Thousands of people are involved in car accidents every year, and most people will experience some type of motor vehicle accident at some point in their lives. Many accidents occur because of factors such as sun glare, mechanical failure, or dangerous road conditions caused by bad weather. However, many more accidents are caused by drivers who are under the influence, distracted, fatigued, negligent, or just reckless. Read on to learn the numbers behind Texas car accident statistics.
Even though accidents happen often, serious accidents can change people’s lives forever. Victims may be left with enormous physical, financial, and emotional burdens that last long after the moment of impact.
The Texas Department of Transportation provides detailed statistics about car accidents in the state. It is important to recognize that each of these numbers represents actual individuals, who may suffer from their resulting damages for months or even years to come.
How Many Accidents Occur in Texas?
According to national highway fatality numbers compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2017.
Texas is first in the nation for number of traffic accident fatalities. There is a crash on Texas roads about once every 71 seconds. Someone dies in a Texas car accident approximately every 2.5 hours, and someone suffers a serious injury about every two minutes. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2019 there were 19,506 serious injury crashes, with 30,992 serious injury victims. There were also 3,722 motor vehicle fatalities.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
A car accident can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. However, traffic volume does impact accident rates.
Drivers in Texas traveled an incredible 286.3 billion miles during 2019, up 1.5 percent over miles traveled in 2018. As the number of vehicles on the road increases, so does the number of accidents.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Common causes of car accidents include drivers driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol accounts for about one-third of car accident fatalities. Drivers who are speeding have less control over their cars and less time to respond to hazards. Distracted driving (which includes inattention and cell phone use), was a contributing factor in 19 percent of the accidents.
The Texas Department of Transportation reports the leading causes of statewide traffic accidents in 2017 included:
- Failed to control speed: 33,593
- Driver inattention: 18,477
- Failed to drive in lane: 12,716
- Changed lane when unsafe: 34,343
- Failure to yield while turning left: 5,693
- Failure to yield at a stop sign: 6,530
- Unsafe speed: 13,534
- Following too closely: 21,340
- Disregarded stop and go signal: 2,421
- Failure to yield at a private drive: 3,729
- Driving under the influence of alcohol: 14,806
- Distraction in vehicle: 12,903
- Driving after drinking: 8,770
- Faulty evasive action: 21,055
- Driving under the influence of drugs: 3,148
When and Where Do Car Accidents Happen?
There is no guaranteed way to avoid car crashes. However, more accidents happen at certain times, and in certain places.
In 2019, Saturday was the most dangerous day to be on Texas roads, with 45 people killed in motor vehicle accidents. December was the most dangerous month, with 308 fatal accidents. In general, more alcohol-related accidents happen on Sundays than any other day of the week.
Statistics also show that 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. is the most dangerous hour to be on the road. During 2019, more alcohol-related accidents were reported during this hour than any other time of the day or night.
During the work week, rush hour can also be dangerous. Depending on where you live, the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., are often busiest with commuting drivers.
More teen drivers generally take to the road in the summer months, and inexperienced drivers cause more accidents.
During holidays, the roads are crowded with more travelers, shoppers, and partygoers. Holiday drivers are also more likely to drive drowsy or under the influence of alcohol.
Many people mistakenly believe that a long road trip is riskier than a short errand near home, but accidents most frequently occur within 25 miles of home. Why? One factor may be people driving a familiar route are on “auto-pilot” and become careless.
People also might assume that driving in urban areas is more dangerous than driving in rural areas. Yet, according to the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 19 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas but 75 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2019 occurred in rural areas. Accidents in rural areas also caused almost 60 percent of accident fatalities in Texas.
Who Gets in Car Accidents in Texas?
Drivers of all ages get into car accidents. However, teen drivers have a particularly high accident rate. In 2016, more than 2,400 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died in traffic crashes, and almost 293,000 were treated in emergency rooms.
Older drivers are also at risk for accidents, and as the population ages, more older drivers are keeping their licenses and continuing to drive for longer. While drivers who are age 70 and older have higher accident rates than middle-aged drivers, their accident rates are lower than that of teen drivers. However, older drivers have higher fatality rates because they are more likely to experience complications and die as a result of their injuries. To help address this issue, many states, including Texas, require people ages 85 and older to renew their licenses every two years, and to have their eyes tested at every renewal.
Types of Vehicles Involved in Fatal Accidents in Texas in 2016
- Passenger cars: 1,743
- Pickup trucks: 1,326
- SUVs: 1,012
- Motorcycles: 420
- Tractor-trailers/semi-trucks: 452
- Vans: 124
- Trucks: 140
What Are the Consequences of Car Accidents?
Drivers being alert and careful on the road can help reduce the number of car accidents. However, there was not a single day in 2019 without a fatal car accident in Texas.
If you have been involved in an accident, speak to a personal injury lawyer with experience in motor vehicle accidents as soon as possible. The legal team at The Law Offices of George Salinas can evaluate your case and determine your potential claims. Contact The Law Offices of George Salinas at (210) 225-0909 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.