Is Reckless Driving the "New Normal" in 2022?

Low angle view of a black car speeding down a rural roadway. The background is blurred to indicate the car is going very fast.

Speeding continues to wreak havoc on our nation’s roads.

Car accident fatalities that involve speeding increased dramatically nationwide in the past two years, despite fewer drivers on the road due to the pandemic, according to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

And it’s not just nationwide. In many states – including Texas and Oklahoma – speeding continues to cause car accidents that result in severe injuries and fatalities after years of steady declines in car accident deaths.

“We have a real crisis in our state,” said Bob Kaufman, chief communications officer with the Texas Department of Transportation, in an interview with KXAN News about the record-high car accident death toll last year.

Safety experts say there’s been a spike in reckless driving.

The IIHS study focused on fatal car accidents caused by speeding and analyzed crash data from 2019 to 2021. During those three years, the number of car accident deaths nationwide increased dramatically due to speeding and “other forms of risky driving,” according to the IIHS traffic safety study.

In particular, speeding became increasingly common during the pandemic. From March 2020 to June 2020, 50 percent more people drove at least 10 miles per hour over the speed limit compared to the same four-month period in 2019.

“The empty roads probably tempted pandemic-stressed drivers to put the pedal down,” said Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS. But even since pandemic restrictions have been lifted, Cicchino said that speeding “has become the new normal.”

Speeding drivers in Texas

So, how bad are the numbers nationwide and in Texas? In 2020, car accident fatalities in the US increased by 7 percent compared to 2019. The following year, car accident deaths in the US set a single-year record and increased by 10.5 percent. That’s the most significant single-year increase in car accident deaths since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began collecting such data in 1975.

As for Texas, there were 3,874 car accident fatalities in 2020, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2019 and the state’s highest death toll in seven years. The following year, Texas set a record for car accident deaths with 4,573 in 2021, an increase of 18 percent compared to 2020, according to the NHTSA and the Texas Department of Transportation.

Speeding drivers in Oklahoma

Texas isn’t the only state where car accident fatalities and crashes caused by speeding have set records in the past two years. For example, according to NHTSA statistics, the car accident death toll in Oklahoma skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021.

In 2020, Oklahoma car accident fatalities reached 652 deaths, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to 2019.

In terms of speeding fatalities in Oklahoma, deaths increased by 21.8 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Then in 2021, Oklahoma’s car accident death toll soared 18.7 percent higher to 774 deaths, the highest single-year death toll in Oklahoma since 2005, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Contact an experienced car accident attorney today.

Hiring a lawyer might not seem necessary if your car accident is already being investigated by a local police officer or state trooper. But it’s important to understand that their investigation only concerns who was at fault and whether traffic laws were broken. They’re not focused on whether you’re fairly compensated for your accident-related expenses.

This is why it’s critical that you have an experienced legal team on your side, fighting for the money you rightfully deserve. A Wichita Falls, Texas car accident lawyer from Hoover Rogers Law, LLP can help you every step of the way. We know how the legal system works in Texas and Oklahoma. When you have our law firm on your side, you can be confident that your injury claim or lawsuit will get the attention it deserves.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a Texas car accident attorney who puts your best interests first. We have two offices conveniently located in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma, and handle cases in both states. In addition, you pay no fees unless we secure a financial settlement or verdict for you. That’s because we take injury claims on a contingency fee basis. Call us today to learn more.

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