West Texas Accidents Increase: Taylor County Sees Dramatic Uptick in Accidents
If the roads to work, school, home or to the shopping mall in West Texas seem a bit more treacherous these days, it’s not your imagination, based on the statistics to back this up. According to the Texas Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Texas saw 2,797 fatal crashes, leading to 3,016 deaths in 2011. In the West Texas region alone, 68 people were killed in 66 crashes. Worse, those numbers are trending upward.
An analysis of the traffic numbers shows some not-at-all surprising conclusions; that driving faster than the posted speed limit or driving a motorcycle are both dangerous activities.
In West Texas, excessive speed was a factor in about 35% of fatal crashes from 2009-11. It was cited as a factor in nearly all fatal crashes in Nolan County, while it was a factor in 39% of fatal crashes in Taylor County.
Statewide, motorcycle fatalities accounted for about 11% of fatalities between 2007-11. In Taylor County, 29% of motor vehicle fatalities involved motorcyclists. Statewide, about half of the 471 people killed in motorcycle crashes in 2011 were wearing helmets. TxDOT estimates that 94 more could have survived if they’d been wearing a helmet.
One of the possible surprises in the traffic figures is that more than half of all fatal crashes in Texas are single-vehicle crashes. The most commonly listed causes of single-vehicle crashes are rollovers and crashes into stationary objects like trees, utility and sign poles, concrete barriers, fences and guard rails.
Another possible surprise is that, statewide, fewer crashes occur on Interstate highways than on U.S. and state highways, even though Interstate highways have some of the highest posted speed limits and have the most miles traveled of any roadways in the state. Taylor County matched this statewide pattern, where state and U.S. highways were the most common locations for fatal crashes. However, most traffic fatalities occurred on the Interstates in Nolan and Howard Counties, based on statistics from 2008-2011.
Among the more common reasons cited by highway officials as contributing to crashes are drowsiness and distracted driving, including eating, drinking, talking and texting on their phones, smoking and playing with the car stereo. Another problem cited was “road hypnosis,” in which watching the yellow line as a driver makes his or her way down the road can make the driver sleepy.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed as the result of any kind of traffic accident, it is important to get help quickly to protect your rights. Immediately contact the Texas Trucking Accident Lawyers at Ramsey Hill for advice, and make sure your rights are protected.