According to a report by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), released this past May, Texas roads have become more deadly than they have been in previous years.
The TxDOT has analyzed the data from 2012, and the numbers are in for traffic accidents from 2012. From 2011 to 2012, auto accidents that resulted in fatalities rose almost 10%, from 3,067 to 3,399. In 45% of those cases, the people killed were not wearing a seatbelt or any type of restraint. In about 1/3 of those fatal accidents, a driver was under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Most DUI accidents occurred between 2 and 3 a.m, and the majority of those DUI accidents happened on Sunday.
Additionally, 467 people killed in auto accidents on Texas roads in 2012, about 14%, were motorcyclists, and 52% of the motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet.
But, it was not just drivers and passengers of motor vehicles who died as a result of auto accidents, in 2012. Pedestrians, 481, were killed by motor vehicles. And, despite more cyclist-friendly ordinances enacted by local governments in Texas, the fatality rate for pedal cyclists jumped almost 20% from 2011 to 2012, resulting in 56 cyclists killed on Texas roadways.
In addition to fatalities in 2012, over 87,000 people were seriously injured while traveling on Texas roads. The increase might be due to the fact that Texans traveled more miles in 2012 than they did in 2011. But, there might be other contributing factors at work. The Eagle Ford Shale was discovered around 2008, and since its discovery, production in the area has continually increased. The Texas Railroad Commission reports that, in 2009, the Eagle Ford Shale had 67 gas wells operating on it. By 2012, 1262 oil leases were operational on the Eagle Ford Shale. This boom in business means more traffic – more personal vehicles, more commercial vehicles and more 18-wheel tractor-trailers are on the road.
Over half of the fatal accidents from 2012 occurred in rural areas, and about one fourth of the fatal accidents occurred at or near an intersection. Almost 40% of the fatal accidents were the result of only a single vehicle running off of the road.
In 2012, every day someone died on Texas roads. In two crashes, 6 or more people died. According to the TDI report, “Texas Motor Vehicle Crash Highlights,” “July was the deadliest month with 309 persons killed.” In one single day in July, Sunday, July 22nd, 28 people died on Texas roadways.
Be safe out there. Pay attention to the road and other drivers. Use caution and be alert. Wear your seatbelt or a helmet, if you ride a motorcycle or a bicycle. If you are a pedestrian, follow pedestrian laws, and watch for cars and trucks who do not respect your pedestrian rights.
As you can see, there are many issues that we face when traveling around on our roadways.