Texas Roads are Dangerous, and Here’s Why
TEXAS – Among the six most populated states, New York, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida, between 2010 and 2018 Texas was second only to Florida in the amount of traffic-related deaths per 100,000 residents, according to an online report at HPPR.org.*
To put this data into perspective, between the years 2010 and 2018, there were more deaths in Texas than in California, which has more people than Texas and is a very car-centric state.
“We continue to have a terrible problem in Texas; we have an epidemic of traffic deaths,” said the executive director, Jay Blazek Crossley of Farm & City, a safety advocacy group based in Austin. “More families suffer in Texas every day than in the rest of the country, but we believe we can change this.” As a result of the high number of traffic-related deaths, the Texas Transportation Commission has budged $600 million in the next two years in order to upgrade guardrails, widen roads, and improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, among other measures.
There are a number of reasons why Texas sees an ever increasing amount of traffic-related deaths.
- Impaired driving. This is a primary cause of traffic deaths in Texas. However, the number of fatal accidents in Texas in which alcohol was involved decreased by 8.23% between 2010 and 2018. In 2010, 34.5% of all fatal accidents involved alcohol. In 2018, the number was 25.7%. Ride-sharing companies could have contributed to this decrease.
- Rural roadways. While about three out of four Texas accidents occur in urban areas with 5,000 or more individuals, over half of the state’s traffic fatalities occur in rural areas. Road improvements are needed throughout the state and not just in the more populated areas.
- Walking and cycling. The number of people who die while cycling and walking in Texas has increased by 40% as the number of pedestrians and cyclists has also increased in recent years.
- SUVs and trucks. In 2018, 68% of all automobiles sold in the U.S. were trucks or SUVs. Many believe that these vehicles are causing the increase in pedestrian-related deaths, and these vehicles weigh more than regular-sized vehicles. Experts believe heavier weighted vehicles make deadlier vehicles. In Texas, SUVs and trucks were involved in more deadly accidents than regular-sized vehicles.
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