POLICE CHARGE DALLAS MAN WITH VEHICULAR HOMICIDE AFTER RUNNING A RED LIGHT | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

POLICE CHARGE DALLAS MAN WITH VEHICULAR HOMICIDE AFTER RUNNING A RED LIGHT

By Rachel E. Montes posted in Auto Accidents: Fatality Collisions on Thursday, December 30, 2010

NBC5 is reporting that Ezekwesiri Arukwe, of Dallas has been arrested on charges of vehicular homicide charges after police say he ran a red light while driving a truck loaded with steel pipe, killing the driver of another truck near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The crash killed 55-year-old Kenneth Feldman of New Kensington. Feldman was driving a box truck that was hit head-on while it was in an oncoming turn lane.

DWI PATROLS ON NEW YEAR'S EVE | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

DWI PATROLS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

By Rachel E. Montes posted in In The News on Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy-New-Year-images-2011.jpgdrunkdriving.jpg

New Year’s Eve is often referred to as one of the most dangerous nights to be out driving because of the number of people that are out late at night drinking, and then driving.

Each year, local and state police step up efforts to stop drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve. This year is no exception. The Texas Highway Patrol announced it will have increased patrols on New Year’s Eve aimed stop drunk driving. Troopers will increase the number of patrols New Year’s weekend along with more focused driving-while-intoxicated patrols in locations with a high risk for alcohol-related wrecks during the times when they are most likely to happen, a highway patrol news release states.

During the Christmas holiday for the year 2009, DPS troopers efforts result in:

  • 350 arrests for DWI
  • 9,212 speeding tickets and
  • 658 safety restraint violations.

In contrast to this effort by the police to stop drunk driving, Texas State Rep. Todd Smith has proposed a new law that allow first-time drunken drivers in Texas to be acquitted if they complete supervision and treatment in order to save money and to free up caseloads for prosecutors. The proposed legislation is somewhat of a buzz kill for those who are fighting to keep our streets safe from drunk drivers.

AARP DRIVER SAFETY PROGRAM TEACHES SENIOR CITIZENS ABOUT TEXTING WHILE DRIVING | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

AARP DRIVER SAFETY PROGRAM TEACHES SENIOR CITIZENS ABOUT TEXTING WHILE DRIVING

By Rachel E. Montes posted in Auto Accidents: Drivers Distracted by Text Messaging and Using Cell Phones While Driving on Thursday, December 30, 2010

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How many times have you been concerned that an elderly person is not a safe driver. Imagine if that elderly person is texting while driving! Texting while driving is dangerous for anyone. Fortunately, the AARP Driver Safety Program teaches older drivers new traffic laws, how to adjust driving to age-related changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time, and defensive driving techniques and about the dangers of texting while driving.

SHOULD SLEEP-DEPRIVED DOCTORS BE ALLOWED TO OPERATE? | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

SHOULD SLEEP-DEPRIVED DOCTORS BE ALLOWED TO OPERATE?

By Rachel E. Montes posted in Medical Malpractice Claims on Thursday, December 30, 2010

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The New England Journal of Medicine has published an article by Michael Nurok, M.D., Ph.D., Charles A. Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., and Lisa Soleymani Lehmann, M.D., Ph.D., N Engl J Med 2010; 363:2577-2579 December 30, 2010 discussing the ethical and legal issues of doctors who perform elective surgeries while sleep deprived.

As the article references, we all know that a lack of sleep can significantly interfere with our ability to concentrate and to perform our work. Sleep deprivation adversely affects clinical performance and impairs psychomotor performance as severely as alcohol intoxication. See Pellegrini, Carlos A., Britt, L.D., Hoyt, David B., (2010) Sleep Deprivation and Elective Surgery. New England Journal of Medicine 363:27, 2672-2673. Chronic sleep deprivation degrades one’s ability to recognize the impairments induced by sleep loss. Sleep-deprived clinicians are therefore not likely to assess accurately the risks posed when they perform procedures in such a state, and they should not be permitted to decide whether or not to proceed with elective surgery without obtaining the patient’s informed consent.

What happens when a doctor is sleep deprived and is scheduled to perform an elective surgery. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has revised its regulations regarding residents’ work hours to restrict trainees who are in their first postgraduate year to a maximum of 16 hours of continuous work followed by a minimum of 8 hours off duty.2 No such regulations exist for fully trained physicians.

