Check out this news story from Houston news KHOU-TV. Cops allegedly cheat the system

A Houston police officer handed another man a speeding ticket and probably didn’t realize that the offender he was citing was also a cop. What this ticket-receiving officer noticed on his paper slip though has led to a department-wide investigation.

Montes Law Group

“I immediately [knew] that something’s hinky with the ticket,” the man KHOU-TV only identified as Jerry said. “There was no other officer, he was the only officer there.”

The ticket, however, listed another officer as an additional witness.

KHOU launched an investigation into Jerry’s claims and uncovered an alleged “ticket-rigging scheme,” where cops listed on tickets who were not actually present at the time of the offense were cashing in on overtime when they appeared in court later.

The Houston Police Department is conducting its own internal investigation into the issue, putting three officers — Gregory Rosa, Robert Manzanales and John Garcia — on desk jobs during this time.

KHOU reported that a fourth officer identified as Rudolph Farias, who was also being investigated, committed suicide earlier this week in a police parking garage. The 51-year-old was on the force for 21 years and, according to KHOU, made $158,000 in overtime within the past three years. How much of that could be due to falsely reported tickets is unknown at this time. Read More

Truck Safety Technologies on the Horizon | Dallas, Texas Personal Injury Attorney Blog

By Rachel E. Montes posted in 18 wheeler Accidents on Thursday, January 20, 2011

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We certainly applaud the trucking industry for recognizing the dangers that certain trucking conditions and driving conditions can cause to the motoring public. The Montes Law Group is proud to blog about the array of technologies on the horizon being developed by commercial truck manufacturers as well as technology producers working to better equip commercial truck drivers with the safety devices needed to better protect drivers, passengers and other vehicles on the road. Among the technologies being developed are the following:

* The vehicle integrated safety system that offers lane departure warnings for forward, side and lane departures using radar and vision technologies.

* Headway alert system, which provides a driver with feedback on safe and unsafe following distances by using visual and audio alerts.

* A lane departure warning system that uses a camera to alert drivers when they have drifted out of their intended lane and the system uses algorithms to stop alerts when turn signals have been used.

* A drowsy driver alert system attempts to reduce vehicle accidents caused by sleepy drivers by using an imaging sensor and infrared illuminators to determine the number of eye closure rates that occur for an individual driver. Additionally, this system can automatically use fresh air, alert tones or phone calls as well as audio signals that a driver pull off of the road.

In addition to new-aged technology being developed to ease commercial truck driver’s worries of becoming involved in an accident, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in its third year of its driver information sharing project known as the Enhanced CVISN. The system was designed to “enhance the safety, security and productivity of commercial vehicle operations and to improve access to and quality of information about commercial drivers, carriers, vehicles, chassis, cargo, inspections, crashes, compliance reviews and citations for authorized and public and private sector users,” according to the FMCSA Technology Division.

The project is also responsible for gathering and maintaining statistics on commercial truck carriers involved in accidents, receiving tickets as well as roadside assistance.

Commercial truck accidents are among the most deadly and dangerous collisions that can occur. Most often these accidents involve either serious injury/bodily harm to those involved or can cause a fatality affecting more than just a victim and their family and friends.

Because evidence and information gathering is so vitally important in the hours and days following a truck wreck or collision, people and families who have suffered a loss resulting from a truck wreck or collision should consider consulting with an experienced law firm that will offer a free legal consultation as to a victim’s specific truck accident case to determine the best course of action for a victim who may be suffering medically and financially from a heavy truck wreck. To learn more about truck accidents please visit www.monteslawgroup.com . Call us today, we can help. Rachel E. Montes 214-522-9401.

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.