A truck driver near Plano was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter in connection with the death of an 83-year-old woman.
According to a report by the Dallas Morning News, the collision occurred about 11:00 in the morning in Wylie in northeast Dallas County.
Police officers discovered that the dump truck driver was carrying a bottle of vodka and may have been DWI.
I’ve handled a lot of drunk driving injury cases over the last 34 years and if the truck driver was driving while intoxicated, he — and his company — needs to be nailed.
How Do We Stop This Horrific Problem?
Crashes like this do not need to just be another routine news story. We in Texas do not have to have the shameful honor of having more drunk driving wrecks than any other state, including California, with 12 million more people.
Drunk Driving in Texas
Almost half of the 1,296 people who were killed in motor vehicle collisions in Texas in 2012 were involved in a drunk driving collision. And this shocking figure increased 7% from the huge number from the year before.
Drunk driving crashes, like the one in North Dallas here, are often the most devastating wrecks. Rarely is a drunk driving collision just a fender bender. Instead, it’s usually a high speed, head-on impact.
Drunk Driving in Dallas Fort Worth
Driving while intoxicated is a growing problem in our booming Dallas-Fort Worth area. Just last year, 121 people were killed and 1,261 others were seriously injured by DWI or DUI drivers just in Tarrant and Dallas Counties. And I bet that you didn’t know that Dallas has the highest rate of drunk driving deaths of any city in the U.S.
Typical New Case
You shouldn’t have to worry about being killed just because you’re driving home from work, should you? Just yesterday, I met with a man who was just been rear-ended in North Fort Worth and was seriously injured. He believes that the at-fault driver had been drinking. Here’s a photo of that guy’s vehicle.
I’m going to file suit, subpoena that driver’s medical records, and if he was DWI, demand that punitive damages be paid to my client in addition to his medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Proving a Drunk Driving Case at Trial
In order for a plaintiff to get an award, he must show that the defendant was the party who was responsible for his injuries and that the defendant was acting negligently.
When it comes to proving that a drunk driver was negligent, the law allows plaintiffs to take a shortcut by pointing to the fact that the drunk driver was in violation of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits drunk driving. This principle is called “negligence per se” and is available to any Texas accident victim who was injured by a defendant who was engaging in prohibited conduct.
Our Criminal Laws Don’t Seem To Be Working
Despite the dangers of drunk driving and the seriousness of the consequences, far too many people get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking. Here’s some sobering statistics. In 2012, there were
* Almost 17,000 alcohol-related crash injuries,
* Almost 90,000 DWI arrests, and
* $6 billion was paid by taxpayers for police, hospitals, etc. due to these fatalities.
If the offender is caught, Texas has some tough criminal laws, with some repeat offenders serving what can amount to effective life sentences. But apparently that’s not working.
Civil Lawsuits Can Also Deter Drunk Drivers
It’s not just the criminal consequences of getting into a DWI accident that potential offenders should fear. The civil repercussions can also be life-changing.
Texas permits the victims of drunk driving accidents to recover from the person who caused their injuries. This means that the defendant (and his or her insurance company) can be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars depending on the injuries. The at-fault driver loses his insurance coverage and must pay as much as three times as much to renew with a high risk company, in addition to the other bills he incurs.
The “Affluenza Case”
I recently settled the critically injured passenger’s claim in the controversial “Affluenza teen” case for a confidential sum of money. There, the young 16 year old’s driver’s blood alcohol content was an astonishing .24% — three times the legal limit if he had been 21. The teen driver was driving his father’s company’s oversized Ford 350 truck at a speed of 70 miles per hour on a residential street in Burleson when he crashed into a group of Good Samaritans, tragically killing four people, profoundly injuring my fine young client, and hurting several other teens.
This case still angers me, but I have no doubt that crashes like this will continue ad infinitum. until we get the message through to people that they cannot drink and drive. I sincerely hope that the publicity from the case has discouraged some people — especially younger ones — from driving while intoxicated.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
I also hope that Mothers Against Drunk Drivers can get through to people. I’m proud to be the sponsor of the Fort Worth Walk Like MADD in Fort Worth on November 1st and encourage every one to attend and contribute to this worthy cause. Click here for more information.
Have You Been Injured in a Auto or Truck Accident in Fort Worth or Dallas?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a truck accident, you should speak to a Fort Worth truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to a sizable financial recovery. Click here, or call 817-885-8000 (or toll-free at 1-888-801-8585) to schedule a free initial consultation with a dedicated Fort Worth truck accident attorney.
Texas DPS Cracks Down on Unsafe 18 Wheel Trucks, July 23, 2014.
18 Wheeler Wreck Kills Driver in Fort Worth, June 27, 2014.