How can we stop the epidemic of Texas traffic deaths?
Car and truck accidents take the lives of thousands of Texans each year. Naturally, most of us don’t stop to think how devastating driving can be until it affects us personally. For example, in less than one hour early on Sunday morning, these three residents of our area tragically died on or near Interstate 20: a 16-year-old girl in South Dallas, an Arlington man, and a former running back from Mansfield who played for the University of Iowa. These Texas traffic deaths are heart-breaking. We at Berenson Injury Law send our sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased.
But on a brighter note, there was a little good news on our roads we can share. Our streets were a little safer in 2018. Texas traffic deaths declined by four percent from 3,720 people to only 3,567, according to a new report.
What caused this to happen? The only thing that was different is that our state legislature finally passed a law that banned some texting while driving.
But the number of Texas traffic deaths is still extremely high.
Leading causes of Texas traffic deaths
According to 2017 statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, these horrendous driving behaviors (which can be hard to know for certain) caused the most number of fatalities:
Poor driving – 1,223
Speeding – 1,178
Reckless driving – 649
DWI/drinking – 645
Cell phone use – 72
Poor and reckless driving
It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between reckless driving and just plain lousy driving, but they cause the most serious car crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
Reckless driving is defined as driving a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. An offense is punishable by a jail sentence up to 30 days and/or a fine up to $200.00 under the Texas Transportation Code –– and a lawsuit for damages in a civil court.
These are examples of what an injury lawyer in Fort Worth or Dallas sees on a daily basis:
- failing to stop at a traffic light or stop sign,
- failing to signal lane changes,
- cutting off and running other vehicles off the road,
- failing to yield the right of way,
- taking faulty evasive action,
- passing in a no passing lane,
- passing when unsafe,
- failing to stay in a single lane,
- driving too fast around a curve or other dangerous area,
- driving while fatigued,
- driving under the influence of medications,
- driving while undergoing medical treatment, e.g. wearing a cast on the hand or foot,
- driving while subject to a medical condition, e.g. diabetes that could result in a sudden diabetic coma,
- failing to slow down in a construction zone or other reduced speed area,
- driving a poorly maintained or defective vehicle,
- leaving a disabled vehicle in a lane of traffic,
- failing to leave emergency flashers or lights on at night if vehicle is disabled,
- backing unsafely, and
- other stupid driving tricks.
Rudeness, traffic congestion and daily stress can erupt into aggressive driving behavior known as road rage. These are clear-cut signs:
- flashing head lights,
- braking suddenly,
- screaming, and
- making angry hand and facial gestures
Texas residents need to be reminded that about 100 fatalities are caused each month by speeding. This increases the chances of a wreck happening, not to mention its severity. Speeding goes hand in hand with all of the other causes, especially the next category.
A new report called “Speeding Away From Zero” suggests ways we can retrain out-of-control drivers with stricter law enforcement and education.
Driving while intoxicated and under the influence
Texas has always been the top state for DWIs and DUIs. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that 1,468 people in Texas died at the hands of an intoxicated driver in 2017.
This vital organization that I support advocates for those victims affected by DWIs. It wants the state to mandate sobriety checkpoints and tighten the 2015 law requiring ignition interlocks for those convicted of this this crime.
More on this topic: Car crash epidemic has to be stopped
Cell phone use/distracted driving
When I got my driver’s license in 1970, we had no cell phones, just push button AM radios. Now it seems that everyone is looking down at them as their iPhones as they are driving, doesn’t it?
Hopefully the new law that bans texting while driving will help keep people safer. Texas troopers gave about 2,000 citations to drivers violating the new law for the first four months of the new law, including about 100 in Fort Worth.
More on this topic: How can we stop texting while driving accidents?
Here’s a bold idea: a state senator has introduced a new law that would ban all cell phone use while driving.
How to hold negligent drivers accountable
If you or a loved one were hurt in a car or truck crash and want to hold the driver who is at fault responsible for his conduct, you must determine what caused the wreck and what the legal and economic damages are. A good Fort Worth car accident lawyer can help you accomplish your goals.
Berenson Injury Law has the experience and resources to investigate and document your claim. We will guide you through every step of what can be an complicated, frustrating process and fight to get you the compensation you or your family deserve.
Please contact us if you or a family member have been involved in a car accident in Fort Worth or anywhere in North Texas. The first meeting or telephone consultation is free.