Do I have your attention? At Houston Injury Lawyers, we are personal injury lawyers who have dealt with many kinds of accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are too common today. Recently, I have thought that I see a wreck almost daily on Houston Interstates. I looked at statistics from 2010 and 2020 to get a timeline over ten years. Fatality Rate Texas Interstates.
What do the statistics show? Fatality Rate Texas Interstates
While researching, here is what the statistics show about fatal crashes and fatalities on Texas roadways in 2010 and ten years later, in 2020:
Source: Texas Department of Transportation
According to these statistics, the number of fatal crashes and fatalities increased on almost every form of Texas roadway from 2010 to 2020. The only exceptions are fatal crashes and deaths on Farm to Market roads and “Other Roads.” Fatality Rate Texas Interstates.
Doesn’t Population Growth Explain the Increase? Fatality Rate Texas Interstates
That is a good question. Unfortunately, while population growth in Texas may undoubtedly be one factor in the increase in fatal crashes and fatalities, it is not the sole explanation. To understand why that is, let’s look at some other statistics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (you know, that once every ten years thing called a census – it just so happens there was one in 2010 and again in 2020 – but this is not why I picked those years), Texas experienced a population growth of 15.9% between 2010 and 2020.
This does not explain the 21.5% increase in total fatalities on Texas roadways over the decade, nor does it explain the almost precisely the same 21.5% increase in fatal crashes. Even more sobering is that in 2020, we had fewer people on our roadways as the pandemic was in full effect, and a significant portion of the population in Texas was in some form of quarantine or working from home for some period of 2020. In 2020, most folks did not experience nearly the same traffic congestion they were used to. This is anecdotal, but I can imagine readers nodding their heads in agreement.
What Else Contributed to the Increase?
Remember how I said I did not pick 2010 and 2020 because of the Census? In 2011, the laws in Texas changed regarding speed limits. That year, the State Legislature in Texas passed, and the Governor signed into law a bill that allowed the Texas Department of Transportation to create a higher speed limit on any state highway if it was found to be reasonable and safe through an engineering study. This made 75 and 80-mph zones. Many of the state highways have speed limits set at 75mph, and the interstates in Texas have areas with 80mph speed limits. Interstate is a controlled access road that runs through different states (think I-10, which runs from Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida). In contrast, a highway usually has more access points and is designed to connect metropolitan areas (think SH 75 or SH 249).
So is it Speed or Something Else?
It depends on which statistic one reads. The number of fatal crashes and fatalities on Texas interstate increased 25% and 20%, respectively, from 2010 to 2021 – higher than the population growth rate over the same period. And on State Highways, the number of fatal crashes and fatalities increased by 11.8% and 12.3%, respectively, within the range of population growth. There is no conclusion in this blog as to whether the increase in fatal crashes and fatalities in Texas is a result of the increase in speed, traffic congestion due to population growth, or even in the accessibility of state highways or interstates. We will leave the reader to come to their conclusions. Fatality Rate Texas Interstates.
What the statistics do show is a very sobering thought. The number of fatal crashes and fatalities on Texas roadways is just too high. One life lost is one too many.
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