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Currently Browsing: Car Accidents

Houston-Area Woman Convicted of DUI

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A Fort Bend woman was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) on June 21 after a 2011 incident in which she drove across several lanes of traffic and nearly hit a police officer. The jury came to its verdict against the 24-year-old Yesenia Hernandez after Police Lt. Aaron Slater and officer Michael Walden testified about the accident.

Slater stated that Hernandez, after swerving across traffic and narrowly missing his car,  hit a curb and then failed to pull over for several blocks after Slater turned on his flashing lights. Both officers noted her “confused and disoriented nature” and said she failed to complete a sobriety test. Hernandez later admitted to having consumed “five regular size beers, maybe more.”

Hernandez’s sentence sits at one year of probation and a $750 fine, as well as 60 hours of community service. Hernandez will also be required to take a DWI education class and to attend a Victim Impact Panel to hear stories from victims of intoxication crimes.

Being convicted of DUI comes with serious penalties, including minimum jail time, fines and penalties, and license suspension from 90 to 365 days for the first offense and up to two years for the second and third offenses. In addition, Texas’s “implied consent” law requires anyone arrested for DUI to take a chemical test–if they refuse, an automatic license suspension for at least 90 days can be enacted, according to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter.

In some instances, Texas police departments are able to mandate what are referred to as “no-refusal weekends.” Typically occurring around holidays where it is expected that many people will drink heavily and drive, these no-refusal periods allow officers to legally take blood from those who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer. No-refusal periods are commonly put into effect around days like the Super Bowl or Memorial Day, for example.

If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, it is important to contact a legal professional. An attorney who specializes in DUI cases can help lessen the penalties and protect your rights during the legal process.

Defective Air Bag: Cause of Injury rather than a Device for Safety

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A research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows the top four causes of death in car-related accidents: drunk-driving; speeding; distracted driving; and, bad weather. In all four causes, the research also showed that those who suffered the severest injuries and those who died on the spot of the accident were either drivers or passengers who were not wearing a seatbelt.

While seatbelts remain thus far the best devices for restraining vehicle driver and passengers, saving them from impacts and crashes that can either severely injure them or cause their untimely death, another device, which is a perfect supplement to seatbelts has been introduced – the air bag, also known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 or FMVSS 208.

Designed as a vehicle safety device, air bags provide a cushion between the occupants and solid objects inside the car, like the windows, the dash board and the steering wheel and, thus, lessen the possibility of crash injuries. These are made from flexible nylon fabric, folded into the steering wheel, dashboard and other areas of the car, and are connected to a sensor which makes them inflate quickly during moderate or severe collisions.

The use of car air bags was first introduced by Ford in 1971; General Motors followed suit in 1973, incorporating the air bag in their Chevrolets. It was not until July 11, 1984, however, when the U.S. government mandated that cars manufactured after April 1, 1989, ought to be equipped with a passive restraint, such as a seat belt or an air bag and, through the motivation of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this same mandate was applied on light trucks beginning in 1997.

The 2,788 lives saved because of air bags only show that the device is effective. However, one cannot simply dismiss reports on how some air bags have malfunctioned or never functioned at all, causing severe injuries or death instead of protecting and saving a life.

Aware of automobile defects, the website of Habush & Rottier, S.C., indicates the three top reasons how air bags can cause injuries:

  • Air bags inflating even when there is no collision
  • Inflating ahead of time and then immediately deflating, failing to provide the needed cushion during actual impact
  • Late deployment

The possible reasons behind these malfunctions can be a flaw in the design, a manufacturing defect, incorrect assembly or installation, improper folding, overpowered inflators, venting problems or inaccurate software. Some of the injuries defective air bags can cause can include broken bones, head injury, traumatic brain injury and chemical burns.

Knowing your rights, when accidents occur due to a defective air bag inside your vehicle, is highly important; and who else, other than a truly knowledgeable lawyer, can explain to you the law and what it says regarding your legal rights? It the event of an accident, make sure you have an automobile defect lawyer on your side.

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