The number of people killed or injured in road traffic crashes in Texas has seen a welcome fall in the past few years, but the figures still remain alarmingly high, meaning that too many families are having their lives ripped apart by these tragic and often easily preventable accidents.
Numbers of vehicle accidents in Texas
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the total number of traffic-related fatalities in Texas has fallen from 3,739 in 2001 to 3,198 in 2012.
The figures also show that in 2011 the fatality rate on Texas roadways amounted to 1.28 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled, which represents a drop of 1.54% from 2010. A further 79,573 people suffered a serious injury as a result of being involved in a vehicle accident.
Based on these figures, the Department of Transportation calculates that on Texas roads in 2011:
- one person died every two hours 54 minutes
- one person suffered an injury every two minutes 29 seconds
- one reportable crash took place every 83 seconds
These figures are very disturbing because every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy, not only for the injured party but also for their family and friends. If you have been the innocent victim of an automobile accident that has been caused by a driver acting carelessly or negligently, you are likely to be entitled to compensation from the responsible driver’s insurance company. Many states in the US require drivers to have at least a minimum level of auto liability insurance to ensure that accident victims are able to claim the appropriate level of compensation for their injuries. Insurance is also available for taxi drivers or other professional drivers, so if you are travelling by cab it is advisable to check that the driver belongs to a licensed company as they are more likely to have the appropriate level of liability insurance.
Some crashes are genuine accidents and are not the fault of either driver. Unfortunately however, too many automobile accidents are the result of drivers making mistakes or driving irresponsibly, and result in innocent victims needlessly suffering serious injury or even losing their lives.
There are a number of ways that automobile drivers can act irresponsibly and increase their risk of causing an accident, including driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, or using a mobile phone while driving to call or text. Department of Transportation figures show that 1,039 people in Texas were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes that involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. This amounts to 34.5% of the total number of motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities in 2011.
Cell phone use while driving
There is a worrying increase in the incidence of drivers using their cell phones or other electronic devices while at the wheel, even though this can cause their driving to deteriorate and increase the risk of a crash, serious injury or even death.
A recent survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that at any given time of the day in America, around 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones or other electronic devices at the same time as driving.
NHTSA data also shows that in 2011, over 3,300 people were killed and a further 387,000 injured in crashes where the driver was distracted.
“Distracted driving is a serious and deadly epidemic on America’s roadways,” commented U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “There is no way to text and drive safely. Powering down your cell phone when you’re behind the wheel can save lives – maybe even your own.”
Texting while driving is a growing problem
NHTSA isn’t the only organization to find evidence of this worrying upward trend in cell phone use while driving. Communications company AT&T recently sponsored its own research, which found that just under half of commuters surveyed admit to texting while driving. Around 43% even acknowledged that this dangerous practice was now a “habit” for them.
Commuters are even worse offenders than teenagers, with 49% admitting to the practice compared to only 43% of teenagers. Even more worrying, 98% of commuters said that they were aware of the dangers of using their cell phone while driving, but this knowledge wasn’t sufficient to make them change their behavior.
If you have been the victim of a car accident, then it is important you speak to a personal injury lawyer with experience in automobile accident claims to help you claim the compensation you are entitled to.
This blog was written by our guest blogger, Melissa Hathaway.
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About the author
Melissa Hathaway feels she has the best jobs in the world, full-time writing and looking after her two daughters. In the few moments each day she is not doing one or the other, she loves to take the dogs for a walk and experiment with new types of cupcakes.