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Texas Road Death Rate Continues to Rise

Written by Steve Gursten Posted May 13th, 2016

Every 2.5 hours, a loved one was lost on Texas roads in 2014. Every two minutes, a loved one was injured. As one of the nations leaders in truck-related deaths, the growing number of trucks in Texas is worrisome.


3,500 dead, over 17,000 seriously injured on Texas roads

In 2014, more than one in ten of ALL United States road deaths occurred in Texas – and the situation may get worse. The states road death toll has been spiraling for five years, crushing averages across the United States. While the national toll of 32,675 accident related deaths in 2014 showed a one percent drop since 2010, deaths in Texas rose by 17% during the same period and totaled over 3,500.

According to this information pulled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas performed poorly on all road factors. It was ranked in the top ten for most crashes and deaths throughout the United States. It currently sits 30% above the national rating, and has been since 2012.

Trucks do their damage 

A sharp increase in fatal truck crashes is one of  big factor affecting the growing death toll on Texas roads. Between 2010 and 2014, fatalities in truck crashes rose by 38% from 400 to 553 per year.

This 2014 figure represented about 16% of the states total road deaths, up from 13% in 2010. The national average is about 10%, and numbers are only predicted to increase as more large trucks inhabit the roads of Texas.

  • Trucks outnumber cars in Texas. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there were less than 8 million cars registered in Texas in 2013. In the same year, there were more than 11.5 million trucks registered – almost three trucks for every two cars. This was a rise of about 25% where in 2010 there were fewer than 9 million trucks registered. Only topping cars by less than a million registrations.
  • Oil boom raising numbers.  Areas that hardly ever recorded vehicle accidents in the past, are now seeing their figures rise. As the number of trucks serving the oil and gas fields in rural counties grows larger, the number of accidents rise.

The problem is not likely to get better soon, as the oil and shale operations in Texas oil patches are scheduled to dominate rural Texas for another 10 to 20 years.

Meanwhile, enforcement officers are facing a tougher task as these numbers grow. Dealing with infringements such as speed, safety violations, and unsafe vehicles.  All of this while battling state budget constraints.

  • Unsafe trucks. The Texas Department of Public Safety inspected 7,865 commercial motor vehicles as part of a road check in 2015, and took 1,710 of them out of service temporarily for safety violations. In addition, 212 drivers were placed out of service for violations such as invalid licensing, or driving for more than the maximum number of hours allowed by law.
  • Lethal by nature. Trucks are far bigger than passenger vehicles and are far more difficult to maneuver. They need more breaking time and space, and clearance to turn, which is where blind spots are created – and that’s assuming that everything is mechanically correct: that the tires have the correct amount of pressure, the brakes are in tact, and the driver is educated correctly on proper driving techniques.

Dealing with the consequences

In 2014, there were 33,000 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in Texas. Of those, 508 crashes caused 558 deaths, and left 1,522 people injured. That means over 2000 people had to experience the trauma of being in a crash, and dealt with the financial and emotional consequences along with it.

It’s hard enough to do even if nobody’s to blame, but there usually is someone at fault. Consulting a truck accident attorney could be helpful for you if you’ve been in an accident and don’t think you’re at fault.

Contact us today.


Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.