Drivers and policymakers alike need to work to reverse this trend.
November 7, 2023 marked a tragic milestone in Texas: 23 years since our state last went a day without at least one fatal car accident.
The death toll for that 23-year period is staggering. More than 83,000 people died in car wrecks between 2000 and 2023, an average of 12 deaths per day. While fatalities actually decreased somewhat in 2022—there were 4,481 deaths that year, compared to 4,497 in 2021—the number is still unacceptably high.
That's why the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in partnership with local law enforcement and traffic safety authorities, has created the End the Streak campaign. The goal is to raise awareness about how the streak affects every Texan and, ultimately, to bring traffic fatalities down.
Fatal car wrecks are almost always caused by negligence
Fatal car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Alcohol is a key factor in many such collisions: in 2022, there were 1,163 deaths in crashes where at least one driver was under the influence of alcohol, according to TxDOT. Those alcohol-involved crashes represented over a quarter of the total fatalities.
Distracted driving has emerged in recent years as a significant factor in traffic fatalities as well. In 2022, 484 people died in Texas car accidents where distracted driving was a factor. This was an 11% increase from the previous year. Speed is also a key factor: at high speeds, it's harder to avoid a collision, and the collision itself is more likely to be fatal because of the greater force of impact.
Fatalities can happen on any road, under any conditions. In 2022, traffic fatalities were split close to evenly between rural and urban roads. About a quarter happened in or near intersections. On average, less than two hours passed between deaths.
What nearly all of these fatalities have in common is negligence. Fatal car wrecks happen because of choices drivers make behind the wheel, whether it's the choice to drink and drive, drive at an unsafe speed, use an electronic device, or simply not pay attention to the road. That's why driver education is so important. It's also why dangerous drivers have to be held accountable.
Legal rights for families of fatal car accident victims
Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is a preventable tragedy. Families in this situation are left reeling, processing overwhelming grief, and looking at an uncertain future. One of the options available to Texas families is pursuing justice through the civil justice system.
In a wrongful death action, you can pursue compensation for losses related to the death; not only funeral and burial expenses, but also the loss of income the deceased person would have earned, the value of care and household services they provided, and the emotional impact on the surviving family members.
No amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, but compensation can help the surviving family members maintain their quality of life and secure their loved one's legacy. A civil lawsuit can also provide a degree of closure by holding someone definitively responsible for your loss and send a strong message that we take driver responsibility seriously in Texas.
If you've been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident in the DFW area or anywhere in Texas, we would be honored to listen to your story and explain your options, free of charge. Talking to a lawyer isn't a commitment to file a lawsuit; it's an opportunity to be heard and understand your rights. Schedule your free consultation with Coby L. Wooten, Attorney at Law, P.C. today.