Since 2006, traffic fatalities in Texas have gone down nearly 15 percent. While any decrease in accidental deaths is a positive thing, Texas is still considered one of the most dangerous places in the United States to drive. According to the Texas Department of Transportation's most recent audit, 3,028 traffic deaths occurred in Texas in 2010, which accounted for roughly 9 percent of the national average that year. These grim statistics speak to the dangers of driving in Texas, but if you find yourself the victim of a reckless, drunk or distracted driver, an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process with ease and receive the financial compensation you need for optimal recovery. Common Causes of Texas Traffic Accidents Most Texas auto accidents are preventable and are caused by the following poor choices made by drivers and passengers:
- Not using seat belts: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that seat belts save more than 11,000 lives every year.
- Driving under the influence: Many drivers are unaware of how much just a couple of drinks can impair judgment and reaction times when driving.
- Speeding and running red lights: Being in a hurry and thinking that the rules do not apply to you can result in serious accidents.
- Distracted driving: Whether you are changing the radio station, handing your child a snack in the back seat, talking on your mobile phone or texting, focusing on anything other than the road in front of you is a risk not worth taking.
- Drowsy driving: Studies show that sleep-deprived drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers, and this especially applies to truck drivers who ignore mandatory sleep requirements, resulting in devastating 18 wheeler accidents.
Why Traffic Fatality Rates in Texas Are Declining Several factors have contributed to declining fatality rates on Texas roads, including:
- Car safety improvements: Modern cars are designed with safety features such as airbags and anti-lock brakes that can dramatically reduce the severity of accidents.
- Seat belt use: The Click It or Ticket campaign in Texas has resulted in an almost 94 percent compliance rate with seat belt laws.
- Public awareness campaigns: The Texas Department of Transportation and private organizations have created numerous campaigns in recent years to educate citizens about driving while intoxicated, texting and driving, drowsy driving and distracted driving.
- Red-light cameras: Intersection safety has improved significantly all over Texas because of the widespread use of red-light cameras that record time-stamped photographs or videos of drivers running red lights.
Why Texas Still Lags Behind Other States Auto fatality rates may be declining, but Texas is still deemed the 16th most dangerous state in which to drive. Traffic experts believe that the following could improve Texas road safety even more:
- Sobriety checkpoints: Currently, 38 states conduct sobriety checkpoints in which police officers routinely check drivers for signs of driving under the influence. Massachusetts, which has the lowest driving fatality rate, uses sobriety checkpoints, but Texas has prohibited them based on the state's interpretation of the Constitution.
- Laws prohibiting texting while driving: A bill to prohibit texting while driving has been vetoed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the past, and in the most recent state legislative session, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee refused to allow a vote on it.
Contact a Texas Car Accident Lawyer While you may take all necessary precautions to ensure that you and your passengers are safe, you cannot control the other drivers on the road. If you or your loved ones have been injured in a Texas car accident through no fault of your own, you need a car accident lawyer who will fight to obtain a fair settlement so that you can heal and move on with your life. To learn about your options for winning the compensation you deserve, schedule a consultation with an auto accident lawyer today.