AUSTIN – Fatal car crashes are becoming more and more common for Texas
residents and the trend is impacting not just the lives of locals,
but their insurance rates as well.
The Insurance Council of Texas issued a news release
data showing that fatal car crashes are on the rise in Texas for the
sixth year in a row, demonstrating an increase of more than 20 percent
over the course of that period. And according to the news release,
Texas saw 3,400
fatal crashes and 175,000 injury accidents on
the state's highways in 2016.
the growing number of safety features that have been added to modern
vehicles, drivers are operating them in an increasingly higher rate
while either impaired or distracted, Mark Hanna, manager of public relations and manager of the Insurance Council of Texas, told The Record.
“It seems like there is a constant stream of new
safety features in vehicles - anti-lock breaks, rear-view cameras - but the danger continues to increase,” he said.
explained that the end result of the growing number of
accidents is not just that the Texas roadways are more dangerous than
ever, but also home to increasingly high insurance rates for Texas'
“Not only are the accidents causing higher insurance
rates, but also the increasing amount of technology found in the
average car also means that they are more expensive to repair, which
also raises rates," he said. "And of course, as injuries become more common, there
is the increased cost of the medical bills.”
are two major factors that are contributing to the increase in car
accidents in the state of Texas: distracted driving and alcohol
consumption, Hanna said.
“Over half of these accidents involve
alcohol and the state has one of the highest rates of drunk driving
in the United States,” he said. “The severity of the accidents
could be reduced as well, if people would wear seat belts and refrain
from texting while driving. ”
factor mentioned by Hanna is the fact that Texas
has higher than average speed limits in many parts of the state, a
trend that is combined with a rapidly growing population, a healthy
economy and low gasoline prices, which overall leads to more drivers
on the road and which in turn leads to more opportunities for major
traffic mishaps to occur.
said that the Insurance Council of Texas has been
advocating for a state law to ban texting while driving. Many cities
in Texas have rules against the practice but once a driver is on the
open highways, they are allowed to use their devices as they choose.
“If you talk to the families who have seen their loved ones become
the victims of accidents caused by texting and they say 'my son or
daughter might be still around today if these laws existed,' it's hard
not to be compelled,” he said. “Many of these family members
spend each new legislative session campaigning for a change to these
rules but despite the fact that it as been brought in the last four
state legislative sessions, texting has not been banned.”