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New 'pot breathalyzer' could test for marijuana impairment

With marijuana legal for medical or recreational purposes in a number of states, the need has arisen for an easy, reliable test for marijuana impairment. Drug-impaired driving is still illegal in all 50 states, but the current blood and urine tests only indicate whether someone has used the drug in the past month or so. Since marijuana's "high" only lasts for a couple of hours, the tests come out positive in many cases where the driver is long past that "high" stage.

That means that out-of-state drivers who used marijuana legally before ever coming to Texas could test positive for marijuana and be considered impaired even though they are factually not impaired.

What constitutes distracted driving in Texas?

You're likely quite familiar with the term "distracted driving" and may even have been a distracted driver yourself at some point in your driving career. In fact, most drivers become distracted from time to time, perhaps without even realizing it. The problem is that operating a motor vehicle in a distracted state can lead to collision, which can cause injuries, which can change lives, forever.  

It's one thing to say a driver appeared distracted, however, and another to understand the legal definition of the phrase. If another driver was driving distracted according to the laws of Texas, and you suffered injury because of it, there is no reason you should bear full responsibility for the financial expenses you incur because of the incident. If you're unsure what constitutes as distracted driving, you can speak to someone well-versed in personal injury law.  

Does it matter if my attorney is board-certified?

An attorney is an attorney is an attorney, right? They all go to school, they all know what they are doing. Why does the state of Texas make it seem like board certification for different specialties matters?

In Texas, there are more than 100,000 lawyers. That is a lot for you to choose from. How can you narrow it down? How can you know you are getting the best attorney for your needs? Two words -- board certification. Those who are board certified are the best in their field. Currently, less than 10 percent of all attorneys in the state are board-certified in their areas of expertise.

Locals call Route 285 in West Texas 'death highway' for truckers

"You've got to be very defensive. You've got to look as much in your rear-view window as your front windshield," says a partner at Permian Lodging, which builds and operates what are called "man camps" in the area. He says Route 285 in the Permian Basin might be the deadliest highway in the U.S.

The route is used to carry supplies to and from West Texas's oilfields. Last year, as the price of crude oil surged, crashes in the area surged as well. As many as 93 people were killed in truck accidents last year, just on the Texas side of the Permian Basin. That's a 43-percent jump from 2012 numbers.

Texas commission: 1985 blood spatter expert was 'entirely wrong'

The Texas Forensic Science Commission, a national leader in forensic science reform, has called the blood-spatter evidence in a 1985 Bosque County murder case "not accurate or scientifically supported" and even "entirely wrong." The findings and may lead to a new trial for 77-year old Joe B. who, after 30 30 years in prison, is in declining health.

The commission is not meant to determine any defendant's guilt or innocence but to consider the reliability of the forensic science used to convict them. This is important because recent years have demonstrated that a large number of common forensic techniques are scientifically invalid.

The cognitive dangers of hands-free calling while driving

We all know that driving while distracted is dangerous. When we think about distracted driving behavior, we usually think about activities that take our eyes off the road or our hands off the wheel. Therefore, two of the most commonly discussed distracted driving behaviors are texting and hand-held phone calls while driving.

In recent years, there have been state and nation-wide campaigns to curtail these behaviors. Texas recently passed a law banning any form of electronic messaging while driving. However, throughout this push to reduce distracted driving, hands-free calling has often been touted as a safe alternative to other communication methods. In actuality, this type of behavior poses significant safety risks. In today’s post, we discuss what makes hands-free calling so dangerous:

Study profiles 4 types of drivers most likely to talk or text

An international study of distracted driving has identified four types of drivers who resist messages to avoid talking or texting behind the wheel. Interestingly, women were substantially more likely than men to engage in distracted driving, so women are the first of the four profiles. The others include people who are frequent users of their phones, drivers who are highly disinhibited, and those with negative attitudes about safety.

The study also found that novice drivers are much more likely than experienced ones to drive distracted. In fact, as the number of years behind the wheel increases, the likelihood of driving distracted decreases.

Are you concerned your college-aged child is using drugs?

Having a child in his or her late teens or early 20s often means going through a major rite of passage: college. This time can act as a transformative period in your child's life, and you certainly want to make sure that those changes are for the better. Of course, you likely know that your child will want to gain some experiences that he or she could not while living at home.

While some of those experiences may involve joining clubs or taking trips, you may also worry that your child could start experimenting with drugs. You certainly do not want to overreact, but as a concerned parent, you likely also know that students can easily gain access to illegal substances on and off college campuses.

Caught up in enhanced DWI enforcement over the July 4 holiday?

Law enforcement from Austin to San Antonio and across the state have been cracking down on drunk driving over the Fourth of July holiday period. Starting June 28 and continuing in some cases until July 15, Sheriff's Offices and the crackdown includes enhanced DWI enforcement, extra attention to speeding and seat belt violations, and "no refusal" breath testing initiatives in some parts of the state.

The extra enforcement is part of a statewide initiative funded by the Texas Department of Public Safety and TDOT. It is also coordinated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's annual drunk-driving prevention event.

When airbags fail

Although safety technology in motor vehicles is relatively new, it may not take long before you take it for granted. You fasten your seatbelt instinctively and never give a thought to your anti-lock brakes. You may not even consider turn signals, headlights and door locks to be safety features. They are just part of the car.

However, when a safety feature fails, causing injury or worse, it suddenly gains your attention, and never in a good way. Lately, airbags have been especially susceptible to failure, and the results are sometimes catastrophic. Texas drivers and passengers who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones due to the failure of their airbags deserve answers to their many valid questions.

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