The Dangers of I-69 and Katy Freeway: Fort Bend County Car Accidents
If you and other Texas drivers you know feel like there’s been a noticeable increase in fatalities and injuries from vehicle crashes in recent years, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) agrees with you. It’s not just because of Interstate 45 in Houston either. Like other congested roadways that have heavy traffic, vehicle crashes on I-69/Highway 59, Highway 6, and the Katy Freeway portion of I-10 that’s in north Fort Bend County can happen to anyone, including you.
Previously, the team here at Reed & Terry, LLP looked at the reasons why there are so many auto accidents in Houston. Now we want to turn our focus to car accidents in Fort Bend County and the communities close to our law offices in Sugar Land, Katy, and Richmond, TX. Let’s examine car accidents in and around Fort Bend and discuss what you can do if you’re ever involved in a collision.
A Rise in Statewide Fatal Auto Collision Numbers
According to the TxDOT, a total of 4,489 drivers and passengers died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021. That’s a 15.22% increase from the 3,896 deaths recorded in 2020. Another 239,539 people were reportedly injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2021.
As TxDOT compiles crash data for 2022, vehicle crashes will continue to be a major safety concern for all Texans.
Motor Vehicle Crashes Are a Matter of When in Fort Bend, Not If
Sugar Land, Rosenberg, Richmond, and the rest of Fort Bend County haven’t been immune to the increase in motor vehicle crashes.
Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office reports there were 2,535 crashes in 2021, representing a 15.6% increase to the 2,193 crashes in 2020.
Putting These Numbers Into Perspective
Suppose that there are at least 2,000 motor vehicle crashes by the end of the year and nearly 860,000 people live in the county.
That means 1 out of every 430 people in Fort Bend County will potentially be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
The Dangers of Interstate 69
Few other roadways in Fort Bend County may be a bigger danger to drivers than I-69. In Sugar Land, the roadways with the most crashes are at locations that cross I-69.
A 2020 state of mobility report from the city identified these particular intersections as having high crash density:
- State Highway 6 and I-69
- US 90A and I-69
- First Colony Blvd. and I-69
The Dangers of Katy Freeway/Interstate 10
Katy Freeway at Beltway 8 is one of the largest freeways in the world, with 26 lanes across at some points. As the major highway from Katy to downtown Houston, the Katy Freeway/I-10 experiences a large amount of traffic at all hours of the day.
I-10 in Houston is considered one of the 25 deadliest road highways in America, according to telematics company Teletrac Navaman. The company found motor vehicle crashes, rollovers, and pedestrian accidents as the most common source of fatal car accidents on I-10/Katy Freeway in the Houston area.
Pervasive Congestion Means More Accidents
Using 2020 data from TxDOT, researchers at Texas A&M found the West Loop Freeway where Katy Freeway/I-10 meets to Freeway/US 59 as the second most congested road in Texas.
Researchers also point out that this area of roadway where these highways connect is congested even outside of morning and evening rush hours. More vehicles on the road at all hours of the day increase the risk of accidents.
What’s Causing All of These Crashes in Fort Bend?
That 2020 state mobility report previously cited above listed the following contributing factors for crashes in Sugar Land:
- Changing lanes when it’s unsafe
- Driving in more than one lane
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Not yielding right-of-way while turning left
Comparison to Statewide Collision Trends
Statewide crash statistics from TxDOT reveal a majority of collisions in 2021 were caused by similar issues found by the city of Sugar Land.
There were 134,125 crashes due to drivers failing to control their speed. Another 29,167 crashes happened because drivers failed to yield at a stop sign. Driver inattention accounted for 82,705 crashes and another 45,743 crashes were blamed on drivers failing to stay in a single lane.
If you’d like a more detailed breakdown of these collision factors, we covered the most common causes of car accidents in Texas on this blog late last year.
The data is clear: dangerous drivers are all over Fort Bend County and Texas. Maintaining safe driving habits and knowing what to do in the event of a motor vehicle crash are the most effective ways to look out for yourself while on the road.
Tips On Avoiding Highway Crashes
All drivers are responsible for minimizing car crashes and keeping traffic safe. Driving anywhere will always come with some risks.
TxDOT recommends drivers take these precautions while commuting to minimize road dangers:
- Be Mindful of Road and Weather Conditions - Snow, ice, and rain can make roads slippery. Drive slower if highways and roads are compromised by weather.
- Maintain a Safe Driving Distance - Some 20,724 crashes in 2021 were attributed to drivers following too close to each other. Give other drivers enough space so that you can stop or maneuver safely if others brake or slow down.
- Keep Your Cool - Road rage is a typical reaction to poor driving conditions like heavy traffic. Losing your temper can lead to poor decision-making like speeding or passing at unsafe times. Keep your composure and make decisions based on safety, not anger.
- Minimize Distractions - Although your phone is great for directing you to your destination, texting or surfing the internet while driving is not advisable. Taking your eyes off the road impedes your ability to identify potential dangers and avoid them. When you’re behind the wheel, do your best to keep your eyes on the road.
