Traffic accidents in Texas and around the country claimed almost 43,000 lives and injured 2.5 million road users in 2021 according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That is the highest annual accident death toll since 2005 and the largest year-over-year increase since 1975. These sobering accident statistics come at a time when cars have more advanced safety systems than ever, and many road safety experts blame an increase in reckless behavior.
The NHTSA data suggests that these experts are right. Distracting driving fatalities increased by 12% in 2021, and speed-related deaths rose by 7.9%. Even more worrying was a 14% rise in drunk driving fatalities. The number of cyclists and pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents also rose sharply in 2021.
Texas traffic accident statistics
The roads in the Lone Star State were particularly dangerous in 2021. Road deaths increased by 15.22% from 3,896 in 2020 to 4,489 in 2021 according to Texas Department of Transportation data, and not a single day passed without at least one road user being killed. Drivers who were under the influence of alcohol were involved in accidents that caused 24% of these deaths, and distraction was a factor in accidents that claimed 433 lives. The most vulnerable road users also paid a high price in 2021. Pedestrian deaths rose by 15.24%, and cyclist fatalities increased by 13.92%.
Travel restrictions and work-from-home orders emptied the roads in 2020, which safety experts believe led to a surge in dangerous driving habits like speeding, using cellphones and getting behind the wheel after drinking. Bad habits can be hard to break, which is why police departments must clamp down on dangerous driving and hold reckless motorists responsible for their actions. If they do not, the 2022 accident figures will probably be just as grim.