Texas Rated Worst State for Driving Across the Nation

The state of Texas has recently topped a Forbes list — but in this case, it’s not good news. An August 2023 article ranked Texas as the state with the worst divers in the country. Clearly, this is disturbing news, but what exactly makes driving in Texas so dangerous? Let’s take a look.

Forbes Analysis: Texas Scores 100 Out of 100

The Forbes analysis was created by averaging data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a three-year period spanning from 2018 to 2020.

During this time period, Texas ranked as the second worst state in the country for fatal car accidents involving a driver on the wrong side of the road or driving the wrong way down a one-way street. This was the cause of 1.53 accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers. The state was also second in the nation for fatal accidents involving drowsy drivers, with a surprising 1.35 accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers.

In addition, Texas reported a staggering number of drunk drivers in fatal crashes. The state ranked third nationally, with a rate of 17.24 per 100,000 licensed drivers. Texas also holds the ninth spot in the nation for fatal accidents due to distracted driving, averaging 1.92 accidents for every 100,000 licensed drivers.

2022 Texas Driver Safety Data

In the years since the analysis, Texas has improved in some areas and continues to struggle in others. To gain deeper insight into the current driving conditions in Texas, let's delve into the 2022 data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):

  • Accidents with Injury: There were 15,299 serious injury crashes in Texas last year. This resulted in 18,880 people suffering significant injuries.

  • No Safe Days: Shockingly, every day of 2022 saw at least one driving-related death in Texas.  

  • Frequent Fatalities: On average, a person lost their life every 1 hour and 57 minutes due to vehicular accidents. In addition, a person was injured every 2 minutes and 9 seconds.  

  • Distracted Driving: A total of 484 individuals died in accidents attributed to distracted driving in 2022. This marks an 11.01% increase from the previous year.

  • Alcohol Influence: Alarmingly, 1,163 fatalities were a result of alcohol-impaired driving. This equates to nearly 26% of all traffic-related deaths.

While these statistics are concerning, there is some good news:

  • Lower Fatality Rates: In 2022, there were 1.55 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled. This marks a 1.99% decrease from 2021.

  • Fewer Traffic Fatalities: Texas saw 4,481 traffic fatalities in 2022, a 0.36% reduction from 2021.  

Major Causes of Fatal Accidents

In 2022, the predominant causes of fatal accidents in Texas were diverse, with many factors coming into play. The top causes cited were:

  • Failing to drive in a single lane (830)

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (714)

  • Failing to control speed (457)

  • Pedestrians failing to yield the right of way (332)

  • Unsafe speed (312)

  • Driver inattention (299)

It’s worth noting that each of these factors was preventable, showcasing the need for Texas drivers to work on honing their driving skills and being more proactive about taking precautions. Understanding these primary causes can help with targeted interventions. If more drivers are aware of the primary risks, it could lead to more mindful driving behaviors.

Economic Impact

The repercussions of poor drivers in Texas are far-reaching. Beyond personal tragedies, they also create a significant economic impact. In 2021 alone, the combined financial loss from motor vehicle accidents in Texas exceeded a staggering $51 billion.

Following a motor vehicle accident, drivers face a slew of potential costs. This may include the cost of medical care, vehicle repair or replacement, rising insurance rates, lost wages, and potential legal fees.

Texas’ Most Dangerous Roads: A Closer Look

Research by the Teletrac Navman team found that based on the number of traffic fatalities per mile of highway, seven of the 25 most dangerous roads in the nation are located in Texas. This includes: 

  • Interstate 45 (deadliest city was Houston)

  • Interstate 30 (deadliest city was Dallas)

  • Interstate 10 (El Paso and Houston tied for the deadliest cities)

  • Interstate 20 (deadliest city was Dallas)

  • Interstate 35W (deadliest city was Fort Worth)

  • Interstate 35E (deadliest city on was Dallas)

The deadliest roads in Texas are all in or near the state’s largest cities, where traffic is heaviest. Combining dense traffic with poor driving habits often leads to dire consequences. However, it's essential to note that while urban areas may see more traffic incidents due to congestion, rural areas in Texas also have their unique driving challenges. This includes hazards such as less lighting and the dangers of wildlife crossing.

Texas weather may also be a contributing factor. It’s common for conditions to be extreme and to change rapidly. While the weather across most of the state tends to be clear and dry, torrential rains, wind, ice, and fog can suddenly create hazardous driving conditions.

Defensive Driving Can Help Protect You on Texas Roads

Sadly, these statistics make it clear that many of the fatal accidents that occur in Texas are preventable. Simple habits like keeping a safe distance, avoiding distractions, and being extra vigilant during adverse weather conditions can make all the difference.

Learning these types of defensive driving skills can make you a safer driver and help protect you from unexpected incidents on the road. Defensive driving goes beyond just following traffic rules. It's an active approach to driving, where you're constantly scanning the environment, anticipating potential hazards, and making decisions to avoid accidents.

Are you ready to make a simple change that can keep you and others safe on the Texas roadways? Sign up for a Texas online defensive driving course today! Aceable’s courses are self-paced, interactive, and affordable. Start exploring your options now.

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