Texas Saw Fewer Traffic Fatalities 2018

February 18, 2019

After seven straight years of increases, the number of traffic fatalities in Texas fell in 2018, the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) reported.

Traffic fatalities in the state dropped 4 percent from 3,720 in 2017 to 3,567 last year, according to Texas Department of Transportation data.

The number of fatal auto pedestrian accidents also fell. After reaching a high of 676 fatal auto pedestrian accidents in 2016, 597 pedestrians were killed on Texas highways last year, a 12 percent decrease.

Traffic fatalities in Texas had risen 34 percent since 2010 before finally declining last year, according to the ICT.

Despite the decline in auto fatalities in 2018, the number of deaths remains nearly 25 percent higher than 2010 levels.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding continue to be the leading causes of fatal traffic crashes,” ICT spokesperson Mark Hanna said in a media release. “Together, both of these factors make for a deadly combination.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while drunk-driving crashes have fallen by a third in the 30 years the number of people killed is still high. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — or one person every 48 minutes.

Distracted Driving

In Texas as in other states, distracted driving is also a problem. ICT’s Hanna suggested that a new state law banning texting while driving may be one factor that helped reduce the number of traffic fatalities last year. In 2017, Texas lawmakers passed HB 62, which made it illegal for drivers to text while driving. The law took effect Sept. 1, 2017.

State Sen. Judith Zaffarini of Laredo has introduced legislation this year, SB 43, that expands the prohibited activities of cell phone use in Texas.