Vehicle accidents are not uncommon in Texas. In fact, Texas is one of the states with the highest death rates on the roadways of any other state in the country. Here, we want to examine the most recent crash data available for the state of Texas and relay relevant statistics to you. We hope that, with this information, you can understand the dangers associated with operating a vehicle and continue to practice strong defensive driving skills to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. If you are involved in a collision, speak to a Houston car accident attorney as soon as you are able to.
In this article, we took a look at Texas car crash data from 2020 and 2021, the most recent years for which we have a complete database of collision statistics for the state. We observed an increase (16%) in the number of total roadway fatalities in the state over that two-year period. Disturbingly, we noticed that alcohol-related crash fatalities increased by 24% over that same time, suggesting that drinking and driving may be more prevalent. Pedestrians (817), motorcyclists (515), and bicyclists (91) saw particularly high numbers of fatalities throughout 2021.
Table of Contents
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How Did Texas Traffic-Related Fatalities Shift From 2020 to 2021?
In 2020, the total number of roadway fatalities in Texas equaled 3,876. Unfortunately, there were 622 more fatalities in 2021, with a total of 4,498 that year. This represented an increase of 16%.
While Texas has typically been near the top of the list with total fatalities each year, the increase from 2020 to 2021 was quite large. If we look closer at the data, we can see that there was a 24% increase in the total number of alcohol-related roadway fatalities from 2020 to 2021. This was an increase of 373 from one year to the next, and the fatalities related to alcohol seem to be the contributing factor to the increase in overall roadway deaths between the two years.
First Harmful Event in Rural Texas Crashes
Both rural and urban areas of Texas come with their own hazards. However, the causes of crashes between the two vary in some ways. Here, we want to examine the first harmful event for recorded fatal rural collisions in 2021, the most recent reporting year on file:
Animal – 14
Fixed object – 532
Motor Vehicle in transport – 890
Other non-collision – 19
Other object – 13
Overturned – 255
Parked car – 27
Pedalcyclist (bicyclist) – 28
Pedestrian – 225
Railroad/train – 7
First Harmful Event in Urban Texas Crashes
Urban areas of the state saw some differences concerning the first harmful event for fatal collisions in 2021. While many of the numbers below are comparable to the rural data listed above, we primarily see an increase in the number of pedestrian and bicyclist incidents. This does make sense, considering urban areas are where vulnerable motorists are more likely to be in close proximity to motor vehicles.
Animal – 2
Fixed object – 518
Motor Vehicle in transport – 794
Other non-collision – 15
Other object – 4
Overturned – 98
Parked car – 34
Pedalcyclist (bicyclist) – 61
Pedestrian – 530
Railroad/train – 2
Road Conditions for Rural Texas Crashes
Roadway conditions often play a role in vehicle accidents, in both rural and urban areas of the state. Data from the Texas Department of Transportation shows that the following roadway conditions were present in rural crashes in 2021:
Dry – 120,783
Ice – 2,852
Sand, mud, dirt – 976
Slush – 326
Snow – 715
Standing water – 1,168
Wet – 18,790
Other – 228
Unknown – 305
Road Conditions for Urban Texas Crashes
Examining the roadway conditions for 2021 Texas urban area collisions, we can see one overwhelming factor – there are many more crashes in the urban areas of the state than in the rural areas. Proportionately, the roadway conditions remain similar between the two, but there were certainly fewer collisions due to sand, mud, and dirt in urban parts of the state.
Dry – 351,656
Ice – 4,080
Sand, mud, dirt – 263
Slush – 476
Snow – 1,064
Standing water – 1,170
Wet – 44,043
Other – 274
Unknown – 2,821
Breakdown of Fatal Texas Crashes by Month & Road Type
When examining the total number of fatal collisions across the state in 2021, we see that the numbers remain relatively consistent from month to month. The following represents the total number of fatal collisions and fatalities by month that year:
Though August was the month with the most fatal collisions, other months were relatively close. February had the fewest fatal collisions, but it is important to remember that February is shorter than other months, and this likely contributes to part of the discrepancy.
When we examine the types of roadways where Texas drivers are most likely to experience a fatal collision, we can see that US and state highways top the list month after month. Aside from highways, city streets were the areas most likely to see fatal crashes, followed by roads taking people from a farm to the market, interstates, and county roadways.
Who Was Most Likely to Suffer Deadly Injuries in a Crash in 2021?
There are many vulnerable roadway users, including motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. These individuals are much more likely to sustain severe injuries in the event they collide with another vehicle or a fixed object. In 2021, the following number of fatalities occurred in these groups:
Motorcyclists – 515
Pedestrians – 817
Bicyclists – 91
For each of these vulnerable roadway user categories, the total number of fatalities in 2021 rose above 2020 numbers.
What Types of Vehicles Were Most Likely to be Involved in Lethal Crashes?
