What is the Most Common Cause of Auto Collisions in Texas?
“What happened!?” is one of the most common questions you’ll get after a wreck. Sometimes, the answer seems easy. Another driver ran a red light. Or they were arrested for drunk driving.
But, sometimes, that’s just part of the story. Other times, you might not have an easy answer other than, “they just came out of nowhere.”
Crosley Law’s car accident attorneys have helped people across San Antonio and Texas get the answers they deserve. Here, we explore common causes of collisions in Texas, and how we can help you prove what happened.
Texas Is a Dangerous Place to Drive
Driving in Texas isn’t quite like driving anywhere else. Texans navigate winding rural roads, busy urban streets, and our state’s many interstate highways. It can be dangerous.
Not only is Texas home to I-45 and I-35, two of most dangerous highways in America, but it also recorded more traffic accidents than any other state in 2020.
Our state also reports more roadway deaths than any other state. Not a single day has gone by without roadway injuries and fatalities in the state since November 7, 2000. That’s more than 20 years of daily traffic fatalities.
In 2020, state roadways had a total of 3,305 deaths overall, and a whopping 205,498 injuries. For those counting, that’s an average of one death on Texas roads every two hours and fifteen minutes.
The Texas Department of Transportation records a wide array of contributing factors in motor vehicle accidents every year. Some are relatively rare, like wildlife crossings, faulty trailer hitches, and road rage. However, there are four main causes of auto collisions in our state—and we’ll dig into them below.
Not a single day has gone by without roadway injuries and fatalities in the state since November 7, 2000. That’s more than 20 years of daily traffic fatalities.
Cause 1: Speed
When drivers go above the posted speed limits or drive too quickly for the road conditions, they are more likely to cause a collision. (Under Texas law, drivers are legally required to slow down in response to hazardous conditions such as harsh rain, heavy pedestrian traffic, or gridlock.)
In 2020 alone, drivers who failed to control their speed or were going above the posted speed limit were involved in 140,744 accidents. That’s more than the next two most frequent categories combined.
How Do You Prove the At-Fault Driver Was Going Too Fast?
Most drivers will deny that they were going too fast after a crash, but you can sometimes reconstruct the moments before a wreck. Engineers can evaluate the damage to your vehicle, skid marks, and other physical evidence to estimate the reckless driver’s likely speed. Surveillance footage from nearby businesses can also provide clarity.
However, if your crash involved a commercial vehicle, whether it’s an 18-wheeler or a pizza delivery car, you might have an even more powerful tool. Many businesses install telematic systems on their vehicles, which use GPS to track the car or truck’s every move. Some even have on-dash recording systems that monitor in the inside and outside of the vehicle.
If you act quickly and preserve this data, you might be able to show exactly how fast the driver was going, when they hit the brakes, and even what they should have seen if they’d been paying attention to the road. Our car accident attorneys have successfully used telematic and GPS data to negotiate multi-million dollar settlements for our clients, including Jane and Zack.
Cause 2: Distracted Driving
Talking on the phone. Eating breakfast. Performing coronary bypass surgery. What do these three things have in common?
You shouldn’t do them while driving.
Driver inattention is the second most common cause of auto collisions in Texas, and the number one cause of auto collision in the United States overall. In 2020, Texas reported at least 85,251 vehicle collisions due to distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Is More Common Than You Think
It’s incredibly easy to lose focus behind the wheel, and almost everyone has done it. Especially when making long trips or driving on open highways, many drivers report experiencing “highway hypnosis” — a dulled state in which the driver is hardly focusing on the road. In these moments, they are more likely to grab their phones and become distracted.
Unfortunately, collisions involving distracted driving are likely much more common than we know. A study by the National Safety Council, an American nonprofit that works to eliminate leading causes of preventable death and injury, estimates that 27% of 2015 auto accidents were caused by cell phone use. Distracted driving Cambridge Mobile Telematics studied distracted driving and found that it occurs in more than 36 percent of trips across the United States.
It’s gotten so common that this summer, TxDOT issued a public notice urging drivers to pay attention behind the wheel.
How Do You Prove the At-Fault Driver Was Distracted?
No one wants to admit that they were texting and driving or otherwise distracted at the wheel. If the police issued the at-fault driver a ticket for distracted driving (or cited it on your accident report), you’re in relatively good shape. However, distracted driving often goes unreported—and you will need to act quickly to get the data you need.
Our office frequently subpoenas cell phone records and other electronic data in distracted driving cases. That, combined with aggressive questioning during depositions (sworn testimony given by a witness or expert during a lawsuit) can help prove that the other driver was not paying enough attention to the road before the wreck.
Cause 3: Failure to Yield
Most car accidents occur at intersections. Failure to yield to traffic was cited 77.535 times in Texas accident reports, making it the third most common cause of a wreck. However, this “cause” is really a sign of some other form of underlying negligence or reckless driving.
While ignorance about Texas’ rules of the road causes some failure to yield crashes, many of them are due to distracted driving, drunk or drugged driving, or impatience.
How Do You Prove Failure to Yield?
Sometimes, crashes involving a failure to yield become “he said, she said” situations. The at fault driver and their insurance companies might try to blame you, arguing that you were going too fast, rolled through a stop sign, or otherwise contributed to the wreck.
In these cases, eyewitnesses, crash reconstruction experts, GPS data, and other evidence can help you fight back.
Cause 4: Improper Lane Changes
Failure to drive in a single lane is the fourth-most common cause of auto collisions in the state of Texas. But there’s a twist — though the crashes occur less frequently than those involving distracted driving or failure to maintain safe speeds, they are far more dangerous.
