Texas Officials: At Least 1 Roadway Death per Day Since 2000

December 4, 2017

At least one person has died on Texas roadways every day since November 2000, state transportation safety officials say.

The Texas Department of Transportation reported that from Nov. 7, 2000, through Nov. 7, 2017, fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes on Texas roadways totaled 59,388. The leading causes of fatalities are failure to stay in one lane, alcohol and speed.

In 2016, the fatality rate on Texas roadways was 1.44 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled, representing a 3.59 percent increase from 2015. The 2016 death toll of 3,773 was an increase of 5.45 percent from the 3,578 deaths recorded in 2015.

More than half of the traffic fatalities — 51.47 percent — in Texas last year occurred in rural areas. There were 1,942 deaths in rural traffic crashes in 2016.

The annual vehicle miles traveled in Texas during 2016 reached 261.994 billion, an increase of 1.5 percent over the 258.122 billion traveled in 2015.

Also in 2016, 265,076 individuals were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Roadway work zone fatalities increased 27 percent in 2016, resulting in 181 lost lives. Of those fatalities, 174 (96 percent) were motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

TxDOT said that at any given time there could be more than 2,500 active work zones in the state. There were 25,713 work zone crashes in Texas last year. The leading causes of fatal work zone crashes statewide — speeding and failure to stay in a single lane — are entirely preventable.

By law, drivers are required to move over or slow down when approaching work crews, emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the roadside or shoulder with flashing blue or amber lights. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.

The agency recently launched #EndTheStreakTX — a campaign to curb the streak of roadway deaths in the state.