There are a number of different ethical and legal questions that arise when the doctor is sleep deprived and is scheduled to perform an elective procedure.

  • Does the surgeon have an obligation to disclose to the patient that he or she has not slept during the past 24 hours?
  • Does a sleep deprived doctor need to obtain a new informed consent from a patient?
  • Should the surgeon give the patient the option of postponing the operation or requesting a different surgeon?
  • What is the obligation of the hospital when a sleep-deprived doctor is scheduled to perform an elective procedure?

Fatigue from sleep deficiency may be due to the loss of one night’s sleep, chronic insufficient sleep, repeated interruptions of sleep, or misalignment of the circadian phase – which may be attributable to long work shifts, long workweeks, a sleep disorder, or personal circumstances. Researchers have documented the adverse effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders on individual performance.

In surgery, there is an 83% increase in the risk of complications (e.g., massive hemorrhage, organ injury, or wound failure) in patients who undergo elective daytime surgical procedures performed by attending surgeons who had less than a 6-hour opportunity for sleep between procedures during a previous on-call night.

Not surprisingly, the article cites surveys which indicate that most patients would be concerned about their safety if they knew that their doctor had been awake for 24 hours and would want to be informed of sleep deprivation; Most patients, 80% of patients, say they would request a different provider in such circumstances.

Given the data on sleep deprivation, the associated risk of surgical complications, and patient preferences, the authors believe that hospitals should prohibit the performance of elective surgical procedures when an attending surgeon or anesthesiologist is acutely sleep-deprived – and should ensure priority rescheduling of the canceled surgery. They recommend institutions implement policies to minimize the likelihood of sleep deprivation before a clinician performs elective surgery and to facilitate priority rescheduling of elective procedures when a clinician is sleep-deprived. In addition, patients should be empowered to inquire about the amount of sleep their clinicians have had the night before such procedures.

The Sleep Research Society (SRS) has endorsed model legislation that would require physicians who have been awake for 22 of the previous 24 hours to “inform their patients of the extent and potential safety impact of their sleep deprivation and to obtain consent from such patients prior to providing clinical care or performing any medical or surgical procedures.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the SRS have also endorsed model drowsy-driving legislation stipulating that the functioning of a person who has been awake for more than 22 of the previous 24 hours is impaired by sleep deprivation (www.sleepresearchsociety.org/GovernmentAffairs.aspx).

In keeping with the ethical and legal standards of informed consent, patients awaiting a scheduled elective surgery should be explicitly informed about possible impairments induced by sleep deprivation and the increased risk of complications. They should then be given the choice of proceeding with the surgery, rescheduling it, or proceeding with a different physician. If patients decide to proceed, they should explicitly consent to do so – in writing, on the day of the procedure, in front of a witness, and ideally on a standardized form designed for this purpose.

SHOULD SLEEP-DEPRIVED DOCTORS BE ALLOWED TO OPERATE? ethical and legal doctors elective surgeries while sleep deprived lack of sleep interfere ability to concentrate work. Sleep deprivation adversely affects clinical performance and impairs psychomotor performance as severely as alcohol intoxication Chronic sleep deprivation impairment Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Does the surgeon have an obligation to disclose to the patient that he or she has not slept during the past 24 hours? Does a sleep deprived doctor need to obtain a new informed consent from a patient? Should the surgeon give the patient the option of postponing the operation or requesting a different surgeon? What is the obligation of the hospital when a sleep-deprived doctor is scheduled to perform an elective procedure? Fatigue sleep deficiency 83% increase in the risk of complications from sleep deprived doctors Sleep Research Society (SRS) attorney lawyer personal injury medical malpractice injured hurt harmed lawsuit claim

CELL PHONE AND TEXTING LAWS STATE BY STATE | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

CELL PHONE AND TEXTING LAWS STATE BY STATE

By Rachel E. Montes posted in texting laws on Thursday, December 30, 2010

Several cities and towns have enacted local laws prohibiting the use of cell phone devices while driving.  States are soon to follow suit, and many states have enacted legislation restricting or banning cell phone device use altogether.  You need to be aware of these changes in order to drive safe.  If you are hit by someone using a cell phone device while driving, you may have other legal remedies of recovery available to you in light of these laws, such as “negligence as a matter of law” causes of action because the offender actually  broke the law, and that was a proximate cause of the accident or collision.

