Texas roadways continue to get more dangerous. The latest annual report from TXDOT shows there were over 3,700 people killed in traffic accidents last year, a 10% increase from a year earlier and the seventh straight year the number has gone up. In fact, traffic deaths in Texas are up 34% since 2010. TXDOT has also been pushing to end a sad streak, in which at least one person has been killed on Texas roadways every day since 2007.
There are many reasons for the spike in traffic deaths. "You can blame a lot of different things," says Mark Hanna with the Insurance Council of Texas. "The Texas economy is growing, we've got more motorists on our roadways...we've also got lower gasoline prices encouraging people to be on the roadways." Then, there are the more traditional factors. "Forty percent of the traffic fatalities in Texas are due to alcohol," says Hanna. "Speeding is another factor, and distracted driving is becoming another major factor."
Texas has taken steps to try and reverse the trend of rising traffic deaths. Last year, the state enacted House Bill 62, which bans texting while driving. Texas was the 46th state to institute such a ban.
Still, with the Texas economy and population soaring, and more people than ever on the roadways, all drivers need to do their part. "Get off the phone, slow down, refrain from alcohol, use your seatbelt, drink cautiously, and drive defensively," says Hanna.