Are Car Accident Rates in Texas Going Up?
Brian White | March 27, 2019 | Auto Accidents
You risk your life every time you get behind the wheel in Texas. This is true of every state; no one can predict if or when a car accident will happen. Reviewing car accident statistics in your area, however, can give you a better idea of the likelihood of a collision. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has collected crash data and published annual summary reports for decades.
If you were recently involved in an auto crash, consult with a car wreck lawyer in Houston now.
Have Crash Rates Increased in the Last 15 Years?
The TxDOT’s crash statistics available online date back to 2003. In 2003, Texas’s roadway fatality rate was 1.75 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled. The state recorded 68,131 serious injury accidents and 3,822 deaths. The most recent year data is available, calendar year 2017, Texas’s fatality rate was 1.36 per hundred million miles traveled. This is a decrease in the rates 14 years ago. The rates of serious injury accidents and deaths have also decreased: 14,299 and 3,721, respectively.
In a side-by-side comparison of crash data in Texas over the last 15 years, one can see that car accident fatality rates have fluctuated over the years. Texas recorded a low of 3,060 deaths in 2010, but in 2012 the rate rose by 11.64% to 3,417 deaths. By 2016, the rate had increased even more, to 3,794 deaths – the highest death toll since 2003. This number dropped slightly in 2017 but stayed above 3,700.
It is impossible to compare the rates of serious injuries from data 15 years ago because as of 2010, the TxDOT changed the definition of serious injury to only include incapacitating injuries. You can, however, compare the data from 2010 onward. In 2010, there were 11,779 serious injury accidents. This is 2,450 fewer serious injury accidents than in 2017.
Based on statistics, the number of fatal accidents in Texas is decreasing, while the number of serious injury accidents is increasing. The overall number of car accidents has increased. In 2003, a reportable accident occurred every 69 seconds. By 2017, this number had dropped to 59 seconds. The opposite is true for the number of injury accidents (not serious injury accidents). Injury accidents decreased from 308,360 people in 2003 to 254,853 in 2017.
How to Stay Safe on Texas’ Roads
Many different factors could cause Texas’ crash rates to increase: distracted drivers, unsafe roadways, and defective auto parts, to name a few. If you wish to avoid car accidents in Texas, you must increase your safety as a driver.
- Do not drive distracted. Pay attention to the road at all times, and never text and drive. Texting and driving are illegal in the state of Texas. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on the driving task.
- Get enough sleep before driving. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. You cannot react to changing roadway situations or prevent car accidents if you are drowsy or falling asleep.
- Drive defensively. Be wary of what others are doing. Watch other vehicles for signs of risk, such as speeding or weaving between lanes. Always prepare to maneuver your vehicle out of the way.
- Follow roadway rules. Speeding, red-light running, drunk driving, and other broken rules are the most common causes of serious car accidents. Obey all laws and applicable rules to stay safe and predictable on the road.
If you do get into an auto accident in Texas you can hire an attorney to protect your rights and carry out the claims process on your behalf. An increase in the number of serious injury accidents over the years points to an increase in driver negligence. You may have a case against a negligent or reckless driver, and be eligible for financial compensation. Hiring a lawyer can help you maximize the outcome of your case.