A number of different events fall under this label, including:
- Darting between lanes
- Driving too close to or over the dividing line
- Making illegal lane changes
- Driving off the road
Negligent lane changes were cited as the cause of 73,710 accidents in 2020.
Veering into another lane can be a telltale sign of driver intoxication or sleep deprivation.
How Do You Prove an Improper Lane Change?
If you suspect that drowsy driving contributed to your wreck with a commercial driver, you need to act quickly. Federal laws limit the amount of time most truck drivers can be on the road, and they must keep precise logs that track their time. If the commercial driver violated these federal regulations, called the “hours of service” rules, it can streamline your personal injury case.
However, trucking companies do not have to keep these logs forever. If you wait too long, you might lose valuable evidence that supports your personal injury case. A car accident lawyer can help you preserve these logs and other company data.
In other cases, your lawyer might use police reports, cell phone data, eyewitness testimony, credit card records, and other information to prove that someone was on the road for too long and became drowsy or inattentive.
And if the other driver claims that you caused the crash, expert witnesses, surveillance and dashcam footage, and your own testimony can help your car accident lawyer fight back.
Crosley Law: Standing Up for Crash Victims in Texas
Even seemingly cut-and-dry car crashes can become complicated—and the insurance company wants to settle your case for as little as possible. If you’re not sure how proceed with your car accident claim, it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer
Crosley Law offers no-risk, free consultations. We’ll listen to your story, review your documents, ask questions, and give you an honest assessment of your case. Our lawyers also have a “no-fee” policy, so you won’t pay us a penny unless we help you obtain a settlement or a jury award.
Crash Contributing Factors 2020. (2021). Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://ftp.txdot.gov/pub/txdot-info/trf/crash_statistics/2020/21.pdf
Crashes Involving Cell Phones: Challenges of Collecting and Reporting Reliable Crash Data. National Safety Council. Retrieved from http://www.nsc.org/DistractedDrivingDocuments/NSC-Under-Reporting-White-Paper.pdf
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
Related ArticlesView All Blog Articles
Delayed Concussion Symptoms and Post-Concussion Syndrome Following a Motor Vehicle Crash: The Lingering ImpactJul 12, 2023
Concussions are among the most frequent injuries brought on by car accidents. Unfortunately, sometimes even “mild” concussions can have disastrous effects. While many people fully recover from their concussion, a significant percentage (roughly 15 to 20 percent) still experience persistent post-concussion symptoms months or even years after the initial head injury. And because concussion symptoms […]
How to Deal With a Private Investigator After a Car AccidentApr 21, 2023
After a car wreck, you may feel like your every move is being scrutinized. Unfortunately, it may not be just your imagination. If you notice an unfamiliar car parked in front of your home, school, or workplace; or if you receive a strange friend request on social media, a private investigator might be tracking your […]
What Is the Average Payout for a Rear-End Collision?Mar 13, 2023
You were stopped at a red light, minding your own business. Suddenly, a truck rear-ends you, pushing your car into the middle of an intersection. Now, you’re living with severe back pain and your doctors are suggesting surgery. Your car accident case is worth a lot of money, right? Maybe. The reality is, there’s no […]
Who Is at Fault in a Multi-Car Accident in Texas?Mar 09, 2023
After a multi-car accident, drivers and insurance companies often point fingers at each other, trying to shift blame to someone else. But if you suffered life-changing injuries, you deserve to know exactly what happened, which driver (or drivers) were responsible, and which liability insurance will pay for your medical bills and other damages. But getting […]
I’m Being Blamed for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault—What Should I Do?Feb 22, 2023
“My word against your word” scenarios happen all the time after auto accidents, especially when there are few other witnesses at the scene. Being accused of causing a car crash that wasn’t your fault can make you feel helpless and angry, especially when no one else is around to support your story. Getting blamed for […]
What Is the Texas Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury (and When Should I File My Lawsuit)?Feb 01, 2023
One of the first questions many people have an injury is, “How long do I have to make a personal injury claim?” While that’s an extremely important piece of information to know, it can also be misleading—and in some ways, the wrong question to ask. Here’s the short answer: In most cases, you have two […]
Who Is At Fault in an Intersection Accident?Jan 15, 2023
Most car accidents happen at intersections, plain and simple. According to the Federal Highway Administration, roughly half of car accident injuries and one-quarter of car accident fatalities occur at intersections. But it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in an intersection accident—with many turning into a “he said, she said” situation. In […]
What Should You Do After a FedEx Truck Crash in Texas?Dec 09, 2022
With more than 100,000 vehicles, nearly 125,000 drivers, and an annual revenue estimated at around $84 billion, FedEx is easily one of the largest trucking companies in the United States. With numbers like these, it’s no surprise that FedEx freight trucks are involved in injury-causing truck crashes nearly every day on American roads. In fact, […]
What Happens if You Get in an Accident With a Delivery Truck Driver?Nov 01, 2022
If your neighborhood is anything like ours, chances are you see a steady stream of delivery trucks, vans, and other vehicles pass by your house or apartment on a daily basis. The trend really took off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it certainly shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Nowadays, […]
How to Prepare for a Deposition in a Texas Personal Injury CaseOct 24, 2022
If you’ve suffered a personal injury that wasn’t your fault and you need to file a civil lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve, sooner or later you will likely have to provide your personal testimony in a deposition. Although depositions are not given before a judge, the things that you say will be considered […]
Do you or a family member
need legal advice?
Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death.