COVID-19 continues to affect Americans in many ways. According to Google, traffic is down by about 50% since the beginning of the pandemic. This has made the company rethink how Google Maps predict traffic patterns. NPR reports that the pandemic is changing how people get around. More Americans use personal transportation, cars, scooters, bikes, and feet instead of public vehicles. Texas roads are seeing less traffic due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, this isn't translating into fewer roadway fatalities. If you've recently been injured in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney Houston to learn more about fighting for the compensation you need to heal.
2020 Statistics in Texas
When the stay at home order came through for Texans, traffic dramatically reduced. San Antonio and Austin saw almost a 50% decrease in traffic in April compared to February traffic. Over April 4-5, across the state, traffic declined by 55%. In most places, the number of traffic accidents also declined by about 10 to 15%. What is surprising is that traffic fatalities only dropped by about 3.5%. Although there are now fewer drivers on the road and fewer traffic accidents, the accidents that occur are even more deadly. This could be due to several factors:
- More commercial vehicles on the road that are involved in accidents.
- Drivers are excessively speeding because of lighter traffic, making crashes even riskier.
- Texting while driving because traffic is lighter.
- More people are driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medicine, and illicit drugs.
National Accident Trends
Texas isn't the only state seeing a higher number of fatalities while experiencing fewer vehicles on the road. This is happening across the country. Speeds are up around the nation, maybe from a false sense of security because fewer cars are on the roadways. Drivers can see farther down the road and speed up without realizing it. Some drivers intentionally take more risks because of the lack of traffic. Many drivers just aren't paying attention or are distracted and stressed. They miss important signage on the road and lose control when they come to a sharp curve or construction.
Texas DOT #EndTheStreakTX Campaign
Since November 7, 2000, Texas has not had one day without a fatality on the road. It's estimated that there is an average of 10 deaths every day on Texas roadways, even though in 2019, 20 counties had no fatalities at all. The Texas DOT believes that many of the road accidents would be preventable if people would slow down, stop texting and calling while driving, and pay attention. Buckling up every time you're in the car would slow down the number of fatalities, too. In 2019, the Texas Transportation Commission set a goal of having zero deaths on the roadways by 2050. There was hope that the pandemic would help reduce deaths, but officials do not see the numbers they had hoped for. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
How Can You Protect Yourself on the Road?
According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, Houston's speeds are up about 66% since the beginning of the pandemic. As roads get more congested as more businesses open up, drivers will have to be aware of the new hazards on the road. Americans haven't ever experienced this type of pandemic, so experts are unsure how to make predictions in these unprecedented times.
Motorists can only control their actions on the roadway, but one Texas DOT representative reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 94% of crashes are avoidable:
- Wear a seat belt.
- Drive the speed limit.
- Put away your phone or distractions.
- Do not drive when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Drive to the conditions around you.
For serious accidents due to another's driver's negligence, consider talking to a personal injury lawyer Houston TX who can help you decide the best steps to take in your case.
Contact CityWide Injury & Accident for help after an accident. We'll help you get your life back and find you a personal injury attorney Houston to assess your situation and work through the legal process.
Roadway Fatalities in Texas During Pandemic | City Wide Injury & Accident – Houston, TX
Joe Danna is a Chiropractor specialist practicing in Houston, TX. Where he has lived his whole life.