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San Antonio Legal Blog

New large-truck crash study from FMCSA announced

Large-truck crashes claim the lives of thousands of people every year, and the number of these fatal crashes has risen a startling 52.6% between 2009 and 2018 according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Residents of Texas may be wondering about the reasons behind this increase. This is precisely what the FMCSA will be investigating in a new study.

In January 2020, the FMCSA made a formal proposal and has asked for feedback on how best to proceed with the study. Among other things, the organization is asking to what extent the findings of this new study should be comparable to those of the previous large-truck crash causation study made between 2001 and 2003.

Postnuptial agreements even may help happy couples

Many Texas residents are deciding to marry later in life after they've established careers and purchased property. They may remarry after having children with a previous partner and work to build a blended family. The changing face of marriage has also meant that prenuptial agreements have become far more common for a wider range of couples. They have become a popular way for people to think about the future and plan for a potential divorce without relying on Texas' community property statute or the family courts.

While few people want to consider divorce before they marry, the financial practicalities involved can make prenups appealing. However, some of the same issues that inspire spouses to create a prenuptial agreement can arise after they're already married. A postnuptial agreement can provide a solution in such cases. More than prenups, postnups may feel like an early introduction to divorce negotiations. Therefore, it's important for each spouse to have their own legal representation to help ensure a fair outcome that holds up in court.

ignition interlocks can lead to distracted driving

Thirty four states, including Texas, require DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, though the details vary. IIDs are breath test machines that prevent cars from starting when drivers failt, and their safety benefits are well-known. Those 34 states with an IID law experience 15% fewer alcohol-related crash fatalities than the other states do.

However, there is one concern that needs to be addressed, especially when considering how some lawmakers want to mandate IID technology on all new vehicles by 2024. A New York Times investigation into dozens of car crashes found that drivers can be easily distracted by IIDs.

Divorce more likely in January than other months

While the number of divorces is declining, along with the number of marriages, the month of January has built a reputation for having more divorce filings than any other month of the year. The reason might be that couples stay together through the holidays, but then they are ready to end the marriage when the new year rolls around. Divorce can still be a stressful process for people in Texas, but an examination of the statistics can show that it's not altogether uncommon. Searches for "divorce" on Google Trends are at their peak during the second week of January.

Searches for the term "divorce party" increased by 21% on average from December to January during 2017, 2018 and 2019. An attorney who has represented movie stars and other celebrities in their divorces said the stresses of the holidays can bring a marriage to the breaking point. Additionally, people are unlikely to begin the process right before major holidays like Christmas, especially if they have children they need to tell.

LTCCS on the top three causes of truck accidents

Back in 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released the results of its Large Truck Crash Causation Study, a definitive analysis of what causes large truck crashes in Texas and across the U.S. The study focused on 963 truck crash cases from a pool of some 120,000 fatal incidents involving 141,000 trucks.

The LTCCS states that 44% of two-vehicle crashes between one truck and one passenger vehicle arose because of error on the trucker's part. Three errors in particular were frequently cited as the "critical reason" for a crash: speeding, driving with bad brakes and driving negligently because of unfamiliarity with an area's roadways.

Why prenuptial agreements are beneficial

While most people think of the romance and excitement of getting engaged, there is also a deeply pragmatic side to it. Couples in Texas who are intending to tie the knot need to discuss a variety of financial matters, including prenuptial agreements. This agreement needs to be drawn up before the wedding date in order to protect both parties.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that discusses how assets and liabilities would be divided if the couple were to divorce in the future. The benefit of signing a prenup is preventing frustration and arguments if the marriage ends. It can also prevent the expense and disappointment that can come when a judge has to decide how assets will be distributed after the divorce. While not all couples need a prenuptial agreement, all would benefit from a prenuptial consultation with a legal adviser in order to understand how they could be affected by a future divorce.

Driving tips to prevent jackknife situations

Accidents that take place because of jackknifing can be devastating. The size difference between 18 wheelers and passenger vehicles often means that those in the passenger vehicles may be seriously injured or even die. Thankfully, jackknifing is not inevitable. There are steps Texas drivers can take to prevent jackknifing, both in 18 wheelers and trucks that are carrying boats and other loads.

In cases where jackknifing is to blame for accidents, it is common to see that the trailers of the trucks were empty. Light trailers do not create as much friction with the road as heavy trailers. When a truck driver is pulling an empty trailer, they must be careful and constantly watch for trailer swing.

Splitting retirement savings in a divorce

It is possible that proceeds inside of a retirement account will need to be divided in a divorce. Therefore, it is important for an individual to understand asset division rules regardless of whether that person will benefit from the transaction. In Texas, assets are considered community property, which means that they will generally be split 50/50. However, other factors could determine how assets, such as retirements accounts, may be allocated in a final settlement.

It is possible that an individual will have an emotional attachment to a retirement account. This is because that money typically represents years or decades of hard work and discipline on his or her part. In many cases, losing a portion of a 401(k) or IRA may impact a person's financial security later in life. Therefore, both parties to the divorce should be ready for a potentially contentious asset division process.

Practical strategies to prevent truck accidents

In Texas and across the United States, commercial vehicle accidents often cause traumatic brain injuries, various personal injuries and unexpected medical expenses. A truck weighing 75,000 to 80,000 pounds can easily crash into a passenger vehicle, and the driver and passengers could incur serious catastrophic injuries or die. Consequently, truckers need to drive responsibly to prevent accidents from taking place.

Commercial vehicle drivers need to know how to drive in various weather conditions, especially during winter storms. Truckers should slow down during inclement weather conditions and apply their brakes in a way that prevents their trucks from gliding. Sometimes, a truck's parts may fail to operate in a safe manner. In this case, the manufacturer is negligent because it is their responsibility to manufacture trucks with safe parts.