Although fatal traffic accidents have actually declined nationwide over the years, they have increased in Texas. There were 32,675 fatal auto accidents in the United States in 2014, and one in 10 of these happened in the Lone Star State.
Overall, Texas fares poorly in every category used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to assess how each state performs in road safety. In most states, fatal truck accidents account for around 10 percent of a state’s traffic accidents. In Texas, this number is 16 percent and climbing. In a four-year period, fatal semi-truck crashes in Texas have jumped from 400 to 553 annually – an increase of 38 percent.
Texas is a big state, but this factor alone does not explain why it sees such an unusually high number of serious and fatal truck accidents. According to highway safety advocates, several factors contribute to the rising numbers of truck accidents in Texas.
Geography. Texas is a crossroads between the east and the west. Its position in America’s heartland means it sees a significant amount of truck traffic crisscrossing the country. It also has numerous ports along the Gulf of Mexico, which employs 1.4 million workers, but also creates a large amount of truck traffic on Texas highways.
Population. The roads in Texas are often just as flat and straight as those in other prairie states, however, Texas is home to some of the most populated urban areas in the country. Semi-trucks must drive through dense traffic in some of the most heavily populated areas of the nation.
Oil and Fracking. The oil and fracking industries began experiencing a boom period in 2008 that has shown no signs of slowing down. According to reports, vehicle accident death rates in Texas started climbing the same year.