Does the threat of a traffic ticket have a deterrent effect on reckless and risk-prone drivers? In Texas, where the annual number of speeding and other traffic tickets has dropped by more than 433,000 over the past five years, a recent increase in teen driving fatalities raises real concerns, says Dallas personal injury/criminal defense lawyer Robert S. Gregg.
Gregg notes that teen drivers are a notoriously impulsive, reckless and risk-prone group, and that’s just one of the reasons why insurance rates for teen drivers are triple that of most adults. Drivers, and teens in particular, need to know that careless driving habits have real consequences.
“If drivers are running more red lights, speeding and violating the law without consequences, you’re going to see more wrecks and injuries,” says Gregg, whose personal injury practice includes representing individuals who have been injured in crashes caused by reckless and negligent drivers. Gregg has particular expertise representing victims who have been injured by truck drivers and other commercial vehicles. “Teens especially need to know that there are serious consequences for reckless driving. This drop in traffic enforcement also represents a significant loss in revenue at a time when city and county budgets are very tight.”
Gregg cites an 18 percent increase in teen fatalities statewide between the first half of 2010 and the first half of 2011. Meanwhile, between 2007 and 2011 the annual number of traffic tickets statewide has dropped 10 percent. Dallas police in particular are writing far fewer citations – the 223,651 citations written in 2011 represent a drop of 170,000 citations compared to 2007. Here’s the Dallas Morning News’ take on the trend.
Posting thoughts, photos and opinions on Facebook and Twitter has become almost second nature nowadays.
Yet seemingly offhand online comments and photo uploads can become part of the official court record, especially if they’re done in the midst of a divorce. And despite repeated warnings of the potential perils, husbands and wives continue to do so.
“We’ve been warning clients for years to be much, much more careful in their use of social media, but people in the middle of a divorce are a little bit like people in love – they aren’t always thinking straight,” said Dallas attorney Mike McCurley of the family law firm McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing L.L.P.
“I advise them to be super cautious about their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and anything else they may have that could show up as evidence against them,” McCurley said. “If your ex wants to find incriminating evidence, make him or her work a little harder.”
A search of social media sites has become de rigueur in divorce cases, writes MSNBC:
Oversharing on social networks has led to an overabundance of evidence in divorce cases. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including YouTube and LinkedIn, over the last five years.
Given the content that Facebook, Twitter and other outlets provide, it’s no wonder they’re becoming a resource for spouses who are looking for evidence to support their divorce claims.