This chart outlines all state cell phone and text messaging laws. Some local jurisdictions may have additional regulations. Enforcement type is shown in parenthesis.

  • Handheld Cell Phones: 8 states (Calif., Conn., Del., Md., N.J., N.Y., Ore. and Wash.), D.C. and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.
    • Except for Maryland, all laws are primary enforcement-an officer may cite a driver for using a handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
  • All Cell Phone Use:No state bans all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for all drivers, but many prohibit all cell phone use by certain drivers:
    • Novice Drivers: 28 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.
    • School Bus Drivers: Bus drivers in 18 states and D.C. may not use a cell phone when passengers are present.
  • Text Messaging:30 states, D.C. and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. 11 of these laws were enacted in 2010. 26 states, D.C., and Guam have primary enforcement. In the other four, texting bans are secondary.
    • Novice Drivers: An additional 8 states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
    • School Bus Drivers: 2 states restrict school bus drivers from texting while driving.
  • Some states such as Maine, N.H. and Utah treat cell phone use and texting as part of a larger distracted driving issue. In Utah, cellphone use is an offense only if a driver is also committing some other moving violation (other than speeding).

Crash Data Collection: Many states include a category for cell phone/electronic equipment distraction on police accident report forms. Recently proposed federal legislation would require states to collect this data in order to qualify for certain federal funding.

Preemption Laws: Many localities have passed their own distracted driving bans. However, some states – such as Fla., Ky., La., Miss., Nev., and Okla. – prohibit localities from enacting such laws.

State Handheld Ban All Cell Phone Ban Text Messaging Ban Crash
Data
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers All
Drivers
School Bus Drivers Novice Drivers
Alabama 16, and 17 wtih intermediate license <6 months
(Primary)
16, and 17 wtih intermediate license <6 months
(Primary)
Alaska Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Arizona Yes
(Primary)
Arkansas 18 – 20 years old (Primary) Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
California Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Colorado <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Connecticut Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learners Permit and <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Delaware Yes
(Primary)
(eff. 1/2/11)
Yes
(Primary)
Learner’s permit and intermediate license holders
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
(eff. 1/2/11)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
D.C. Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learners Permit
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Florida
Georgia Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Guam Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Hawaii 1 See footnote
Idaho 2 See footnote
Illinois 3 See footnote Yes
(Primary)
<19
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Indiana <18
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
Iowa Restricted or Intermediate Licenses
(Primary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Kansas Learner or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Kentucky Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Louisiana Learner or Intermediate License
(regardless of age)
Yes
(Primary)
1st year of licensure
(Primary for <18)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Maine 4 <18
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
Maryland Yes
(Secondary)
<18 w/ Learner or Provisional License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Massachusetts Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Michigan 5 See footnote Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Minnesota Yes
(Primary)
<18 w/ Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Mississippi Learner or Provisional License
(Primary)
Missouri <21
(Primary)
Montana Yes
Nebraska <18 w/ Learners or Provisional License
(Secondary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire 6 Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
New Jersey Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
<21 w/ GDL or Provisional License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
New Mexico In State vehicles Yes
New York Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
North Carolina Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
North Dakota Yes
Ohio
Oklahoma Learners Permit or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Learners Permit or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
Oregon Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Pennsylvania Yes
Rhode Island Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
South Carolina 7 See footnote
South Dakota Yes
Tennessee Yes
(Primary)
Learners Permit or Intermediate License
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Texas 8 Yes, w/ passenger <17
(Primary)
Intermediate Stage, 1st 12 mos.
(Primary)
Yes, w/ passenger <17
(Primary)
Intermediate Stage, 1st 12 mos.
(Primary)
Yes
Utah 9 See footnote Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Vermont <18
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Virgin Islands Yes Yes
Virginia Yes
(Primary)
<18
(Secondary)
Yes
(Secondary)
Covered under all driver ban
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Washington Yes
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate Stage
(Primary)
Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
West Virginia Learner or Intermediate Stage
(Primary)
Learner or Intermediate Stage
(Primary)
Wisconsin Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban
Wyoming Yes
(Primary)
Covered under all driver ban Yes
Total 8 + D.C., Virgin Islands
Primary (7)
Secondary (1)
18 + D.C.
All Primary
28 + D.C.
Primary (23 + D.C.)
Secondary (5)
30 + D.C., Guam
Primary (26 + D.C., Guam)
Secondary (4)
2
Both Primary
8
All Primary
34 + D.C., Virgin Islands

