Why There Are So Many Auto Accidents in Houston: Causes and Factors
In 2021, Houston, TX, had the most car accidents of all cities and towns in Texas, with 66,988 crashes reported. This is a high number, especially considering that Dallas (the second-highest crash city in Texas) had 35,355 crashes in 2021. So, why are there so many car accidents in Houston?
Our law firm helps clients throughout the greater Houston area from our offices in Katy, Sugar Land, and Richmond, TX. Houston is a hot spot for such cases. Working with an attorney like me can help you collect fair compensation for the damages suffered from your car accident.
Now, let's look at some facts about crashes and collisions.
Houston Compared to Other U.S. Cities
Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, beat out only by New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. A higher population means more car accidents are bound to happen in that city. However, despite it not being the largest city in the U.S., Houston reports more car accidents than other major cities, even Los Angeles. In 2021, Los Angeles had a total of 41,313 car accidents reported, with Houston having over 20,000 more accidents in the same year.
While population can partially explain the drastic difference between car accident statistics in Houston versus other Texas cities, it doesn’t fully account for Houston’s alarmist number.
So what else can explain it?
Aversion to Public Transportation
Houston has an above-ground light rail METRO system for the public to use. However, 58.8% of Houston residents think the METRO system doesn’t cut it and needs to be improved. Unlike New York City, Chicago, and many European cities that rely heavily on public transportation, Houston doesn’t have this same mindset about mass transit.
92% of Houston households have at least one vehicle, making driving the primary mode of transportation. With more cars on the road, more accidents may be likely to happen, but how exactly are these accidents caused?
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Houston
Houston’s Interstate 45 is the most dangerous road in the United States. While a concrete cause for fatal accidents on I-45 cannot be placed, officials chalk it up to reckless driving in the form of speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving. These causes aren’t confined to the nation’s most dangerous road, they’re factors that contribute to crashes throughout Houston.
In no particular order, here are some of the most common causes of car accidents in Houston, Katy, Richmond, Sugarland, and surrounding communities in Texas.
1. Driving Under the Influence
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 23% of all 2021 traffic deaths in Texas involved drunk driving. The Houston police have said that Houston, and Harris County in particular, is one of the leading cities in the nation for drunk driving deaths. This isn’t a new statistic for Texas. In 2012, 38% of all traffic fatalities in the state were due to drunk driving accidents.
The Houston Chronicle conducted research into the number of driving under the influence (DUI) accidents in the city compared to other major US cities. The study found that Houston ranked number 1 out of 12 major cities for DUI accidents between 2001 and 2016. Houston also ranked number one for accidents involving drugs.
With a permit, bars in major Texas cities, like Houston, can continue to serve alcohol until 2AM. This gives patrons plenty of time to max their blood alcohol content (BAC) levels before heading home for the night. Factor inebriation with fatigue from late-night hours and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
2. Fatigued Driving
On the topic of fatigued driving, 80 fatigue-related crashes were reported to have occurred in Houston in 2021. Driving when tired can dull your reflexes, similar to driving when under the influence, resulting in an influx of car accidents for the city.
Your ability to control your car diminishes considerably when you increase the speed you’re traveling. Failure to control speed was the primary cause of car accidents in Houston in 2021, with a crash count of 946.
Beyond being unable to control your driving at the speed you’re traveling at, going over the limit can increase your chances of a car accident. In Houston, 156 car accidents were caused by going over the legal speed limit and 224 were caused by traveling at an unsafe speed.
If you’re going above the speed limit or can’t control your car at the speed you’re traveling at, move over and slow down.
4. Distracted Driving
Many contributing factors can account for distracted driving, the largest of which being driver inattention. 389 crashes in Houston in 2021 were due to driver inattention. Distracted driving often comes down to checking your phone behind the wheel.
5. Failure to Stop
Stop signs and lights are there for a reason. They help monitor traffic at busy intersections where car accidents are likely to happen. When motorists ignore these signs, the chance of an accident increases. Disregard for stop and go signals accounted for 247 car crashes in Houston in 2021. Disregard for stop signs or lights resulted in another 152 crashes.
6. Failure to Drive in One Lane
“Stay in your lane” is a popular colloquial phrase that can apply to many aspects of life, especially when it comes to driving. 814 crashes in Houston in 2021 were due to a failure to drive in a single lane. Swerving into another lane can result in a head-on collision with a car coming from the opposite direction or running a car in the lane next to you off the road.
Were You in a Crash Around Houston?
Contact Reed & Terry, LLP
If you’ve been injured or encountered property damage from a car accident in the Houston area, don’t hesitate to contact Travis Terry or myself. We offer free case reviews. We also work on a contingency fee basis, so it costs you nothing to get your car accident case off the ground with our team.
To set up a free case review, request a legal consultation today.
About Jackson R. Reed
Attorney Jackson R. Reed has served clients since 1994. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA), the Houston Trial Lawyers Association (HTLA), and the State Bar of Texas.