Accident Fatalities in Texas
Texas has had an alarming number of fatal traffic crashes – in the past 15 years, not a single day has gone by without someone’s dying in a Texas car accident. These accidents have claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people, and those deaths have affected families and communities in ways that are too complex to measure.
Many fatal crashes can be attributed to reckless behaviors, such as distracted driving, driving while intoxicated, or speeding. People who either don’t think about how their actions affect others or don’t care cause fatal accidents and unimaginable grief for the children, parents, and loved ones of those killed.
If a negligent driver caused an accident that killed someone in your family, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. The Evans Law Firm has years of experience helping victims of car accidents seek justice through wrongful death claims.
Texas Crash Facts
Crash statistics from 2014 show that Texas had a traffic fatality rate of about 13 deaths per 100,000 people. While that’s not the highest per-capita fatality rate in the nation, it’s three points above the national average. But according to data released in December 2015, Texas does hold the dubious distinction of ranking higher than all other states for:
- Overall fatalities – 3,538
- Alcohol-related fatalities – 1,446
Because Texas is home to millions of people, it’s logical to assume that the state would have a higher number of fatalities than smaller states. But California’s population is about 12 million more people than Texas and had about 500 fewer traffic fatalities in 2014, so population size alone doesn’t explain the number of deadly crashes on Texas roads.
Rural Road Crashes
Fatalities are also measured in deaths per 100 million miles traveled; in Texas, that number is 1.46 – not as high as the rates in Montana, Wyoming, or Alaska, but still above the national average. What these four states have in common is vast expanses of roads traversing rural areas.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, only 19 percent of Americans live in rural areas, but 55 percent of all road fatalities happened out in the country. That’s a fact supported by Texas Department of Transportation Statistics. In 2014:
- Of the 476,875 crashes, most (355,879) occurred in urban areas.
- Of the 3,534 traffic fatalities, 1,974 occurred in rural areas, and 1,560 occurred in urban areas.
The disproportionately high number of fatal rural crashes could be due to a combination of factors, such as speeding, narrow or poorly maintained roads, and a lack of guard rails. Drivers in rural areas are also more likely to drink and drive, and rural areas don’t have the police presence of big cities, so drunk drivers are less likely to be caught.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute released a report in October 2015 that found increased rural road traffic due to oil well development has led to an increase in crashes involving large commercial vehicles. Comparing two three-year periods – 2006 to 2009, and 2010 to 2013 – the report found:
- In the west Texas Permian Basin region, rural crashes involving commercial vehicles increased 52 percent, and crash injury costs increased 103 percent.
- In the southeast Texas Eagle Ford Shale, rural crashes involving commercial vehicles increased 61 percent, and crash injury costs increased 52 percent.
Creating a Safer Environment
Lawmakers and public safety officials want to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in Texas, but it’s no easy task. Roadways may need to be improved and repaired – and in the Eagle Ford Shale’s DeWitt County, the cost of rebuilding damaged roads would cost an estimated $432 million. Other improvements that help keep drivers safe, such as added traffic lanes and signals, cost money that many local governments don’t have.
One of the most important factors in reducing fatal crashes is changing public attitudes about dangerous driving, and many organizations are trying to do that. TXDoT launches an education campaign each April, in accordance with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. MADD Texas holds several vigils, walks, and other events that honor the victims of drunk driving crashes. Hopefully, these efforts will encourage Texas drivers to be responsible in their choices.
Justice for Families
The grief families experience after losing a loved one in a crash is compounded when that crash was preventable. Negligent drivers should be held accountable for their actions, and The Evans Law Firm has helped many families find justice, when a driver caused a crash that killed a loved one.
If your family member died in a fatal accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out our online form or calling us at 1-855-414-1012.