Texas averaged 11 deaths in traffic accidents per day in 2021, continuing our state’s nearly 21-year streak of at least one traffic fatality per day. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation estimated that between 2010 and 2018, more people died in fatal car accidents in Texas, than in any other state. In 2020, 3,896 people were killed on Texas roads, a 7.54 percent increase over 2019. At least 14,656 people sustained serious injuries in roadway accidents as well in 2020.
Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents in Texas
Driving on Texas roadways can be incredibly dangerous with the causes of Texas car accident fatalities ranging from ignoring the rules of the road to dangerous weather and road conditions. Four of the most common causes of Texas car accident fatalities include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Running red lights
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Drunk driving accidents can be particularly devastating because when a driver is intoxicated, they have very little control over their actions. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that slows brain function while also impairing decision-making and muscle coordination. All of these functions are vital to driving. Alcohol also has a compounding effect on the body, meaning the more alcohol you drink, the more intoxicated you become over time. Because of this, a driver may not even realize how drunk they are until an hour or so after consuming alcoholic drinks.
On average, fatal drunk driving accidents most commonly involve people ages 21 to 24 and involve men four times more often than women. According to NHTSA, over half of DUI related fatal crashes happen at night in urban areas.
Drunk Driving Epidemic in Lubbock
Lubbock covers 135.9 square miles and has a population of over 300,000. Yet, despite its small-town charm, our city is the 11th largest in Texas and among the top 100 most populated cities in the country. Lubbock’s population has increased 14.84% since the 2010 census and is only continuing to grow, seeing consistent growth since the early 1900s. Experts anticipate Lubbock will grow seven percent through 2022. Our residents have a median age of just 31 years old, meaning we are getting younger each year and are chock full of residents that are a part of the local and regional workforce. With this growth has come a dangerous and shocking development – Lubbock has one of the highest traffic fatalities per capita in the country.
Lubbock police reported 26 traffic fatalities in 22 crashes during 2020. In addition, Lubbock County ranks first in the nation among small counties with the most drunk driving deaths, with 49 percent of traffic deaths involving impaired drivers. Compared to the drunk driving fatality rate for the rest of the United States (29 percent), Lubbock has 68.97 percent more frequent drunk driving deaths than the rest of the country. Locally, we have suffered 191 traffic fatalities in the last five years alone.
According to a study conducted recently by Center for Disease Control, Morbidity & Mortality Report, Lubbock ranks second in the nation for Highest Motor Vehicle Death Rate for Cities over 100,000 Population, with 29.4 vehicle deaths per 100,000. The national average is 15.5 per 100,000. Lubbock’s motor vehicle fatalities almost double the national average. Drinking and driving is a factor in almost half of all fatal car accidents in Lubbock according to City Data. Of the 29 fatal car accidents in 2010, 15 lives were lost in confirmed DWI-related crashes according to police reports. In total, there were 393 alcohol-related car accidents that year in Lubbock.
Speeding is the Leading Cause of Car Accidents in Texas
According to the most recent data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, there were roughly 3.8 million traffic citations and warnings, in 2016 alone, more than 1,200 Texas drivers were stopped for speeding over 110 mph or faster. The fastest recorded speeder was a man driving 176 mph in a 65 mph zone of Interstate 45 in Galveston County. Another driver in Tarrant County was ticketed at 5:53 a.m. driving 145 mph on a 70 mph stretch of Interstate 20.
According to the report, from 2012 to 2017, a total of 6,939 car accident fatalities were linked to speeding in Texas. Of those, Lubbock accounted for 47, which deemed Lubbock the fourth most dangerous in Texas for car accidents. The report also revealed an annual speeding fatality rate of 3.06 per 100,000 residents, which is 12% higher than the average across all other cities in Texas with a population of 250,000 people or more.
It’s important for drivers to remember that at least one person is injured in Texas every two minutes and seventeen seconds in a motor vehicle accident, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation. The flat, open, Texas roads and highways such as I-27, I-20, I-40, and Loop 289 lend a false sense of security and can often lead drivers to “safe speeding” and “highway hypnosis.”
Distracted Driving Accidents Caused by Texting and Driving
Texting and driving is an incredibly dangerous distracted driving behavior, and it is a popular belief that teenagers are the drivers who text and drive the most. However, new studies reveal adults text and drive just as much as teenagers. The reality of texting while driving is that any driver, regardless of age, can text and drive and put themselves and other motorists at risk.
How Widespread is the Problem?
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), at any given daylight moment in the U.S., over 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. The Pew Research Center conducted a study that showed adults were more likely to text and drive than teenagers. 47% of adults who text regularly while not driving admitted to also reading and/or responding to text messages while driving. Only 34% of teenagers between the ages 16 – 17 admitted to texting while driving.
Texas and most other states currently ban texting by drivers under the age of 18 and those with a learner’s permit for the first six months. Additionally in Texas, all cell phone use is prohibited in school zones and by school bus drivers while children are present. Even though there is currently no statewide law against texting while driving in Texas, approximately 40 Texas cities have enacted their own city ordinances prohibiting the use of hand-held devices while driving. These ordinances vary in reach, from only prohibiting texting while the car is in motion to any use of a hand-held device by a driver unless parked.
Running Red Lights
With an increasing number of drivers running red lights and the associated growing death toll, many wonder whether people are choosing to be this reckless or if they are unaware of Texas red light laws. According to AAA, more than two people are killed every day on U.S. roads due to this reckless driving behavior. Deaths caused by running red lights have increased 28 percent increase since 2012; and the problem only continues to grow. Nearly half of those killed in red light running crashes were passengers or people in other vehicles that were hit; and, more than five percent of the roadway fatalities were pedestrians or cyclists.
Contact the Fatal Car Accident Lawyers at Liggett Law Group for a Free Consultation
Our fatal car accident lawyers have a combined 70 years of legal experience, and have seen nearly every type of car wreck, from hit and run accidents, rear end collisions to broadside collisions, and everything in between. As any experienced Texas car accident attorney will tell you, there are far too many drivers that act negligently when they are behind the wheel, and put the public at risk of devastatingly serious car accident injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, facial injuries or even death, on a daily basis.
We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay us anything unless we obtain a favorable outcome on your behalf. If you or someone you know was injured in a Lubbock car accident, call us today at (806) 605-5805 or submit a contact form below today.