Number of Texas Auto Fatalities Increases in 2017
According to information from the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 3,700 people were killed on Texas roadways last year marking a 10% increase in traffic deaths from the previous year. Traffic fatalities have continued to rise every year since 2010 marking a 34% increase in traffic deaths in the past seven years. (See chart below)
“More people moving into the state mean more people on Texas highways and the greater chance more traffic collisions with people getting hurt,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas. “But alcohol, speeding and distracted driving remain the major factors in the majority of accidents on our roadways today.”
Hanna says there has been a definite correlation between the growing Texas economy, lower gasoline prices, the state’s population explosion and the steady increase in traffic fatalities.
Distracted driving also plays a major role in the increase in crashes and fatalities. James Lynch, chief actuary at the Insurance Information Institute, says the number of distracted drivers has gotten worse and reaching epidemic proportions.
“People are paying more attention to smartphones and fancy dashboards than to the road,” said Lynch.
In 2017, Texas enacted a law, House Bill 62, in an effort to curb distracted driving. The new law, which took effect September 1, 2017, made it illegal to text while driving. Forty-six other states also have similar bans on text and driving.
Although the new law bans texting and driving, we urge drivers to avoid other activities that may lead too distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, adjusting your car’s stereo, entertainment or navigation system. Generally, anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
Many of our ICT member insurance companies, including The Travelers, Allstate, USAA, State Farm, and Nationwide, among others, have been very active in promoting efforts to reduce distracted driving on our Texas roads.
“On behalf of our member companies and the millions of Texans out on the road each day, we urge Texas motorists to use caution by keeping your attention on the road, driving defensively, and watching out for other careless drivers,” said Hanna.