Do I have your attention? One of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time is to look at various statistics relating to motor vehicle accidents and incidents in Texas. At Houston Injury Lawyers, we are personal injury lawyers who have dealt with many kinds of accidents. Motor vehicle accidents are simply too common today. Recently, I have thought to myself that I seem to see a wreck almost daily on Houston Interstates and it made me curious to see if there was some reason – something that might help explain what was at the time a visual perception of an increase in motor vehicle accidents. I looked at statistics from 2010 and 2020 to get a timeline over 10 years.
What do the statistics show?
While researching, here is what the statistics show pertaining to fatal crashes and fatalities on Texas roadways in 2010 and ten years later, in 2020:
According to these statistics, the number of fatal crashes and fatalities increased in on almost every form of Texas roadway from 2010 to 2020. The only exceptions being fatal crashes and fatalities on Farm to Market roads and “Other Roads.”
Doesn’t Population Growth Explain the Increase?
That is a good question. Unfortunately, while population growth in Texas may certainly 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 exactly the same 21.5% increase in fatal crashes. What is even more sobering is that in 2020, we had less 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 have to experience nearly the same amount of traffic congestion that they were used to. This is anecdotal, but I can imagine readers nodding their head in agreement.
What Else Contributed to the Increase?
Remember how I said that I did not pick the years 2010 and 2020 because of the Census? In 2011, the laws in Texas changed in regards to speed limits. That year, the State Legislature in Texas passed and the Governor signed into a 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 created 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. An interstate is a controlled access road that runs through different states (think I-10 which runs from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida) whereas 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 interstates in Texas increased 25% and 20%, respectively, from 2010 to 2021 – higher than the rate of population growth over the same period. And on State Highways, the number of fatal crashes and fatalities increased 11.8% and 12.3% respectively, within the range of population growth. There is no conclusion in this blog as to whether the increases 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 own conclusions.
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. Should you or your loved ones every find yourself in the unimaginable and tragic situation of having lost someone in a fatal crash on a Houston or Texas roadway, call an experienced personal injury lawyer like the attorneys at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC – where your family will become our family as we seek justice and to help put some of the pieces of the lives of loved ones back together.
At Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC, our firm focuses the entirety our time and expertise on representing those who have suffered a personal injury and helping our clients through the entire recovery process – physical, emotional, and financial recovery – from their injuries. We help our clients to tip the balance of justice into their favor through our years of experience and our devotion to our clients. Our care and preparation are core principles and keys to our success. The lawyers at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC can help you navigate this issue and answer any questions that you may have. If you would like to speak to someone about your particular situation or for a free and confidential consultation, call our office at (713) 366-HURT (4878) today or visit us online at www.houinjurylawyers.com. Se habla español.