While it is at the least disheartening to realize that one of the responsibilities of a government organization is to maintain fatality statistics related to highway deaths, in fact, that is one of the reasons for the existence of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The average Texan believes that a truck accident would never strike their families. But one look at the numbers and it becomes immediately apparent that safety on Texas highways is often not much more than a crapshoot.
It is not a secret that Texas has more fatal accidents involving commercial vehicles than any other state. The high number of fatal crashes is a result of several factors, the main one being the sheer number of big rigs that cross Texas each and every day. Many truck accidents occur on Interstate 45, or I-10 outside of Houston.
Let us consider the data truck accident data for Texas from 2004 to 2008. According to the NHTSA, the number of 18-wheeler fatal accidents has shown an annual decline from a high of 3700 to the most recent figure of slightly less than 3500. This drop of represents an increase in saved lives due to a combination of factors and clearly is a step in the right direction.
However, after 2008 the number of big rigs on the highways has increased at a steady rate and the number of fatal crashes has also followed the trend. More freight means more big rigs on the road and an increased chance of an accident.
NHTSA data also reveals that Texas rates well above average in alcohol-related highway deaths and drunk driving accidents.
In addition, Texas ranks well above the national average in fatalities where the front seat passenger was using a seatbelt, which may be attributed to higher speed driving. Each of these areas needs focus, from all of us, from the Texas legislature on down.
Finally, one of the focal points of this blog is anything related to semi-trucks including safety, accidents, and deaths. The NHTSA data confirms that deaths from semi-truck accidents in Texas hover around two percent of the annual total fatality figures.
To my way of thinking, highway safety is a collective concern and we all need to understand that with a blink of an eye, an 18-wheeler accident can devastate a family.
For those wanting to be safer drivers on the highway around big rigs here is an article about avoiding blind spots.