A recent news release issued by the Insurance Council reports on the increase in Texas auto fatalities in 2017. According to information from the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 3,700 people were killed on Texas roadways last year marking a 10 percent increase in traffic deaths from the previous year. Traffic fatalities have continued to rise every year since 2010 marking a 34 percent increase in traffic deaths in the past seven years. (See chart below)
“More people moving into the state mean more people on Texas highways and the greater chance more traffic collisions with people getting hurt,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas. “But alcohol, speeding and distracted driving remain the major factors in the majority of accidents on our roadways today.”
Hanna says there has been a definite correlation between the growing Texas economy, lower gasoline prices, the state’s population explosion and the steady increase in traffic fatalities.
Distracted driving also plays a major role in the increase in crashes and fatalities. James Lynch, chief actuary at the Insurance Information Institute, says the number of distracted drivers has gotten worse and reaching epidemic proportions.
“People are paying more attention to smartphones and fancy dashboards than to the road,” said Lynch.
In 2017, Texas enacted a law, House Bill 62, in an effort to curb distracted driving. The new law, which took effect September 1, 2017, made it illegal to text while driving. Forty-six other states also have similar bans on text and driving.