4 Texas Work-Zone Laws Drivers Should Know

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Work zones are highly dangerous environments for drivers and workers alike. The state relies on roadside construction work to improve its roads, but this is one of the most dangerous jobs in Texas. In 2018, 25,162 work zone traffic accidents in Texas took 161 lives and caused 684 serious injuries.

Most people killed (84%) were drivers and their passengers. As a driver passing through work zones in Texas, it is critical to understand and obey the state’s work-zone laws. Otherwise, you could cause a serious accident.

Reduced Speed Limits

If a construction company has put up temporary speed limit signs, they take precedence over previous speed limits in the area. As a driver, you must obey the temporary speed limit signs posted in the work zone, even if the speed is much lower than what it usually is on the road or highway. Most work zones also have signs explaining that the police will double the fines for speeding in these areas to discourage this dangerous practice. Work zone speeding tickets in Texas can cost up to $1,000 when workers are present.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says speeding is one of the top causes of work zone crashes throughout the state. It has established a 65-mile-per-hour speed limit within one mile of construction zones along State Highway 130. Speeding can make it impossible to stop in time to prevent colliding with barriers, work vehicles or workers. Always reduce your speed to within the posted limit and according to what is safe for driving conditions while in a work zone.

Move Over Law

Texas has a Move Over/Slow Down Law that applies to TxDOT workers as well as emergency vehicles as of September 1st, 2013. This law requires all drivers to either move a lane over or reduce their speeds when approaching roadway construction zones, TxDOT workers, and all vehicles stopped by the road with flashing blue or amber lights.

If you see TxDOT workers on the side of the road, you must move a lane over or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. On roads with speed limits of 25 or less, reduce your speed to 5 miles per hour. Violating the state’s Move Over Law in a work zone could lead to a fine of up to $2,000.

Detour Signs

Many work zones organize detours around the part of the road being worked on. Like work zone speed limits, these detours take superiority over any preexisting roadway signs, road paint or markings. You must follow detour signs and barriers carefully when passing through work zones in Texas. Ignoring detour signs could lead to you driving dangerously close to an active work zone or workers doing their jobs. Reduce your speed, pay attention and prepare to use a detour to safely navigate through or around a work zone.

Distracted Driving Laws

Aside from speeding, driver inattention is the leading cause of work zone crashes in Texas. Driver distraction and inattention can lead to drivers missing detours, ignoring speed limits, tailgating, causing accidents and striking workers. As a driver, it is imperative to obey Texas’ distracted driving laws. The state’s cellphone ordinance makes it illegal to text and drive. No driver may send or receive electronic messages using handheld cellphones. Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use cellphones for any reason. Local cities may have additional driver distraction laws to follow as well.

To learn about Texas’ distracted driving laws and accidents, speak to a distracted driver accident attorney in Dallas.

Distracted driving causes thousands of car accidents, deaths and injuries per year in the U.S. Work zones are highly dangerous places to engage in things that may distract you, such as cellphones, food, drinks, passengers, radios and maps. Work zones require total vigilance to safely navigate through unusual twists and turns. Always dedicate 100% of your attention to the road, especially in confusing work zones when workers are present. Put your phone away and pay attention to the road in work zones to help prevent deadly auto accidents.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:28 pm

3 Types of Negligence in Accidents

Friday, December 27, 2019

Negligence is a word you will hear often during a personal injury accident claim in Texas. In general, negligence refers to a breach of duty of care. Breaching a duty means to fail to meet the expected standards of care. To win a compensatory award in a Texas personal injury claim, you or your lawyer may need to prove the negligence of the defendant, or the at-fault party. Although several types of negligence exist, accident claims involve three main types most often. Understanding the nuances of the legal doctrine of negligence could help you with your claim.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence refers to an injured party, or plaintiff’s, negligence alongside the defendant’s. If a plaintiff is comparatively at fault for an accident, it means he or she also contributed to the accident’s occurrence. Not all states permit plaintiffs who are comparatively at fault for an accident to seek financial recovery for damages. States that bar negligent plaintiffs from recovery use contributory negligence laws. Most states, however, use comparative negligence or modified comparative negligence laws.

