How Can We #EndTheStreak of Texas Road Fatalities?
- February 22, 2016
- Car Accidents
Some streaks are made to be broken. This is especially true with Texas’ streak of consecutive days with road fatalities. Last November, the Texas Department of Transportation promoted their #EndTheStreakTX campaign in a solemn observance of 15 years without a deathless day.
The last day without a driving fatality was November 7, 2000. Over that period of time, more than 50,000 people in Texas have lost their lives on our roadways. To put that in context, when the last deathless day occurred in Texas, Bill Clinton was still president. Troy Aikman was still the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. There was no such thing as Twitter, YouTube or Facebook. There are currently high-school students in Texas that have never seen a day without a driving death.
It would be fair to call this streak a sign of inherent traffic safety issues in Texas. In order to take the proper steps to end driving fatalities, we first have to ask why these accidents happen.
Causes of Vehicle Fatalities in Texas
Drunk Driving – In 2014, nearly 30 percent of vehicle accident fatalities in Texas involved drunk drivers. In Dallas, the police department has recently pledged to increase their DWI force after it was revealed that there was only one dedicated DWI officer in Dallas.
Distracted Driving – There were 483 distracted driving fatalities in Texas in 2014, a 4 percent increase from the year before. Texas is one of the few states without a statewide ban on distracted driving. Common distractions for drivers include mobile phones, car stereos and navigation systems.
Seatbelt Usage – In accidents where restraint usage (or non-usage) was known, nearly 44 percent of those killed in car accidents were not wearing seatbelts. Texas law requires all passengers and drivers to wear seatbelts, and failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $200.
Reckless Driving – Driving practices like speeding, improper lane shifts and failing to observe stop and yield signs also contribute to a significant number of wrecks and fatalities in Texas each year. Speeding alone killed 134 people in Texas in 2014.
How Do We End The Streak?
Here are four ways that we can all make our roads safer and end the fatality streak.
- Put an end to drunk driving by designating drivers and offering alternatives for people who have been drinking. Ride-sharing and taxicab services can be effective tools to combat drunk driving. If you host parties, offer alcohol-free alternatives, plenty of food, collect your guests’ keys and stop serving drinks well before the party is over.
- Buckle Up! Not only will you eliminate the worry of getting pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, but you’ll also ensure a higher level of safety in the event of a crash. Insist that your passengers wear seatbelts, too. It’s also important to note that you should always use child safety seats. That includes following the directions to make sure they’re being used properly and registering the seat by filling out any papers or cards that come with a seat. Many parents aren’t aware of important safety recalls because they haven’t registered the child safety seat with the manufacturer.
- Put the phone away. Get rid of distractions before you get behind the wheel. Self-impose a “no-phone” rule when you’re driving. Resist the temptation to use other devices like car stereos or navigation systems. Don’t eat while driving, and keep conversation with passengers or on hands-free devices to an absolute minimum.
- Cultivate good overall driving habits. Make it a goal to be a smart, conservative driver. That means driving the speed limit, using turn signals and coming to complete stops at stoplights and stop signs. Be aware of what those around you are doing. Remember that even if you’re driving safely, other reckless drivers still pose a threat.
The Texas road fatality streak is something all Texans should strive to end. Through responsible driving practices, we can break the streak and make our roads safer for everyone.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident, you might be able to pursue legal action to secure payment for the damages you’ve suffered. Contact the Dallas vehicle accident attorneys at Guajardo & Marks today for a free consultation.