For many Texas drivers, the potential for being involved in a serious or fatal crash doesn't often come to mind. People drive over the posted speed limit to get to and from work faster. They commute from point A to point B without any recollection of their travels. Some drivers multitask or use handheld technology behind the wheel. Others even feel that it's safe to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
Sadly, taking such risks has become an integral part of our driving culture. Nobody truly understands how serious a moment of inattentiveness can be until they're injured or lose a loved one in a serious crash.
Pay attention. Traffic fatalities are happening more often than you think.
According to 2018 crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,750 people died in crashes across the United States. This number marks a 1 percent reduction from 2017 (37,133 deaths), making 2018 the third-deadliest year of this decade.
During the same time period, Texas has shown some slight improvement, according to TxDOT's 2018 crash report. In 2018, there were 3,639 statewide traffic fatalities – a 2.36 percent decrease from 3,727 in 2017. Laredo saw 28 deaths and 896 confirmed injuries in 2018.
Crash analysts place the blame on driver error. According to the NHTSA, the leading factors in 2017 traffic fatalities were:
- Speeding - 9,717 fatalities: Many Texas drivers tend to travel significantly faster than the posted speed limit. The Drive reports on the 50 fastest speeding tickets issued in 2018, and it's quite shocking. What's worse, drivers can travel as fast as 85 mph on some Texas roads.
- Drunk driving - 10,874 fatalities: In 2018, Texas had 940 traffic fatalities related to drunk driving, accounting for 26 percent of all statewide road deaths.
- Distracted driving - 3,166 fatalities: Distracted driving was a factor in 398 statewide traffic fatalities.
Data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) concludes that pedestrians are at a greater risk of being severely injured or killed than ever before. In 2018, the US saw 6,227 pedestrian deaths – a 4 percent increase from 2017. Safety advocates cite poorly designed roadway infrastructure as a leading factor. Many roads are designed to accommodate fast-moving cars, but only offer a smattering of safety for pedestrians and other road users.
Hurt in a crash that wasn't your fault? Here are the legal options available to you.
While being a responsible and defensive driver may greatly reduce the likelihood of being involved in a crash, it may not prevent it entirely. You could be struck in a rear-end crash by a distracted driver while stopped at a traffic light. You could be sideswiped by an aggressive driver weaving in and out of traffic on an interstate. The scenarios, unfortunately, are endless.
If you find yourself in this situation, know your rights. Laredo car accident attorney John R. Solis can review the details surrounding your crash and devise a legal strategy to help you recover compensation for your medical costs and lost wages. Contact him online today to learn more.