Texas is a modified comparative negligence state. In Texas, a victim can still recover at least partial compensation from the other party if he or she contributed to the accident in question. The courts will reduce the victim’s compensatory award by a dollar amount equivalent to his or her percentage of fault. The victim must, however, be 50% or less responsible for the accident to receive compensation. A percentage of fault at or greater than 51% will mean $0 in available recovery for the plaintiff.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence exceeds the standard level of negligence. It refers to an extreme indifference or wanton or reckless disregard for the safety of others. Gross negligence goes beyond simple carelessness or lack of foresight and into a conscious or reckless act against another party. Someone may be guilty of gross negligence if he or she knew the dangers of his or her actions, yet performed them anyway, such as in a drunk driving accident. A grossly negligent person might intentionally, deliberately or consciously put someone else in danger or violate that person’s rights.

In Texas, a judge reserves the right to award an additional recovery amount to an accident victim for a defendant’s gross negligence, known as exemplary or punitive damages. If a judge finds the defendant’s actions meet the definition of gross negligence, he or she may grant additional compensation as a form of punishment against the defendant, to show the community the judge will not tolerate that type of recklessness. Gross negligence often goes alongside broken laws and criminal charges for a defendant’s actions.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is the legal responsibility one entity has over the negligence of another in its jurisdiction or control. The government, for example, has vicarious liability for the actions of public schools, public bus drivers and government agents. A parent or pet owner will have vicarious responsibility for a minor child or animal. An employer will have vicarious liability over its employees. Since the law cannot hold these agents responsible for themselves, it will hold the master responsible for negligence instead.

Vicarious liability can often earn an injured party a better compensatory award than he or she would have been able to receive from the agent alone. Holding a hospital liable for the malpractice of a nurse, for example, would generally yield better insurance coverage than a lawsuit against the individual nurse. In other cases, vicarious liability allows an injured victim to file a claim he or she otherwise would not have been able to file, such as against a dog or child. Turn to a Dallas personal injury attorney to ask questions about the types of negligence your case might involve in Texas.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:01 pm

5 Warning Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Alcohol poisoning, also called alcohol overdose, happens when a person consumes too much alcohol in a short time. The liver is unable to process the alcohol fast enough, leading to toxins entering the bloodstream. Alcohol poisoning is a serious health problem that could prove fatal for a victim. Recognizing the earliest warning signs of alcohol poisoning could help you take someone experiencing this problem to the hospital for care before it is too late. If you or a loved one have been the victim of alcohol poisoning speak to a Dallas Dram shop liability lawyer.

High BAC

First, learn how to quickly calculate a person’s estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level based on the number of drinks he or she has in a period of time. You can measure a person’s BAC within 30 to 70 minutes of his or her consumption of alcohol. You can quickly use an online calculator by entering the person’s sex, body weight, number of drinks and time since the first drink. A 200-pound male that consumed eight beers in two hours, for example, would have an estimated BAC of 0.18%.
The average person can suffer alcohol poisoning at a BAC of 0.25%. If someone’s BAC has met or exceeded this percentage, the risk of alcohol poisoning is high. In general, alcohol poisoning can happen after drinking more than one serving of alcohol per hour. This is the rate at which the liver can process alcohol. Ingesting more than this could lead to intoxication or alcohol overdose depending on how much the person drinks.


A person who has lost consciousness after drinking too much alcohol may be experiencing an overdose. Passing out is a sign of too much alcohol in the system for the body to process. If someone is having trouble staying conscious or is unable to wake up, act quickly. Do not leave the person alone. Call 911 for help, as someone who has passed out from drinking too much could die.

5 Warning Signs of Alcohol Poisoning 5

Loss of consciousness is a life-threatening level of alcohol poisoning. Keep the person in an upright sitting position to help prevent him or her from choking on vomit. Alcohol poisoning can dull the gag reflex. If the person is awake but exhibiting signs of mental confusion or is in a stupor, this is also a sign of alcohol overdose. Get the police to the scene right away for emergency assistance.

