The rate of serious car accidents has been rising throughout the United States in recent years. It skyrocketed during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, there has been little improvement. In March, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) published its official car accident report for 2021—finding that it was the second deadliest year on our roads in the state’s history. In this article, our Houston car accident attorneys provide an overview of the concerning highway safety data released by TxDOT.
A Sharp Spike in Catastrophic Car Accidents Across the State of Texas
According to the official report from TxDOT, there were 4,480 automobile accident fatalities reported in Texas in 2021. That represents a sharp increase when compared to the number of car crash fatalities in the state in 2020. In fact, last year was the “second deadliest year since TxDOT began tracking fatalities in 1940.” Only 1981 had more car accident fatalities than 2021. While the rate of car accident deaths is still, thankfully, significantly lower than in the 1980s, it is clear that we have a new public health crisis.
The highway safety trend is going in the wrong direction. Car crash rates have been gradually rising in Texas for more than a decade. Notably, the rise in catastrophic and fatal motor vehicle collisions has not been restricted to any one region. All communities in our state are affected, from urban to rural and from Southeast Texas to West Texas. Further, Texas is not an outlier. There has been a national trend of rising car accidents over the last two years.
Authorities Suspect that Dangerous Driving Behaviors are Rising
More research is still needed to determine why the number of serious motor vehicle collisions are rising in Texas. That being said, some preliminary research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that there has been a concerning increase in the rate of risky driving behaviors. More specifically, highway safety advocates caution that there has been a rise in:
- Traffic violations;
- Distracted driving; and
- Intoxicated driving (drunk and drugged driving).
As aptly explained by Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan, “Driver behavior is one of the causes, but also one of the most important solutions.” All motorists have a legal obligation to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. When they fail to live up to this responsibility, they put themselves and others in harm’s way. Negligent drivers can be held liable for a resulting accident.
Consult With an Auto Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Houston car accident lawyers are aggressive, experienced advocates for victims and their families. If you or your loved one was involved in a serious car wreck, we are more than ready to help. Get in touch with us by phone or use our online contact form to schedule your free, fully confidential initial case review. From our Houston law office, we represent motor vehicle accident claims in Harris County and throughout Southeast Texas.