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Fatal Red-Light Crash Involving 18-Wheeler on TX Highway 84

One person was fatally injured in a red-light car crash when an 18-wheeler ran a red light and hit a Lexus in McLennan County around 11:30 am on March 30, 2023. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Witnesses confirmed that Mr. Zúñiga, 26, had the rite of passage when the accident claimed his life.

Zúñiga was initially at a halt, waiting at the stop light at the intersection of Highway 84 and Aviation Parkway. The light turned green, and while Zúñiga resumed driving and proceeded to turn onto Aviation Parkway, an 18-wheeler impacted his car. The 18-wheeler was traveling at an excessive speed and had not heeded the flashing streetlight that warned a red light was coming. By the time he was at the red light, he could not stop in time, crashing into the passenger side of Mr. Zúñiga’s vehicle. The impact threw Mr. Zúñiga’s car into a ditch. The impact from the 18-wheeler caused Mr. Zúñiga severe wounds. Witnesses contacted first responders. While the first responders were in transit, a nurse bystander checked on Zúñiga but could not find a pulse. When the first responders arrived, they assessed Zúñiga and declared he had succumbed to his injuries around 11:44 am.

Car Crash Statistics at Large 

Crash injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally for all age groups and the leading cause of death for children and young people 5–29 years of age, according to a 2018 international report by The World Health Organization. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional injuries, including those caused by car accidents, are the leading cause of death in Americans of ages 1–44 years old. The United States Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics registered 6,102,936 car crashes in 2021. That year, motor vehicle accidents accounted for 2,497,657 hurt individuals in the United States and 42,939 deaths. In 2022, Texas, the second most populous state, had 555,229 car crashes resulting in 4,481 deaths. More than half of the fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents occurred in rural areas.

Contributing Factors to Car Crashes in Texas 

In 2022, the top ten contributing factors for car crashes in Texas included speed-related causes, driver inattention, changing lanes when unsafe, failure to drive in a single lane, failure to yield, disregarding stop-and-go signals, and faulty evasive action. These top 10 contributing factors accounted for 492,131 car crashes in Texas in 2022; of the 492,131 crashes caused by the top 10 factors, 3,483 hits involved failure to stop or yield. Many other factors contribute to car accidents in Texas, including unsafe driving of commercial vehicles. In 2022, commercial vehicles were involved in 38,621 crashes, resulting in 612 fatalities.

Facts About Red Light Car Crashes

The definition of red-light car crashes may vary slightly from state to state. Red-light car crashes are a form of ‘failure to stop.’ Generally, an accident falls in this category when one of the involved parties has violated the red light. A driver becomes a red light runner when crossing the intersection after the light turns red or fails to stop at the red light before turning to the right, where this is allowed. 

A survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 76% of drivers felt that driving through a red light was dangerous. However, records from 2021 show that drivers involved in fatal red-light-running multiple-vehicle crashes were more likely to be young males with prior hits or DUIs. In addition, the red-light- runners were more likely to be inebriated at the time of the crash, speeding, and lacking a valid driver’s license.                     

‘Failure to Stop’ Crashes 

‘Failure to stop’ violations can seriously affect violators and other drivers. Last year in Texas, over 72,000 car crashes involved some form of ‘failure to stop’ as a contributing factor. Furthermore, at least 128 ‘failure to stop’ crashes resulted in 1 or more deaths. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, disregarding streetlights contributed to more than 22,000 car crashes in Texas.

Crash Contributing Factors:

Involving failure to stop or disregard of stop signals and signs

Fatal Crashes Total Crashes
  TOTAL 72,444

What to Do When You Are At A Red Light Car Crash 

Even though there are many strategies to minimize the risk of a red-light car crash, an accident can happen to anyone. If you find yourself involved in or witness a red light car crash, there are some actions you should consider for short and long-term well-being. 

  1. Assess injuries – You should verify yourself for damages first, then you can check others to see if they are hurt.
  2. Get to safety – If the situation allows, move to a safe location away from the direct flow of ongoing traffic.
  3. Call 911
  4. Be careful what you say – wait to admit fault, apologize or sign anything taking responsibility until you consult an attorney.
  5. Gather information
  6. Collect evidence
  7. Contact a car crash attorney – A personal injury attorney with experience in motor vehicle accidents can help you focus on the important things after a car crash, starting with your health and safety.

Car Accident Attorneys

An experienced car accident attorney can help you gain clarity in the aftermath of what can be one of life’s scariest experiences. Having a compassionate lawyer that understands the ins and outs of car crash cases can make all the difference. Attorneys and their legal teams can guide the process of gathering relevant information. They will help you take the proper steps to protect your rights and give you the best chance of gaining a fair recovery for your damages.

Compensation for car crash injuries can include resolving medical bills, pain and suffering, and future medical expenses. If you or a loved one were involved in a car crash that resulted in an injury, it is essential to discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At The Carlson Law Firm, our car crash attorneys and their legal team will accompany you throughout your claim process with professionalism and compassion. We Care. We Can Help.

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