The state of Texas is on course for its worst-ever month for auto accident fatalities, according to 2023 crash data.
San Antonio and McAllen personal injury firm Patino Law analyzed reportable crashes from January to September 2023 using data from the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.).
The in-depth study reveals some shocking statistics. Total crashes increased from 464,555 from January to September 2022 to 468,850 in the same period this year. But more distressing is the surge in fatalities, up from 2,646 to 3,180, or 20%.
Each year in its Texas Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Facts, TxDOT reports on injury severity and calculates the frequency of fatalities on Texas roads based on reportable crashes.
Recent years have seen auto accident deaths become increasingly prevalent. In 2012, one person was killed every two hours and 34 minutes. In 2022, this fell to one hour and 57 minutes.
Based on reported fatalities for the year so far, one person was killed in a Texas auto accident every one hour and 50 minutes. Traffic Crash Facts data calculates fatalities over the entire year, and this analysis looks at a shorter period, but historical data indicates that fatalities increase toward the end of the year. In 2022, fatalities averaged 370 per month. October and December exceeded this figure, reporting 392 and 418 deaths, respectively.
If the past is any indication of the future, fatalities are set to only increase over what is left of 2023.
No Deathless Days Streak Continues
This information could not be more timely, coinciding with the second anniversary of TxDOT’s #EndTheStreakTX campaign. This bold initiative started in 2021 to raise awareness of the tragedy that there has not been a single deathless day on Texas roads since November 7th, 2000.
On November 2nd, 2023, the TxDOT Pharr District held a mock funeral, where representatives from the Pharr Fire Department and Edinburg PD shared their experiences of responding to fatal accidents.
The event specifically highlighted the dangers of distracted and impaired driving, two of the most commonly cited contributing factors to Texas fatal crashes, but one factor proved more dangerous than any other.
Speeding Epidemic Shows No Signs of Slowing
Failure to control speed was the most commonly cited primary factor, responsible for 89,529 of the 468,850 accidents reported from January to September 2023. Add to that the 13,133 crashes attributed to “unsafe speed” and 688 collisions caused by speeding (over the limit), and speeding has contributed to a staggering 103,350 crashes in 2023 — or 22% of the state’s total.
Texas personal injury attorney and founder of Patino Law Firm Dr. Louis Patino, who led the research, said of the findings: “This data presents a sobering reality and highlights the urgent need for change if we are to address the increase in accident fatalities and finally break the streak of no deathless days on our roads.
“Initiatives can only achieve so much and government officials are not the only parties responsible. We all have our part to play as motorists, passengers, and pedestrians and must remember that our actions can have devastating consequences. It is far too easy to look at numbers and become detached, but we must never forget that every fatality represents a loss that leaves a permanent mark on the lives of families all across our state.”
Patino Law Firm’s research also presents key insights into the vehicle types most commonly involved in accidents, the most dangerous roads and counties in the state, the top charges filed against drivers, and more. The full Up-to-Date Guide to Auto Accidents in Texas can be found on the Patino Law Firm website.