- Follow All Traffic Laws - This one seems obvious, but TxDOT reports thousands of crashes occur because drivers ignore traffic signals, fail to yield to other drivers, and turn on roads without looking both ways. Watching for other drivers and following the rules of the road can keep you from crashing into other motor vehicles.
Advice for Driving on Texas Highways
TxDOT also has tips for highway driving, which are helpful whether you’re commuting on I-69 and the Katy Freeway or driving north/south through Houston on I-45. These tips for highway driving are actually similar to navigating regular traffic safely.
TxDOT’s biggest recommendations include giving more space to big trucks, using the left lane for passing only, and following the posted speed limit.
Keep in mind that highway driving is often dangerous due to the high volume of traffic traveling at higher speeds. Entering and exiting highways will require more attentiveness, and being aware of blind spots can help you avoid collisions.
I’ve Been in a Highway Car Crash - Now What?
Like a significant number of residents in Sugar Land, Rosenberg, and other cities in Fort Bend County, you may travel to Houston for work. If you experience a car crash on I-69, the Katy Freeway, or anywhere else in Fort Bend County, consider these tips on what you should do.
What to Do Immediately After a Collision
Your first course of action is to get your vehicle out of the way if possible.
If you are able to, you should check on the health of other people involved in the crash. This can include other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
After providing as much care as possible, you should contact the police.
What to Do in the Aftermath of a Crash
You should keep the following in mind after you’ve done what you can immediately after the crash:
- Do Not Admit Fault - If the police put in their report that you admitted to causing the accident, it can be used against you. Other drivers and witnesses may tell an opposing attorney that you admitted to causing the crash. You are under no legal obligation to answer any questions from an attorney seeking details from you about the crash. Protect yourself by remaining silent.
- Exchange Information - Getting the insurance company and contact number for the other drivers involved in the crash will make filing catastrophic personal injury claims and pursuing damages easier for you. Be sure to get this information before the other driver leaves.
- Photograph and Record Damages - Photos and videos of where your vehicle was impacted and the damage it sustained can be used in court to support your claim for compensation. We can work with accident recreation experts to demonstrate that you were the victim of the crash and deserve compensation.
- Do Not Accept Initial Insurance Settlement Offers - In the days following your crash, an insurance adjuster or a representative of the other driver may contact you and offer financial compensation to avoid litigation. Do not accept any offers without a review from an attorney. You may be eligible for a higher amount of compensation.
- See a Doctor - You may have undetected injuries after your crash. It’s also possible that your health can decline days after your collision. Seeing a physician regularly after your crash will generate a reputable medical report that can be used as part of your claim for compensation.
Can Lawyers Help With a Highway Hit-And-Run Accident?
Yes, we can help you if you’ve been in a hit-and-run auto accident.
Some drivers may think they have no chance of holding the other driver liable for their accident, especially if they flee the scene of the crash. When it comes to highway crashes, drivers may cut across busy lanes to get away from you or exit while you’re stuck in traffic.
As seasoned attorneys, Travis Terry and I are sympathetic to your frustrations. We will use our resources to gather video surveillance and eyewitness accounts. By helping you file a report with the police, officers can stay on the lookout for a vehicle and driver that match the person responsible for your crash.
At minimum, our law firm can help you get coverage from your insurance provider for your hit-and-run accident. Don’t be dispirited by a fleeing driver; call us instead.
Are You Overwhelmed After Your Accident?
Reed & Terry, LLP Can Help
Crashes that result in the wrongful death of a family member or life-long injuries can significantly complicate your case. The same goes for drivers who were drunk or high at the time of your vehicle crash. As your emotions run high, it can be hard to think of what you should do next.
We have more than 40 years of combined legal service that we can offer our clients. We’ve represented virtually every type of motor vehicle crash you can think of, including multi-vehicle crashes, big rig truck crashes, and collisions involving pedestrians. No matter your circumstances, we can review your case and apply our skills if we believe you have a strong claim for compensation.
Why Drivers Turn to Our Law Firm After a Crash
Some of the top reasons crash victims turn to our law firm include:
- We Charge Nothing Unless You Win - Unlike some law firms, we offer free consultations and free case reviews. We also work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless we secure a settlement or you recover damages in a civil trial.
- We Have a Record of Success - We’ve secured millions of dollars for clients who have been involved in motor vehicle crashes. One of our clients who suffered an eye injury after a rear-end collision was awarded $250,000. Another client was awarded $862,000 after being hit at an intersection.
- We Build Effective Cases - Our team builds strong cases for our clients by gathering police reports, photos of the crash, eyewitness accounts, and all of your medical reports following the motor vehicle crash.
- We Protect Your Interests - It’s possible other drivers involved in the car crash may try to put the fault of the accident on you. If that’s the case, we can contest that claim and protect your interests while filing for damages.
- We Keep You on Schedule - Rather than trying to meet every court deadline on your own, let us work your case. This will free your time to repair your vehicle, rest after your injury, and manage any income issues involving time off work.
Were You in an Accident?
Set Up a Consultation at Our Law Firm
If you’ve been struck by a motor vehicle in southeast Texas, contact an auto collision lawyer 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.