There are various types of vehicles that traverse Texas roadways each day. Most of these are passenger vehicles, but there are several other types of vehicles that serve the community, like police cars, commercial trucks, utility trucks, etc. Here, we want to examine the types of vehicles involved in 2021 fatal collisions:
Passenger cars – 2,280
Pickup trucks – 1,1588
SUVs – 1,192
Trucks (non-pickup) – 169
Semi-trailers – 536
Fire trucks – 2
Police vehicles – 15
Motorcycles – 546
Vans – 177
Buses – 16
Speeding as a Factor in Lethal Collisions
Year after year, speeding is a leading cause of fatal accidents in Texas and throughout the US. In 2021 there were 1,568 total speeding-related accidents in the state, according to the NHTSA. This represented 35% of all fatal collisions in Texas that year.
In 2020, the number of speeding-related collisions in the state was 1,443. Even though this was fewer than in 2021, the 2020 total represented 37% of all fatal collisions that year. Despite the increase in fatalities caused by speeding-related crashes from 2020 to 2021, non-speeding crashes had a higher rate of lethal injuries in both years. However, less drivers may be inclined to drive at high speeds, reducing the chances of a speeding-related crash occurring.
Did Seatbelt Usage Have an Impact on Injuries Suffered in Texas Crashes?
It should come as no surprise that seatbelts save lives, which is why the state law requires everyone in a vehicle to wear one. During 2021, there were 1,422 total fatalities of drivers or occupants who wore a seatbelt and 1,236 fatalities among those who did not have a seatbelt on at the time of the collision.
However, it is hard to draw conclusions based on these numbers alone. Even though more fatalities happened to those who were restrained, there were far more collisions amongst that particular group, so the numbers are skewed higher. Most people do wear their seatbelts, and those who do not are much more likely to sustain a fatal or serious injury collision.
The Importance of Seatbelt Usage to Reduce Traffic Fatalities
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than half of nationwide traffic fatalities during a counted year were among those who were not restrained by a seatbelt when the collision occurred. The CDC states that wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent serious injuries or death in a crash.
Data shows that wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of death by 45% and the risk of serious injuries by 50%.
Fatal Crashes Involving Motorcycles in Texas in 2021
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable on the roadway, even more so than other vulnerable roadway users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2021, there were 522 total motorcyclist fatalities. When we examine the data a bit further, we see that there were 502 motorcycle driver fatalities. Amongst those, a helmet was not worn in 227 of the incidents.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Texas
The motorcycle helmet law in Texas can be confusing and varies according to the age of the rider. In this state, anyone under the age of 21 is required to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding. Those 21 and over do not have to wear a helmet as long as they meet an eligible helmet exemption. The exemptions include:
The rider carries health insurance
The health insurance covers medical bills in the event a motorcycle accident occurs
The insurance card should say “Motorcycle Health”
Even though not every motorcyclist is required to wear a helmet, the use of these safety devices is strongly recommended.
Which Holidays Saw the Most Deadly Crashes in Texas in 2021?
The holidays typically result in an increase in deadly crashes across the state. When compiling and displaying the data for each holiday, please know that the count includes the days surrounding the holiday, so it is really an approximate three- or four-day total for each. Although many people expect New Year’s Eve or Memorial Day to be among the deadliest holidays for drivers, the period with the most fatalities in Texas in 2021 was actually around Thanksgiving. The following is the number of fatal collisions for several major holidays:
Memorial Day – 47 fatalities
Fourth of July – 48 fatalities
Labor Day – 50 fatalities
Thanksgiving – 62 fatalities
Christmas – 43 fatalities
New Year – 45 fatalities
What Steps Should You Follow After a Car Crash in Texas?
There are various steps that Texas drivers can take shortly after a collision occurs. These steps, first and foremost, help ensure the well-being of those involved. The steps can also help maintain the integrity of any claim against an at-fault party that may arise.
Seek medical care. Medical attention is crucial, even if the injuries are not immediately noticeable. Often, the signs and symptoms of crash injuries occur hours or even days after the incident. Prompt medical care helps establish a solid link between the incident and any injuries that arise in the immediate aftermath and the days following the crash.
Call the police. The police need to come to the scene to conduct an investigation. A police report is needed in order to move forward with an insurance claim, and it is not uncommon for the responding officer to indicate who they think caused the crash. Additionally, if there were any traffic violations that caused the incident, the police will write the citation.
Gather evidence. Evidence wins cases, but we do understand the challenges associated with gathering evidence immediately after a crash. We recommend using a cell phone or another type of camera to document the scene. This can include taking photographs of vehicle damage, causes of the crash, license plate numbers, debris and skid marks, injuries, and more. If there were eyewitnesses or individuals in other vehicles that stopped, try to get their names and contact information written down.
Call an attorney. You should speak to a car accident attorney for help as soon as possible. When you work with a lawyer, you will have an advocate ready to step in and investigate the incident and handle all communication with insurance carriers. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf and even take your case to court if needed. Many attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless the attorney wins your case.
Continue medical care. All car accident victims should continue medical treatment until their doctor releases them. This could take weeks or even months. Discontinuing care before a medical professional recommends doing so could give the insurance claims adjuster or at-fault party legal team a reason to delay or deny the claim.
Be Safe and Contact an Attorney After a Crash
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another driver in Texas, we encourage you to reach out to a Houston personal injury attorney for assistance with your case. These claims can be challenging, particularly when it comes to dealing with insurance carriers and aggressive at-fault parties. You deserve compensation for your losses, including coverage of your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Reach out for a free consultation today.
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