The good news in Texas is that road deaths in The Lone Star State dropped in 2017. But they did not drop enough to keep Texas out of the top spot for traffic fatalities.
Figures released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed 3,722 people died on Texas roads last year. This was a decrease from 3,797 in 2016. This was a drop of 2% that slightly bested the national average, although it was behind California, the only other state with at least 3,500 road deaths each year. Due to the 6% drop in fatal California accidents, Texas took over the top spot for driving fatalities.
On a per capita basis, both states are in the middle of the pack, behind smaller western and midwestern states.
Part of the problem for the high number of Texas deaths is the Houston area’s status as the most dangerous major metro area in the U.S. for drivers. Speeding and impaired driving play major roles in the high number of fatal Houston crashes.
Data showed that alcohol-related fatalities on Texas roads dropped by .7% to 1,468, which is a bit below the national average of a 1.1% drop. The slight drop in fatalities was welcomed by officials, if somewhat cautiously.
According to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the decline in alcohol-related road deaths is welcome, but we still must remember that 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle deaths across the country in 2017.
The Governors Highway Safety Association said the decline is quite encouraging because of the strong economy and job growth that often causes more driving and fatal wrecks. Still, there are several behaviors that continue to make roads unsafe in Texas. Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving due to cell phone use, and DUI are still putting far too many Texans and Americans at risk.
Tips to Prevent Car Accident Deaths
As Texans we can do our part to reduce the number of road deaths in our state by doing the following:
- Slow down! Our state has generous speed limits, with some non-interstate roads having a 70 mph speed limit. Many interstates have 75 mph limits. There is no reason to drive faster than this. Speeding kills, so slow down.
- Put down the cell phone. There is no excuse for texting and driving. It kills. That text message you are reading or sending – is it life or death? Let it wait.
- Do not drink and drive. We all know drinking and driving kills. With Uber and Lyft rides available almost anywhere, there is no reason to get behind the wheel drunk.
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