A report ranks Texas drivers as the country’s worst; the state’s high DUI rate and rising commercial vehicle accident rate may contribute to this ranking.

It’s not uncommon for people to view the other drivers they share the roadways with as careless, reckless or otherwise dangerous. Alarmingly, a report from one auto insurance price comparison website suggests that drivers in Mesquite and other parts of Texas may be especially justified in this belief. Based on several metrics, the report identifies Texas drivers as the worst in the country.

Dangerous driving habits

The report’s conclusion is based on data from organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to The San Antonio Express-News. The metrics considered include seatbelt use, overall traffic tickets, drunk driving arrests, failure to follow traffic signals and fatality rates. Fatality rates were even calculated per mile driven to prevent states with more drivers from being penalized.

The San Antonio Express-News notes that Texas drivers fared better this year than they have in past years. However, the state still ranked as the worst state based on overall driving performance.

High DUI rates

The prevalence of intoxicated driving in Texas may be one significant factor in the state’s ranking. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Texas experiences more DUI fatalities than any other state. MADD reports the following figures:

  • Drunk drivers caused 38 percent of the state’s known traffic fatalities in 2012.
  • The same year, there were 25,671 crashes in which a driver had been consuming alcohol.
  • These accidents resulted in 16,882 injuries and claimed 1,296 lives.

These figures are put into perspective by national data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which shows that 10,322 lives were lost across the country in drunk driving accidents in 2012. In other words, more than one-tenth of all DUI fatalities reported that year occurred in Texas. Tragically, without additional legal measures to prevent or deter drunk driving, these accidents may continue to affect many Texans.

Large truck accidents

The state’s oil and gas boom may also contribute to its troubling ranking. Traffic fatalities, especially those involving commercial vehicles, have increased significantly since the boom began in 2008, according to The Houston Chronicle. Between 2009 and 2013, overall fatalities rose 8 percent to a total of 3,378 deaths in 2013, while commercial vehicle deaths rose 51 percent for a total of 532 deaths the same year.

The catastrophic nature of accidents involving large trucks and other commercial vehicles, which can easily cause fatal injuries, may be partly responsible for this change. Additionally, the greater volume of traffic places a burden on small state roads, necessitating repairs and putting drivers at a greater risk for accidents in the meantime.

Help for Texas accidents

These figures show that even conscientious Texas drivers may face a heightened risk of accidents due to factors beyond their control. Drivers who are injured in accidents that occur because of another driver’s negligence may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, depending on the circumstances. Drivers who are uncertain of their rights after one of these accidents should consider meeting with an attorney to discuss their options.

Keywords: drunk driving, accident, injury