1 Hawaii does not have a state law banning the use of handheld cell phones. However, all of the state’s counties have enacted distracted driving ordinances.
2 Idaho has a “Distraction in/on Vehicle (List)” attribute as part of its Contributing Circumstances element, and officers are supposed to list the distractions in the narrative.
3 Illinois bans the use of cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone.
4 Maine has passed a law making it against the law to drive while distracted in the state.
5 In Michigan, teens with probationary licenses whose cell phone usage contributes to a traffic crash or ticket may not use a cell phone while driving.
6 Dealt with as a distracted driving issue; New Hampshire enacted a comprehensive distracted driving law.
7 South Carolina has a Distracted/inattention attribute under Contributing Factors.
8 Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones.
9 Utah’s law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a handheld cellphone or other activities not related to driving.

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

SOLDIER TRAGICALLY KILLED IN FORT WORTH CRASH | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

SOLDIER TRAGICALLY KILLED IN FORT WORTH CRASH

By Rachel E. Montes posted in Auto Accidents on Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of a young man who had dedicated his life to serving our country in the military. Clinton Young, who had just finished basic training in the U.S. Army was killed Tuesday when he was struck by a car and fell off a highway overpass just miles from his home.

Clinton had stopped along a bridge after his car was side-swiped by a van in a hit-and-run crash, police said. While he was standing near his parked car on the side of the highway, another vehicle then hit him, forcing him over the bridge. He had called his parents after the first accident, and they arrived at the scene minutes later, soon after he was killed.

Friends and family members say that Young, who had always wanted to serve his country, went straight into boot camp soon after he graduated high school in May, and had planned on becoming a military police officer. He had planned to graduate next month at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and was home for two weeks at Christmas. He had recently learned his first assignment would be in Germany.

After his death, the Army notified the parents that their son would still be honored during the graduation ceremony, and they said they plan on attending.

Tragedy can happen. Prepare yourself to be able to take extra precautions if you are in an accident on a busy highway or break down. Build a road safety kit that you can carry with you in your car at all times. The kit should include the following items:

– torch
– reflective triangle road safety signs
– traffic cone
– cell phone
– jumper cables
– a tow rope
– portable air compressor
– raincoat
– first aid kit

If you do find yourself stuck on the side of a busy road, first, DON’T PANIC! If possible, make your way over to the left hand side of the road and do not stop on the right hand shoulder.

Avoid stopping on or near bends in the road. Make sure you are visible from ideally 100 meters in each direction.

Pull over as far as you possibly can. You will be amazed by how many cars get hit when parked beside a road.

If you need to change a tire, do your best to stop on a flat road that is not on an incline.

Stop with your wheels pointing towards the barrier (A very important road safety tip). In the event that your car starts to roll, this way it will roll into the barrier and not into the line of traffic.

Turn on your hazards immediately

Make sure all passengers get out the car and stand at a safe distance from the road.

Open your car hood to show other drivers that you are broken down and not just stopped next to the road, this way road safety officers will also be able to identify you and come to your rescue.

Tying a white cloth or t-shirt to your driver side door handle can help alert other drivers.

Use the road safety cones and reflective triangles that you have in your road safety kit. Place these at a considerable distance behind your car so that oncoming traffic has lots of time to react.

If the problem is serious and you are unable to fix it in a short amount of time, do not try and be a hero, call roadside assistance immediately and get them to sort the problem out as they are better equipped with road safety equipment for these exact situations.

Remember, it is all about being prepared, not just with the correct road safety equipment, but also the knowledge to deal with these situations. Spread the word, distribute this article amongst your friends and family and do as much as you can to stay safe.

www.montesherald.com Rachel E. Montes and Thomas A. Herald voted Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Dallas. Rachel E. Montes voted Texas Superlawyer. We specialize in personal injury and wrongful death. Call us, we can help.