Where Does Houston Rank in NHTSA’s Annual Report on Vehicle Fatalities?

Houston Montrose Overpass at Night.

Each year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) presents data on traffic accidents, the severity of those crashes, and the number of accidents that result in the loss of human life. This annual report is made available to the public and to anyone who would like to dig into the details.

If you are a resident of Texas, and in particular Houston, you might find the 2018 information startling.

Texas leads the country as the state with the most deaths caused by traffic accidents. It is followed by the states of California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

When looking at the number of fatalities in major metro areas with populations above 150,000 people, Houston ranks third in the nation. Los Angeles and Phoenix are in the top two positions with Dallas and New York finishing out the top five.

Overall, Texas dominates the list of top cities in the United States. San Antonio ranks six in the nation, Fort Worth ranks thirteen nationally, with Austin is slightly behind at twenty.

Let that sink in. Across all major metros in the United States, Texas has five out of twenty cities for deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. That is 1/4 of the national list!

Let’s take a look at the complete list of Texas metros in NHTSA’s fatalities report.

2018 Vehicle Accident Fatalities by Texas City

City 2018 Total People Killed 2018 Pedestrians Killed 2018 Population
San Antonio148461,532,233
Fort Worth10233895,008
El Paso7032682,669
Corpus Christi2814326,554
Grand Prairie112194,614

Sources: FARS 2018 ARF; Population-Census Bureau
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report

Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in Texas

After looking at the report, you have to question why there are so many accidents in Texas. What puts Houston and the other cities so far ahead of other metro areas and states?

Some of the most common causes of car, truck, and motorcycle accidents include:

  • Weather conditions – wet roads, high winds, snowy or icy roads
  • Distracted drivers – talking on the phone, texting, eating, parenting young children, etc.
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Drunk driving
  • Impaired driving due to drug usage
  • Drowsy and fatigued drivers
  • Aggressive driving and road rage
  • Reckless driving
  • Experienced and teenage drivers
  • Tailgating
  • Overcompensating
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way road
  • Product defects in cars, trucks, and bikes

Of all the possible reasons for fatal accidents, 16.7% of accidents occur because the driver is driving too fast for conditions. This is closely followed by 10% of accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.

Your Rights as an Accident Victim

While weather conditions are not fully the fault of the driver, many other items on this list point to negligence.

When a driver is negligent and they cause injury or death, they should be held responsible for their actions. Responsibility includes criminal prosecution, as well as, claims for damages.

If you are injured and believe you have been a victim of someone else’s negligence, call me at 281-929-0110 for a free initial consultation. Or if it is an emergency, please feel free to text me at 832-797-7600.

As your personal injury lawyer, I will only receive a fee if we recover a settlement or jury verdict for you. In other words, you don’t pay any legal fees unless I make a financial recovery for you!

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Gregg S. Harrison has been practicing law in Texas since 2001. He focuses on cases involving all types of accidents, product liability, personal injury, and premise liability. Mr. Harrison is also an experienced family law and estate planning attorney. He is dedicated to helping clients through extremely stressful situations.