The bad news is that Texas is still No. 1. With 3,722 deaths on Texas roads last year, the state once again had the most traffic fatalities in 2017, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Texas also held this spot in 2016.
The good news is that the numbers show improvement. The 2017 figure is down slightly from the 3,797 who died on the road in 2016. This 2 percent drop narrowly beat the national average in a year when overall road deaths decreased across the country. California—the only other state with more than 3,500 deaths—saw a 6 percent drop, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Also, Texas falls in the middle of the field in deaths per capita, behind much smaller states in the West and Midwest, the Chronicle says.
Alcohol-related driving fatalities made up 39 percent of the total in Texas in 2017. The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state dropped only 0.7 percent, from 1,478 in 2016 to 1,468 in 2017.
One sizable issue for Lone Star State drivers and passengers is the Houston area’s standing as the deadliest major metro for road users in the country, according to the Chronicle. A total of 640 people die each year on Houston roads, and 2,850 more receive serious injuries, the newspaper reports. Impaired driving and speed are two of the major culprits there.
In fact, as of this writing, there has not been a single day for the past 18 years without a death somewhere on the roads of Texas. Since Nov. 7, 2000, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every single day, says the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT has started the “#EndTheStreakTX” campaign to raise awareness of the issue.
The national numbers are trending downward. After seeing increases in 2015 and 2016, the nationwide number of people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on U.S. roadways finally decreased in 2017. Last year, 37,133 people were victims of fatal crashes in the U.S., a 1.8 percent decrease from the 2016 figure of 37,806, according to the NHTSA.
However, 2017 was still the second-deadliest year on the road in the last decade. And while NHTSA officials were glad to see overall crash fatalities decline slightly, NHTSA Deputy Director Heidi King told USA Today that “there is no single reason for the overall decline.”
In October, federal officials released preliminary data showing that the first half of 2018 saw the lowest number of fatalities since 2015 for January through June, the Chronicle reports.
Of course, nobody wants to be a statistic, and it will be a great day in this state when we #EndTheStreakTX. But in the meantime, if you or a loved one becomes the victims of another deadly or injurious crash on a Texas road, you could use the help of an experienced Texas personal injury attorney to make sure you get all the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact the attorneys at the Evans Law Firm today for a free consultation.