Should Texas Consider a Hands-Free Smart Phone Law?

  • February 11, 2019
  • Evans & Herlihy

Texas law prohibits texting while driving, but some safety advocates say that’s not enough to make the state’s roads safer. They’re pushing for a state law that would ban a driver's talking on a smartphone using his or her hands while driving. Distracted drivers kill and injure people every day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that across the U.S. in 2016, 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers; and 391,000 were injured in vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers in 2015. An estimated 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving during daylight hours. 100,687 accidents, or 19% of all reported vehicle accidents in Texas in 2017, involved distracted driving, according to the Te[...]

4 Ways to Stay Safe in Austin on New Year’s Eve

  • December 29, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

As 2018 winds down and you begin looking forward to 2019, remember: The best way to get the new year off to a good start is to stay safe on New Year’s Eve. Some common sense, planning ahead, and situational awareness will help ensure a smooth and festive transition from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. These four tips are a good place to start. Have a house party where you control the environment. Sometimes it makes sense to avoid strange places and unfamiliar situations—and if you want to celebrate but stay in a safe environment, what could fit the bill better than your own home? If you host festivities at your place, you get to stay in control of all the elements of the evening: the guest list, the atmosphere, and what (and how much) peo[...]

What Every Limousine Renter in Texas Should Know

  • November 12, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

The limousine that crashed in New York state in early October, killing 20 people, should not even have been on the road. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated days after the Oct. 6 accident that the vehicle had failed its latest safety inspection—and the driver did not even have the proper license. The limousine itself was what some have called a “Frankenstein vehicle”—basically an SUV that has been cut in half and stretched out. "When we look at limousines and stretch limos, we see a really Frankenstein system of cars that potentially are cut up and put back together with parts and pieces that were not original to them," Deborah Hersman, president, and CEO of the nonprofit National Safety Council and former chair of the Nati[...]

Duck Boat Incidents in Other Cities Raise Concern in Austin

  • October 1, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

You’re riding in a vehicle with dozens of other people, when it suddenly veers off the road and into a body of water. It sounds alarming, but it’s an experience tourists pay for all the time when they board a “duck tour.” Duck boats—vehicles that can operate on land and in water—have been operated as tourist attractions in harbor, river, or lake cities in the U.S. since 1946, many using surplus military amphibious landing vehicles from World War II. And while the majority of duck tours go off without a hitch, there have been exceptions with sometimes deadly results. Since 1999, there have been 12 incidents in the U.S. involving duck boats, resulting in 44 deaths. The most recent of these has also been the deadliest: the J[...]

Scooter Safety Is Becoming a Major Concern in Austin

  • September 10, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

Scooters have emerged as an affordable and popular way to travel in the city, but there are unforeseen consequences of this trend. One company, Lime, is feeling the squeeze after a woman crashed one of their rental stand-up scooters in Austin in early August, striking a curb and slamming head-first into the pavement, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The rider was not wearing a helmet, despite Lime’s policy that all riders must wear them. Lime operates dockless electric scooters and pedal-assist bikes in more than 60 U.S. cities and several cities in Europe. To ride them, a customer can use the Lime app to find and unlock a scooter nearby, then park the scooter at the end of the ride and use the app to lock it. The goal of sco[...]

Are Lenient Traffic Laws Making Texas More Dangerous?

  • August 27, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

It may not be much comfort if you're the one getting a traffic ticket, but drivers in the Lone Star State may actually be getting off easy compared to other parts of the country. But does lax enforcement of traffic laws make a state less safe? A recent report from personal finance site Wallet Hub puts Texas at the bottom of the list of "Strictest States on Speeding and Reckless Driving." The state ranked 51st overall in a study that collected data from all 50 U.S. states as well as Washington D.C. The study assigned points to states based on several metrics related to speeding and reckless driving; the points were totaled to arrive at the overall strictness rank. Among the factors that kept Texas in last place are: Speeding is not[...]

This Mobile App Could Test Driver Impairment

  • June 12, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

When the police ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, it's usually already too late. The damage -- sometimes property damage, sometimes injury or loss of life -- has already been done. But what if there were a way you could tell if you were impaired before you got behind the wheel? Well, there’s an app for that. DRUID is one of a recent (and ever-growing) crop of phone-based applications that allow drivers to measure their level of impairment before they turn the key. How It Works DRUID, which was specifically formulated to measure impairment from marijuana, asks users to complete a series of cognitive and physical tasks while sober to establish a baseline performance score. Reaction time, decision making, hand-eye coordination, bala[...]

Safety Concerns About Austin’s Dockless Scooter System

  • May 22, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

In April, two California companies launched dockless scooter systems in Austin. The City Council limited the two companies – LimeBike and Bird – to 500 scooters each, until the city determines the feasibility of dockless scooter systems. In theory, riders use a scooter and leave it next to a bike rack or some other out-of-the-way area; but by mid-April, the city had impounded 55 scooters that were blocking sidewalks, roads, or public areas. By mid-May, the city was scrambling to regulate scooters and published 10 pages of rules and six pages of licensing requirements. Scooter Laws in Texas The Austin Department of Transportation’s new rules address several safety concerns. The rules apply to scooters and bikeshare bicycles. Com[...]

Accidental Injuries Climb as Cause of Death in U.S.

  • March 21, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

In January, the National Safety Council announced that in 2016, 161,374 people died from accidental injuries. That was the first year in recorded history that accidental injury was the third leading cause of death. The NSC analysis of fatality data found accident-related fatalities increased 10 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. In the same time period, vehicle crash deaths increased 6.8 percent. Crashes killed 40,327 people, and unintentional opioid overdoses claimed 37,814 lives. Fatal accidents are usually preventable. But inattention, judgment errors, and outright negligence continue to cause fatal accidents year after year. In the press release about its analysis, NSC president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said, “[...]

These Medications May Affect Your Driving

  • February 16, 2018
  • Evans & Herlihy

It’s cold and flu season, which means many Americans are heading to the store to stock-up on over-the-counter medicines. OTC medicines can help minimize symptoms of illness, but they can seriously interfere with your ability to drive. Before you take any medication, read the label carefully. Some medications are known to cause marked drowsiness, and even those that aren’t associated with drowsiness could interact poorly with prescription medications. Cold and Allergy Medicines That Cause Drowsiness Antihistamines are widely used to treat symptoms of colds and allergies. But some of these medicines can be dangerous for drivers. When purchasing OTC antihistamines, consider the following: Diphenhydramine – This active ingredient[...]