taking their eyes off the road for as long as five seconds at a time. This means that someone driving 55 mph could travel the length of an entire football field before looking up again. Texting causes inattention, so truckers may find themselves swerving or drifting into other lanes. They may fail to react to dangers that are ahead of them.

Man seeks compensation after slip-and-fall injury

A Texas man who slipped and fell while attending an event at the University of Houston is pursuing legal action for his damages. He is suing a number of companies involved with maintaining the Cullen Performance Hall at the university, including ACS Flooring Group, ACS Maintenance Solutions, Aramark Solutions and Aramark Confection Corp. The man said that he was injured two years before on October 31, 2016, when he fell after slipping on a substance in the performance hall's lobby. He says that the companies involved were performing maintenance and renovations in the area when the incident occurred.

In the lawsuit, the man said that the substance he slipped on appeared to be floor stripper being used by the companies as part of maintenance work. He also said that despite the work being done, the companies did not post any signs or put up any barricades directing pedestrians away from the area, which are actions that could have prevented the slip-and-fall accident. He is seeking unspecified monetary damages as well as a jury trial on the claim.

How workers can prevent slip-and-fall injuries

Slip-and-fall accidents can occur on almost any property, so workers in Texas will want to consider the following tips for reducing the risk. Slip and falls occur most often between December and February, and they can result in a range of injuries from sprains, strain and bruises to broken bones and concussions.

Falls from the same level are especially prevalent. People can also fall on ice and snow, from ladders and scaffolding, on stairs and into openings. Slips usually occur on liquids or grease. OSHA does require fall protection for workers in general industries who are 4 feet off the ground and for construction workers at 6 feet off the ground.

Bike safety tips for all cyclists

Cycling in and around Austin is one of the greatest joys that comes with living in the city. Cruising by the Texas State Capitol or taking in the views while riding around Lake Travis is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially during the cooler autumn months. And, while Austin does have a strong cycling community, people driving cars do not necessarily take the care they should when they share the road with cyclists.

Whether you are a beginner cyclist or have years of experience, it is vital to not only know the techniques to stay comfortable on your bike but ways you can increase your safety while on the road. Here are a few tips to help you have a safe cycling experience the next time you go for a ride.

Brake safety campaign kicking off in September

Texas readers may be interested in knowing that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be kicking off "Brake Safety Week" in mid-September. During this initiative, technicians will perform roadside inspections on the brake systems of commercial trucks across North America.

"Brake Safety Week" is a follow-up to CVSA's International Roadcheck, which was held June 5-7. Just over 67,500 roadside inspections were held during that campaign. Of those, 45,400 were Level I inspections, which are the most detailed inspections CVSA technicians perform. Nearly 22 percent of all trucks that underwent Level I inspections were pulled from service while nearly 4 percent of drivers who underwent Level I, II or II inspections were taken off the road. In total, 11,897 trucks and buses and 2,664 drivers were pulled from service during the initiative.

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    Don Davis: 2003-2017, 2018
    Robert Alden: 2005-2006, 2008-2017, 2018
    Kevin Henrichson: 2017, 2018
    Rising Star: 2005-08, 2013-14
    Derek Davis: Rising Star 2004

    Super Lawyers are chosen by Thomson Reuters and published in Texas Monthly Magazine

  • Don Davis:
    Personal Injury Litigation 1993-2014
    Legal Malpractice Law 2014

    Robert Alden:
    Commercial Litigation 2006-2017
    Bet-the-Company Litigation 2010-2017
    Personal Injury Litigation 2011-2017
    Lawyer of the Year – Personal Injury
    Litigation 2012, 2018

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