Trouble Breathing

Too much alcohol in the bloodstream can affect the parts of the brain that control vital functions. This includes breath and heart rate. Changes to a person’s breathing could indicate alcohol poisoning. Depressed, slowed, uneven or stopped breathing may indicate a serious problem. If someone has lost consciousness, put your ear to his or her mouth to listen for breathing. Check the person’s pulse or listen to his or her heartbeat. Slowed heart rate is another warning sign of alcohol poisoning.


Body temperature is also something the brain cannot control under the influence of alcohol poisoning. If someone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, his or her skin may feel cold, damp or clammy due to alcohol-related hypothermia. Low body temperatures and a bluish or pale appearance to the skin are signs of hypothermia. If left untreated, hypothermia can cause cardiac arrest and death.


Seizures are another serious symptom of alcohol poisoning. Seizures can occur due to drastically reduced blood sugar levels. If someone is having a seizure, move other people out of the way and clear the area of sharp objects. Do not try to hold a person having a seizure down. Place the victim on his or her side to help with breathing. Use a timer to see how long the seizure lasts. Call 911 immediately to report a seizure and a potential alcohol overdose. Notifying the police about an alcohol poisoning situation can get the person to the hospital in time to survive.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:56 pm

Texas Laws About Prescription Drugs and Driving

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas does not only refer to driving after drinking alcohol. It also refers to the crime of drugged driving. Driving under the intoxicating influence of any drug – even prescription medications – is against the law in Texas. If you operate a motor vehicle after taking a prescription drug that interferes with your ability to safely drive in Texas, you could get a DWI and face substantial penalties. You could also cause a serious car accident and life-changing personal injuries. Be careful what you take before driving.

Texas Penal Code 49.04: DWI Law

Texas’ DWI law is found in Texas Penal Code 49.04. This law defines intoxication as the loss of the normal use of physical or mental faculties from any substance, including alcohol, drugs, dangerous drugs or a combination of substances. Intoxication also refers to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher. The loss of normal use of faculties could refer to significant changes, such as falling asleep behind the wheel, or smaller changes that still impact the ability to drive, such as impaired judgment and slowed reaction times.
Penal Code 49.10 goes on to say the defendant’s lawful use of a substance is not a defense to a DWI charge. It does not matter if a person is 21 and legally allowed to drink or if the driver had a prescription for the intoxicating drug. Driving under the influence of any substance that impacts a driver’s faculties meets the definition of the crime of DWI, regardless of whether the person lawfully consumed the substance. Having a legal right to consume a prescription medication does not give a patient the right to drive if the drug impairs his or her faculties.
According to Texas penal law, the crime of driving while intoxicated is a class B misdemeanor. The minimum jail term for a DWI is 72 hours. A DWI with an open container charge comes with a minimum confinement term of six days. DWI with a BAC of 0.15% or higher is a class A misdemeanor with a minimum confinement term of 30 days. Upon conviction of DWI, an individual will also need to pay $2,000 to $10,000 in fines depending on the level of the offense. Other punishments include community service and driver’s license suspension.

Dangerous Prescription Drugs for Drivers

Avoiding a DWI charge is a good reason not to drive intoxicated, but your top priority should be safety. Driving under the influence of a prescription drug that impairs your ability to safely drive could put yourself and others at risk of serious injury. If you cause an accident while under the influence, you could face even more severe criminal charges, such as intoxication manslaughter. Even if you did not realize a prescription drug would intoxicate you, you could be civilly liable for the car accident, injuries and deaths you caused behind the wheel. Avoid taking potentially intoxicating prescription medications if you know you need to drive.

