Texas is known for its reputation of doing it all “BIG”; it is a large state with a huge population. Because of this, it also comes with big statistics.
In this case, we’re talking about car accidents. With such a large population, it’s not surprising that the stats are high. (Texans actually come in at #10 on the states with best drivers and actually ranks somewhere around #19 per capita in accidents, but in straight numbers, Texas almost always top the naughty lists.). And while not all of these accidents are terrible, many are fatal (read also “Common auto accident injuries”).
While law enforcement and lawmakers stay diligent in their efforts to keep drivers safe, it’s not always possible to do so. When the laws fail, car crash victims must stay up-to-date on what steps they should take to get both the compensation and the justice that they deserve.
If a negligent driver is at fault for an accident, injured parties are entitled to file a personal injury claim. Contact Sandoval Law Firm’s experienced team of attorneys for help filing personal injury claims against at-fault parties. Not only will your claim be filed quickly so that you get your compensation ASAP, but you will be treated with the utmost care and respect.
Texas Crash Statistics: What You Need to Know
Car accidents are the most common accidents that Texans face. As previously stated, most of these don’t result in any serious injury. But TxDOT (the Texas Department of Transportation) stats show, these accidents can be incredibly serious, sometimes even fatal.
From TxDOT, we can see:
- 2017 saw a decrease from 2.14 deaths from the previous year to 1.37. These are recorded as fatalities per 100 million miles driven by a vehicle.
- 2017 also showed a 4% drop in fatalities from the year prior, down to only 3,727 for the year.
- Out of all crashes in 2017, 14,282 of them resulted in serious injury. In those crashes, a total of 17,535 drivers and passengers were seriously injured.
- A whopping 52% of car accident fatalities occurred in rural areas. That’s a total of 1,952 deaths.
- In 2017, 35% of accidents were single-vehicle accidents. These crashes resulted in 1,311 deaths.
- 763 people lost their lives in accidents that were involved with or occurred at intersections in 2017 alone.
- In the same year, 553 people died in head-on collisions.
- Roughly 40% of traffic fatalities in 2017 occurred because the victims were not wearing their seat belts.
- According to data from 2017, someone is killed on the road every 2hrs, 20 mins, and someone is injured just about every 2 minutes.
While these stats are alarming on their own, they are not the only stats we will be looking at.
Texas Crash Statistics: Trucks
Smaller vehicles cannot stand up to heavier, tougher commercial trucks. That is why, when the two collide, those in the passenger vehicles typically suffer severe injuries.
TxDOT offers us these stats regarding truck accidents:
- Over 13% of all truck accidents for the whole US happened in Texas.
- Going back to 2010, there were 284 truck accident fatalities and 2,339 truck accidents that caused serious injuries.
- In that same year, commercial truck accidents totaled up to a whopping 15,676.
- Commercial truck crashes result in 1.29 deaths, as measured per 100,000,000 miles driven.
- In Texas, the average annual number of commercial truck crashes is typically somewhere around 300. These result in an average of around 2,000 injuries annually.
With those stats, it is obvious that commercial truck accidents are dangers – and a serious issue in Texas. The odds are just too stacked against smaller vehicle operators when they’re up against big trucks. And while these stats are bad, just wait until you see the statistics for motorcycle accidents in Texas.
Texas Crash Statistics: Motorcycles
With a beautiful climate year-round and a heart for adventure, many Texans opt for motorcycles. Not only is it fun, but it helps to cut down on gas costs on those long-haul trips. However, it’s no secret that operating a motorcycle is more dangerous than operating a passenger vehicle. And, unfortunately, when a motorcycle accident occurs, the driver has great odds of fatal or serious injury.
For comparison, here are some Texas stats for motorcycle accidents:
- Motorcycle accidents resulted in 505 fatalities in 2017.
- Of those 505 fatalities, 301 happened in cities, while rural roads saw only 204.
- Motorcyclists in Texas as 25x more likely to have an accident than people in passenger vehicles (per miles driven).
- In 2017, 52% of bikers killed in motorcycle accidents weren’t wearing their helmets.
- Of accidents involving passenger vehicles and motorcycles, 42% of them were when riders were turning left.
- On the same roads, bikers are 5x more likely to be injured than people in larger vehicles.
