Texas has a huge problem. With more than 350,000 car crashes per year, we are ranked #1 for car crash injuries and fatalities in the United States. But what are the causes of these crashes, and why are there so many? To find out, we need to look at the top five causes of Texas car crashes.
A Word on Texas Car Crashes
Texas not only has the most car crashes in the nation but there is also evidence to suggest they are increasing over time. In 2020, at least one Texan died in a car crash every single day. On average, one Texas driver is killed every two hours, and another is injured every two minutes.
These crashes don’t happen in any single place. Severe Texas car crashes are evenly divided between rural and urban areas. The only major factor in determining fatalities rates is that rural drivers are marginally less likely to wear seatbelts.
This is important because it means that the top five causes of Texas car crashes aren’t exclusive to any particular region or city. They are a universal truth across the state. But what exactly are these crashes?
According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation, the top 5 causes of Texas car crashes are:
- Faulty Evasive Action
- Unprotected Left Turns
- Distracted Driving
To understand why these scenarios cause so much trouble, let’s examine each one a little closer.
When a car crash seems imminent, drivers tend to panic and swerve to avoid a crash. Given that, it’s no wonder that “faulty evasive action” is a factor in about 19,000 Texas car crashes per year. The reason is that drivers tend to panic, not realizing that swerving is almost always worse than staying where they are.
This evasive action can either cause a different kind of crash or one that is much more severe. For example, imagine a driver is brake-checking you on the highway. You swerve to avoid the crash but inadvertently sideswipe the driver in your blind spot, which causes the car behind them to crash. This is fairly common, and it’s estimated about 4-in-10 drivers who swerve to avoid a hazard inadvertently cause a crash instead.
Unprotected Left Turns
Left turns are difficult, but unprotected left turns are extremely dangerous. In Texas, it’s estimated that 21,000 car crashes (including nearly 100 fatalities) were caused by drivers making unsafe left turns.
This isn’t surprising. Nationwide, left turns account for 10% of all car crashes but 20% of all car crash fatalities. That’s because the resulting t-bone crash impacts drivers from the side, without the car’s front and rear crumple zone to protect passengers.
Driver inattention has always been a big problem, but the advent of cell phones and in-car infotainment systems have caused these crashes to spike dramatically over the past decade. On average, distracted driving is a major contributing factor in about 20% of all Texas car crashes (or about 70,000 incidents per year).
Unsafe speeding is a contributing factor in another 25% (82,000) of texas car crashes. Speeding is especially dangerous for two reasons: First, it requires much faster reflexes to maintain control of the vehicle and avoid hazards.
Second, high-speed crashes are much more likely to be fatal because there is more energy behind the collision. While any speeding is unsafe, drivers of heavy or fully-loaded vehicles are at a much higher risk of speeding, turning fatal as the energy needed to get a truck to such speeds is significantly greater. Additionally, heavier vehicles tend to have less maneuverability.
Nationwide and in Texas, DUIs account for 25% of car crashes and car crash fatalities. These incidents are senseless and completely preventable when drivers exercise safe driving habits and have a plan to get home safely.
If you plan on going out for an evening, you should have a plan to get home safely before you leave the house. Likewise, if you are ever struck by a drunk driver, make sure you consult a personal injury attorney to help you recover and hold the other driver accountable for their negligence.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a car crash crash, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Amarillo car accident attorney from Wood Law Firm LLP, please send us an email or call (806) 304-0447.