Texas Troubles: The Unexpected Insights Behind
254 Counties & 16,252 Fatal Crashes

The second largest state in the country, Texas’s massive land area is divided into more counties than any other state. The 254 counties that make up the Lone Star State include densely populated urban centers, bustling suburban communities, little towns, large ranches, small farms and vast areas of nearly empty grasslands and deserts. Driving conditions vary as much as the state’s population density and geography. The same sort of diversity appears in the number of deadly car accidents recorded in each Texas county, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The counties with the largest number of fatal crashes include Harris County (1,904), Dallas County (986), Bexar County (822), Tarrant County (690) and Travis County (503). The map above displays the number of fatal crashes recorded in each Texas county from 2009-2013. The Bob Richardson Law Firm has years of experience dealing with car accident cases in Austin and Waco.

Data Source: NHTSA: Fatality Analysis Reporting System
"It is always disappointing when good legislation does not get enacted, but it is especially tough to tell the families that have lost loved ones because of a texting-while-driving crash or to look in the eye of a victim who is permanently confined to a wheelchair because of a distracted-driving crash that the statewide ban on texting while driving will not become law and will not help prevent future injuries or loss of life. By not enacting HB 80, we have not done our job as lawmakers to protect the life and safety of all Texans. Those people are going to be responsible for a lot of deaths in the next few years." Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland) commenting to the Midland Reporter-Telegram on the failure of the Texas Legislature to pass a ban on texting while driving.

Contributing Factors

Many types of driver carelessness contribute to fatal accidents on Texas roads. Driver distraction is one of the most prevalent – and avoidable – causes of fatal accidents. TxDOT data show that cellphone-related distractions played a role in 198 fatal crashes from 2010-2013. The actual number of accidents involving cellphone use is probably much higher due to underreporting. Other factors commonly implicated in fatal Texas car accidents include overcorrecting, failure to yield right-of-way, failure to keep in proper lane, failure to obey traffic signs and controls, and driving on the wrong side of the road. It is important to note that the leading factors in fatal car accidents in Texas all involve some form of driver negligence.

307 is the total number of reported fatal crashes from 2012-2013 due to Texans Driving on the Wrong side of the road. 75% of these accidents were cause by Male Drivers!
Data Source: NHTSA: Fatality Analysis Reporting System

Fatal Crashes in Texas from 2010-2013 by Incident Type

Data Source: NHTSA: Fatality Analysis Reporting System

Age and Gender in Fatal Texas Crashes

Traffic fatalities affect all demographic segments in Texas – male and female, young and old. However, the fatalities are not evenly distributed, with males involved in far more fatal crashes than females. More fatal accidents involved males ages 21-34 than any other demographic segment, according to the TxDOT data. Males in the next age bracket – ages 35-49 – accounted for the second largest number of fatal crashes, and males in the age group after that – ages 50-66 – for the third largest number. The demographic segment with the fewest fatalities included females age 84 and up. In total, more than three times as many males as females were involved in fatal Texas car accidents.

THE FACTS: Men vs. Women

In every age segment, Men are between 3-4 times more likely to be in a fatal crash than are Women.
Data Source: NHTSA: Fatality Analysis Reporting System
Data Source: NHTSA: Fatality Analysis Reporting System
Note: The crashes per year overlays in the above chart were derived by taking a cumulative average from the total crashes in the 5 year dataset.

Conclusion

Deadly traffic accidents are a serious problem in counties large and small across Texas. The root cause of virtually every car accident fatality boils down to human error in one form or another. One of the most careless – and most preventable – causes of deadly car accidents is distracted driving, and particularly texting behind the wheel. Texas remains one of only a handful of states that has not outlawed texting while driving for all motorists. Implementing a comprehensive ban could make a significant difference in the number of fatal crashes in the Texas county that you call home.