Two of Top Five Most Dangerous Highways in America are in Texas
A recent report listed two Texas highways as the top five most dangerous in the country. The report utilizes 2019 date from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as full data for 2020 and 2021 has yet to be released. According to the report, Interstate 20 is the second most dangerous freeway in the country, while I-35 is the fifth.
In addition, the report ranks the country’s counties for the number of vehicle-related fatalities. Dallas County ranked 8th most fatal, with 10.19 deaths per 100,000 people, and Harris County ranked 10th, with 8.94 deaths per 100,000 people.
I-20 runs horizontally, and stretches from the west side of Texas in Scroggins Draw all the way to Florence, South Carolina, passing through Aledo, Fort Worth, and Dallas on the way. In 2019, I-20 saw 208 fatalities, with an average of 13.52 deaths per 100 miles.
I-35 runs vertically. It starts in Laredo, Texas, then passes through San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas and extends all the way up to Duluth, Minnesota. I-35 saw 197 deaths in 2019, averaging about 12.56 fatalities per 100 miles.
Increased Motor Vehicle Risk in Texas
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death among people under the age of 54, and the CDC reported that approximately 32,000 people die in motor vehicle collisions each year. With their dangerous highways, Texas is unfortunately no exception to this statistic.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2019, Texas saw a 1.25 fatality rate per every 100,000 million vehicle miles traveled—more than the national average of 1.1 deaths per 100,000 million miles traveled. This equates to 12.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Texas, compared to the national average of 11 deaths per 100,000 people.
Data from the Texas Department of Transportation shows that though the number of car accidents in Texas decreased from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, there was a car accident in Texas every 56 seconds, while in 2020, a car accident occurred every 1 minute and 7 seconds. In 2019, 256,797 people were injured in car accidents in Texas, but 2020 saw a major decrease, with 205,498 people injured in motor vehicle crashes statewide.
Unfortunately, the accidents that did occur on Texas highways were much more dangerous and severe. The fatality rate on Texas roadways jumped 18.94% from 1.25 in 2019 to 1.50 in 2020. The Texas road death toll also increased by 7.54%, jumping from 3,623 road fatalities in 2019 to 3,896 road fatalities in 2020. This averaged to about one person being fatally injured every 2 hours and 15 minutes in 2020, compared to every 2 hours and 25 minutes in 2019.
Causes of Serious and Fatal Car Accidents in Texas
There are many factors that can contribute to a car accident. A report from the Texas Department of Transportation found that in 2020, the most common crash contributing factor in car accidents across the state of Texas was failure to control speed, which accounted for 113,195 car accidents. The second most common factor was driver inattention, which caused 70,480 motor vehicle collisions statewide. Failure to drive in a single lane was third, with 39,861 accidents, and unsafe lane changes was fourth, causing 33,849 accidents.
Although these were the most common factors leading up to an accident in Texas, the most common causes of accidents resulting in at least one fatality were different. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, failure to drive in a single lane caused 706 fatal crashes in 2020. Following it was driving while intoxicated, accounting for 548 fatal car accidents statewide. 475 fatal automobile accidents in Texas were caused by failure to control speed, and 469 were caused by drivers traveling at unsafe speeds.
Furthermore, while hazards exist statewide, the causes of serious and fatal accidents in the state of Texas differ in rural areas vs. urban areas. In rural areas, the most common cause of fatal car accidents across the state of Texas in 2020 was failure to drive in a single lane, with 427 accidents. Next up was driving while intoxicated, which led to 316 deadly accidents. Following that was driving at unsafe speeds, with 289 fatal car accidents, and driving under the influence, which caused 188 fatal car crashes.
In urban areas, the most common factor causing a fatal car accident in 2020 was pedestrians failing to yield right of way to oncoming vehicles, which resulted in 306 fatal car accidents. In second place was failure to control speed, with 305 fatal accidents. The third most common cause of car accidents in urban areas across the state of Texas was failure to drive in a single lane, resulting in 279 fatal accidents, and next was driving while intoxicated, with 232 fatal automobile accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact The Callahan Law Firm today. Our Texas auto accident attorneys have been successfully representing injured people and their families for over 25 years, and we can help you too. Give us a call at 713-224-9000, or fill out our contact form here.
Michael uses his curiosity and skill to fight for people whose lives have been forever altered by tragic or traumatic events.