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Houston Personal Injury Law Blog

A look at underage drunk driving

Whether you are a parent, a young person who regularly rides with friends or anyone who drives, there are a number of ways in which underage drunk driving may affect you. For example, your child may experience negative consequences with regard to their future after they are arrested for DUI, you could be charged with this offense and face a number of difficulties or you could be hurt after you are struck by a young driver who was intoxicated. All of these consequences are concerning and draw attention to how essential it is to prevent underage drunk driving.

Unfortunately, this behavior continues to happen on roadways across the U.S. Sometimes, young people find themselves in this position as a result of peer pressure, while others may not be aware that a small amount of alcohol can interfere with their ability to drive safe and that zero tolerance laws mean those under the age of 21 cannot drive with any alcohol in their system. From being unable to land a particular job to devastating injuries, losing the ability to drive and the loss of life, underage drunk driving accidents can be incredibly challenging for everyone involved.

Work shifts and drowsy driving

Drivers become drowsy for many different reasons, from a poor night’s sleep to the use of certain types of prescription medication. However, work-related fatigue is especially common, and many people have had a hard time concentrating on the road because they either worked too many hours or worked a night shift and had difficulty adjusting. Unfortunately, those who drive while fatigued put many lives at risk, including their own. If you regularly work long shifts or expect to work during the night and are not used to overnight work, it is important to be aware of the potential risks.

When someone works for a long period of time, they may become exhausted both mentally and physically. This exhaustion can result in drowsy driving and affect their reaction time and ability to focus on the road, thereby increasing the chances of a crash. In fact, a driver who is fatigued may even fall asleep while behind the wheel, which is terrifying. Moreover, those who work irregular shifts may have their sleep cycles disrupted and they may get less quality sleep, also increasing the likelihood of drowsy driving.

Speeding and the risk of a fatal crash

Motor vehicle collisions continue to lead to lost lives and they happen for countless reasons. Some fatal accidents occur because a driver is intoxicated, drowsy or distracted, while other deadly crashes happen because a driver failed to stop at a sign or follow other traffic laws. For example, some fatal crashes are brought on by a driver’s decision to go over the speed limit, in some cases to an extreme.

From street racing and driving faster to get somewhere on time to showing off and seeking an adrenaline rush, there are many reasons why drivers go over the speed limit. For example, someone might be running late for work and worry about losing their job, while another driver could be trying to impress friends. However, this behavior is extremely dangerous and has resulted in the loss of many lives over the years. When someone drives at an excessive speed, they endanger the lives of those they drive past and their own safety as well.

Off-label drug use could be dangerous

A Texas physician sees a patient and realizes that the risks outweigh the benefits of the medication that he or she would normally prescribe to treat that condition. However, the drug manufacturer has provided information about another medication that could be helpful, even though it was actually developed and tested for treatment of another health issue. 

According to the FDA, the doctor can legally prescribe that medication, even though the intended use in this case is not listed on the drug label provided by the manufacturer. All drug companies must submit evidence to the FDA of the drug's safety and its effectiveness when used according to the label, but how it is prescribed is actually up to the discretion of the physician. 

Specially designed apps can help you after a car crash

No one ever wants to be in a car crash, but fender benders happen every day, and rear-end collisions are among the most common types of traffic accidents in the country.

Following even a minor collision, your nerves are sure to be unsteady, and you might not be thinking clearly. However, there are a few steps you must remember to take and some clever smartphone apps that can help.

Different ways an auto accident can disrupt life

For some auto accident victims, the crash is so severe that they pass away, which can leave their loved ones in a permanent state of depression and with plenty of financial challenges. In many accidents, however, victims are lucky to survive. However, they may suffer various injuries and these injuries can disrupt their lives in many different ways. While physical pain and immobility are common problems brought on by auto accident injuries, there are many other ways these injuries can have a negative impact on a victim’s life and make things hard for those they love also.

For starters, the financial impact of an auto accident can be devastating. Setting aside costly medical bills, someone who is hurt because of a crash may be unable to continue working, which can lead to lost wages and an inability to stay current on their mortgage, student loan payments and other financial obligations. Moreover, injuries can keep victims from participating in hobbies or events they have planned for, such as a marathon. Between the pain, limitations, and financial hardships that often come with car accident injuries, it is no wonder that many victims also experience negative emotions during this time, such as depression or even anger.

How does sleep apnea affect driving abilities?

A person’s ability to drive may be adversely impacted by a number of factors, from alcohol consumption to stress and distractions in the car, such as talking with passengers. However, drowsy driving is particularly concerning, and many people get behind the wheel even though they are too sleep deprived to drive safely. For some people, such as those who have sleep apnea, this can be especially problematic. Regrettably, some people with sleep apnea do not realize how dangerous this condition can be.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, sleep apnea can adversely affect a person’s driving abilities in multiple ways, potentially leading to a motor vehicle collision. Since sleep apnea interferes with a person’s ability to sleep well, it also affects them during the day. For drivers, this can have a negative impact on alertness and reaction time. Moreover, the FMCSA points out that studies draw a connection between sleep apnea that is left untreated and a higher risk of being involved in a traffic collision.

How can fatigue affect driver performance?

Many different risk factors can lead to an auto collision, such as the use of an intoxicating substance or reckless behavior on the road (speeding, failing to observe common sense driving rules, etc.). Unfortunately, fatigue is yet another concerning cause of crashes and some people do not even recognize that they have become dangerously tired and put lives at risk (including their own life) by driving while drowsy. It is important for drivers to be aware of the different ways in which fatigue can impact a person’s ability to drive.

There are many ways in which fatigue can affect a driver’s performance behind the wheel, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA reviewed data that was obtained from traffic collisions which took place between July 2005 and December 2017 and found a number of performance errors that may occur when a driver is fatigued. For example, fatigue can lead to weaknesses with respect to directional control, overcompensation, and panicking behind the wheel. Moreover, there are other types of performance errors that may occur when a driver is very tired.

Energy drinks and the risk of a collision

Virtually all drivers are aware that certain substances, such as street drugs and alcohol, can impede a person’s driving abilities and make a collision more likely. However, it is important to keep in mind that even seemingly harmless chemicals, such as caffeine, can increase the likelihood of an accident as well. For example, someone who is sensitive to caffeine may notice a decrease in their ability to drive safe after consuming an energy drink and the same may be true for someone who has consumed multiple energy drinks.

Caffeine can make an accident more likely in multiple ways. For example, it can make a driver overly excited, lead to heart palpitations, or cause them to feel ill. With high levels of caffeine, energy drinks can be especially dangerous in this regard. Furthermore, the consumption of any beverage can increase the probability of an accident because drivers remove their hands from the wheel in order to drink.

Recovering from a crash as a garbage truck driver

There are many different examples of truck accidents, such as semi truck drivers who suffer from fatigue or people who are involved in a crash while driving a delivery truck. However, there are additional concerns related to this facet of traffic collisions, such as garbage truck accidents. If you drive a garbage truck, or someone you love drives one of these vehicles, it is important to be aware of the different hazards on the road. Unfortunately, accidents keep happening for countless reasons and it is essential for victims to focus on recovering when they are involved in one firsthand.

As a garbage truck driver, an accident could shatter your life in different ways. You may not be able to work for a lengthy time period, which can bring on financial troubles that you never saw coming. Moreover, the physical pain may be significant, and you may have to miss out on key events in your life due to the injuries. Hospital bills, costs associated with rehabilitation, and other financial demands can make the situation even more challenging.

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