- Startlingly, over 95% of motorcycle accidents result in some form of injury.
- When a biker is involved in an accident, 45% report sustaining moderate to severe injury.
- Roughly 3/4 motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle.
- Bikes are 25x more like to suffer fatalities during an accident than drivers of more standard vehicles.
Bikers have it rough when it comes to traffic accidents.
Read also: Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents.
Let’s take a look at what might cause the sort of accidents we’ve been talking about.
Fatal Crashes in Texas: Common Causes
The Lone Star State is known for its beauty and Southern hospitality, so it is easy to wonder why the stats for traffic fatalities are so high. Sadly, there is not just a single reason, but many factors.
Some of these include:
Not paying attention to traffic signals and signs. We all know that the traffic signals and signs are there to keep us safe. They help to create a safe and fair traffic pattern. However, not everyone pays attention. Some even outright ignore them.
Speeding. Texas is a huge state with long roads. It can be easy to not realize you’re over the speed limit, or purposely speed to get to your destination more quickly. However, speeding does not just up your chances of having an accident, it also makes those accidents much more severe. It’s important to follow speed limit signs, always.
Road rage. If you have driven in Houston, Austin, or Dallas, you’ve probably seen road rage – if not experienced it yourself. However, it is more than throwing unfriendly gestures or yelling at the guy next to you. It is a dangerous sort of irrationality that can lead a person to drive dangerously. It can lead to some very serious crashes.
Reckless driving. Reckless driving, while similar, is different from just speeding. It can entail switching lanes erratically, following behind another car too closely, cutting people off suddenly, and excessive speeding. Because reckless driving is so unpredictable, it is easy to see why it causes so many accidents.
Drugged driving. Despite Texas not following other state’s legalization laws, many residents still toke up and drive. But marijuana isn’t the only sort of drugged driving. Like with other states, Texas natives are susceptible to drug dependency issues that lead to drugged driving. Even prescription drugs can cause traffic accidents when the driver doesn’t realize or doesn’t care that their new prescription may interfere with their ability to safely operate a vehicle.
Drunk driving. In Texas, drunk driving is responsible for 100s of deaths on the road annually. As in most states, Texas’ LBAL (or legal blood alcohol limit) for those operating vehicles is 0.08%. Unfortunately, some Texans still get behind the wheel even when they have been drinking. This is one of the most preventable causes of traffic accidents.
Distracted driving. It’s easy to look down your nose at drunk or drugged driving, but distracted driving has been illegal in Texas since 2017 – yet most people are still very guilty of doing it. Most people know that using a phone (such as texting or calling) qualifies as distracted driving. But did you know that many other things also fall under that banner? Anything that causes a distraction while driving such as loud music, grooming, and applying make-up, and eating are just a few examples.
When someone is engaging in any of these sorts of behaviors while driving and they cause an accident, all injured parties can hold that person and their insurance company accountable and liable for what they have inflicted on them.
How Can Texas Reduce Accidents in Texas?
Naturally, legislators have tried many ways to reduce (if not stop) the number of traffic accidents. They want to help to make Texas roads safe. A bill, HB 1287, proposed an idea; Reduce speed limits for roads with no posted speed limit down to 25 from 30. However, while this has received overwhelming support across the board, it is still waiting for the full House to vote.
Another bill, SB 43, pushes to make using handheld devices while driving illegal. True, some cities have already instituted similar laws, however, this would make it against the law for anyone in the state. This law would push the use of hands-free, wireless devices only, and severely punish drivers if they were caught holding their phone. The Senate has yet to hear this bill, however.
HB 4243 seeks to change the language of the Texas Transport Code. It suggests that the term “accident” implies inevitability and wants references to “accidents” changed to “crashes”. This is due to the term “crash” sounding more shocking and implying that someone is at fault. This is another bill waiting to be heard by the Senate.
Don’t Wait to Seek Justice
With car accidents being somewhat common in Texas, it can be easy to write it off, especially if you weren’t grievously injured. However, you must understand this: When an accident is someone else’s fault, you could be owed compensation.
However, car accident claims easily become difficult. That is what it’s also important to contact a Texas car accident lawyer. You want a firm with experience, who knows how to battle big insurance companies (Read also “Most common insurance topics”) and get you what you deserve and what you need.