Last week, the San Antonio Express-News collected and reported on data from the Texas Department of Transportation regarding the number of traffic fatalities across the state in 2014. Topping the list was Harris County with 394 fatal traffic accidents last year. That Harris County saw more fatal accidents than any other county in Texas should come as no surprise given that it is the state's most populated county by almost two million residents over Dallas County.
What is more alarming than the raw total of fatal accidents is that Harris County was the only county among the top 10 that actually saw an increase in the number of fatal accidents since the previous year. While some may attribute the increase to a rise in overall traffic due to Houston's booming economy, the number of miles traveled per year in Harris County has actually decreased since 2012. Across the entire state, 159 of 254 counties saw a decrease or no change in the number of fatal traffic accidents. Among the top 30 counties, Orange County experienced the largest increase with 28 traffic fatalities in 2014 (up 114% from 2013).
Top Ten Texas Counties in Terms of Fatal Accidents
10. Midland County – 43 fatalities (-2.27% change from previous year)
9. Ector County – 43 fatalities (-27.12% change from previous year)
8. El Paso County – 50 fatalities (-16.67% change from previous year)
7. Montgomery County – 51 fatalities (0.00% change from previous year)
6. Hidalgo County – 65 fatalities (0.00% change from previous year)
5. Travis County – 86 fatalities (-23.21% change from previous year)
4. Tarrant County – 135 fatalities (-4.93% change from previous year)
3. Bexar County – 173 fatalities (-8.47% change from previous year)
2. Dallas County – 223 fatalities (-1.76% change from previous year)
1. Harris County – 394 fatalities (+5.91% change from previous year)
Addressing the Problem
In October of 2014, the chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission asked state officials to conduct an investigation into the rise of fatal accidents involving commercial trucks. Texas had seen a 51% increase in the number of fatal commercial truck accidents over the previous 5 years. After completing the investigation, state official will offer recommendations on how to reduce the number of fatal accidents.
Some solutions that may be considered:
- Lowering statewide speed limits
- Increasing traffic patrol
- Reducing driver fatigue and distracted driving
If you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic accident, contact a truck accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights.