Did you know that almost 4,000 people died in auto accidents in Texas in 2016? And that this was a huge increase of 5 1/2 percent just over the previous year?
Who ever talks about Texas having such a startling number of serious injuries each year —close to 20,000 in 2016? Those people would fill up the AAC Arena in Dallas, to put that number in perspective.
Texas roads are way too dangerous. But they shouldn’t be.
I am always amazed at how easy making driving safe could be. If we could make people not drink and/or take drugs, pay attention to the road, put down their cell phones, slow down, not suddenly change lanes or tail gate, and be cautious, we would all be a lot safer.
Most “car accidents” could be avoided if drivers took this life-and-death task more seriously.
Every day there are more and more crashes reported in our local news. We take them for granted. We shouldn’t.
But take a look at these local stories in just the last few days:
- Mansfield police are still searching for the driver who fled the scene last month after killing a 23 year-old pedestrian. The hit and run occurred on the 1000 block of South Main Street early on August 5th. Was the driver drunk? Presumably.
- A driver killed two people in a wrong-way crash while fleeing the scene of a collision moments early in Liberty Hill.
- A man crashed into a Dallas WalMart. He was speeding of course. Fortunately he didn’t hit any shoppers.
- A man drove past flagmen who had stopped traffic and crashed into a train near Love Field in Dallas Tuesday night.
- An East Texas woman was charged with intoxication manslaughter for killing two people on Toll 49 earlier this year. She was too drunk to see the disabled vehicle and good Samaritans who had stopped to help.
- A 57 year-old man turned himself in on Tuesday after killing a woman and fleeing the car crash seven months ago.
- An 18 year-old driver killed a bicyclist early in the morning in Lubbock last week. Alcohol involved?
As I often ask here, what in the world is going on on our roads? Why do people drive so carelessly?
What is the costs of traffic crashes?
We have the know-how and the tools, so traffic safety should be a first priority. A National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study found that auto accidents in the United States cost an unbelievable $871 billion dollars every year. That’s almost one trillion dollars!
What could that money buy us? The U.S. Department of Education has a yearly budget of about $71 billion. Health care costs about $3.2 trillion. Our entire national debt is $20.4 trillion dollars. If somehow distribute the saved money to individuals, every single person in the United States would receive $900. That money could go a long way toward education, health care and reducing debt. Instead, we lose that money every year in medical bills, wages and lost productivity, vehicle damage, police and ambulance employees, and other costs of car crashes.
But this enormous figure doesn’t adequately describe the personal costs of car wrecks. Even a few days off of work to recover from a relatively minor crash can put a family in financial straights. A disability could mean a car accident victim will never be able to work at her pre-accident level or, if she sustained a severe permanent disability, she may never work again.
There is no dollar amount that can fully compensate for the injuries, pain, diminished qualify of life caused by accident injuries or the loss of a loved one.
Please contact me if you have unfortunately been involved in a car or truck crash in North Texas.