  • Allergy medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anxiety medications
  • Cold medicines
  • Cough syrups
  • Diet pills
  • Drugs containing codeine
  • Melatonin or sleeping pills
  • Painkillers
  • Stimulants
  • Tranquilizers

Ask your doctor how a prescription medication might impact your ability to drive. Read the possible side effects thoroughly. The first time you take a new drug, do not drive or operate heavy machinery. Find out how the drug affects you first. You may feel drowsy, disoriented, confused, anxious, stressed, dizzy, slow, nauseous or something else that could make it difficult to safely control your motor vehicle. Never combine alcohol with any prescription medication. When in doubt, stay home or arrange a safe ride to your destination rather than getting behind the wheel. You could prevent an accident and/or a DWI charge by not driving under the influence of a prescription drug.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:00 pm

Holidays With the Most Drinking

Monday, December 23, 2019

While it is normal to want to celebrate holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve with alcohol, make sure you are imbibing safely. These are two of the booziest holidays, according to Alcohol.org. Whether you drink alcohol or not, it can pose a health and safety hazard to you this holiday season. Drunk drivers, alcohol poisoning and physical assault all increase this time of year due to holiday parties and establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. As each holiday rolls around, the car accident attorneys at the law firm of Aaron A. Herbert want to remind the people of Dallas to keep alcohol safety in mind to prevent regrettable accidents.

Holiday Drinking Statistics

According to a survey of over 1,000 Americans, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the holiday with the most drinking of alcoholic beverages. Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, marks a day to indulge before the beginning of the Christian Lent season. Based on the survey, the average person drank 4.5 alcoholic beverages on Mardi Gras. This placed Mardi Gras at the top of the list of Top 10 Booziest Holidays. New Year’s Eve came second – also a day before the start of new resolutions. It would appear Americans imbibe the most to make up for giving something up the following day.

  • Mardi Gras: 4.5
  • New Year’s Eve: 4.4
  • Patrick’s Day: 4.2
  • Fourth of July: 3.8
  • Halloween: 3.5
  • Cinco de Mayo: 3.5
  • Memorial Day: 3.3
  • Labor Day: 3.2
  • Winter holidays: 3.1
  • Thanksgiving: 2.7

Men most associated St. Patrick’s Day with drinking alcohol, while New Year’s Eve was the holiday women most associated with booze. New Year’s Eve came in at the top in terms of holidays for binge drinking for both men (47%) and women (40%). Binge drinking refers to consuming five or more drinks in two hours for men and four or more drinks for women. The top alcoholic beverages consumed over the winter holidays are champagne, wine and beer. Binge drinking increases the risks of issues such as alcohol poisoning and drunk driving.

Drunk Driving Increases Over the Holidays

With increased alcohol consumption comes a corresponding spike in drunk driving accidents over the holidays. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a dangerous crime that takes thousands of lives each year. Your odds of getting into a DWI accident increase over the holidays, even if you are 100% sober as a driver. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people lose their lives in DWI accidents the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day alone. A shocking 781 people died in DWI crashes in December of 2016. Drunk driving deaths account for more than 25% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year, with a significant surge over the holidays.
Help prevent drunk driving accidents by never driving a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle after consuming alcohol. The amount of alcohol in just one drink could be enough to negatively affect your ability to drive. Instead, find a safe ride program in your state or request a sober ride home through an app such as Uber or Lyft. Plan ahead if you think you will be drinking over the holidays. Ride with a sober friend, spend the night at the house party where you will be drinking or arrange a paid ride home such as a taxi. You can also use public transportation to prevent driving drunk. Making a commitment against driving drunk could save lives this holiday season.
Unfortunately, you could still get into a DUI accident even as a responsible driver. On holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s, thousands of intoxicated drivers make the poor choice to get behind the wheel. Avoid driving late at night and on weekends over the holidays to reduce your risk of encountering drunk drivers. Keep your eyes scanning the roadway for signs of a possible drunk driver. If you see someone swerving, cutting people off, speeding, tailgating or otherwise driving dangerously, keep your distance and call 911 to report a potential driver under the influence. Involving the police could prevent a tragic accident before it occurs.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:31 am