Roadway fatalities in the United States increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. While they still haven't dropped below pre-pandemic levels, some recent estimates show that there is some hope.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there have been 19,515 roadway fatalities across the U.S. during the first half of 2023. That's a slight reduction from the 20,190 fatalities that happened during the same period in 2022. However, that number remains significantly higher than the 17,065 traffic deaths that happened during the first half of 2019.
How many roadway fatalities in Texas and Oklahoma?
The good news is that the decline in traffic fatalities happened while overall driving increased by 2.3%. However, there's bad news. Not all states experienced that decrease. Twenty-one states actually saw an increase. Luckily, Texas and Oklahoma weren't among those states.
During the first half of 2023, Texas had an estimated 2,089 roadway fatalities, down from 2,104 during the same period in 2022. Oklahoma saw a significant drop from 326 deaths to 272 during that period. However, much more work must be done to bring the numbers down further.
Common causes of roadway fatalities
Fatal car accidents are often the tragic result of human error and negligence, with various factors contributing to these devastating incidents, such as:
- Drunk Driving: Drunk driving remains a major contributor to fatal car accidents. NHTSA statistics for 2021 revealed that it was the leading cause of roadway deaths, claiming the lives of 13,384 individuals.
- Speeding: Excessive speed is another significant factor in traffic fatalities. In 2021, the NHTSA reported that speeding was responsible for 12,330 deaths on the nation's roads.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrians, being the most vulnerable road users, are at a higher risk of sustaining fatal injuries in accidents. Tragically, approximately 7,388 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2021.
- Distracted Driving: The prevalence of distracted driving, specifically texting while driving, has become a critical issue on our roadways. In 2021, it contributed to 3,522 traffic fatalities across the United States.
- Drowsy Driving: Fatigue impairs drivers' ability to react and make sound judgments. In 2021, drowsy driving resulted in 684 roadway fatalities nationwide.
Aside from these leading causes, there are additional factors that, while not directly causing accidents, play a role in traffic fatalities. It's essential to note that even in these conditions, drivers are responsible for remaining attentive, sober, and driving at reasonable speeds. These factors include:
- Weather Conditions: Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, dense fog, high winds, and ice can create hazardous road conditions, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Poorly Designed Road Infrastructures: Inadequate road designs, including the absence of crosswalks, signs, and regulated intersections, can contribute to accidents and fatalities.
- Geographical Terrain: Challenging geographical terrain, like steep hills and sharp curves, can pose additional risks for drivers.
- Seat Belt Non-Use: The failure of vehicle occupants to wear seat belts significantly increases the likelihood of severe injuries or fatalities in accidents.
What should I do if I lose a loved one in a fatal crash?
Losing a loved one in a crash caused by someone else's negligence is an unimaginable tragedy. In such heartbreaking circumstances, it's important to know your rights and take appropriate action.
If your loved one died in an accident due to negligence, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company. While no amount of compensation can erase the pain of losing a loved one, you may be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: Compensation for the costs associated with your loved one's funeral and burial services.
- Medical Expenses: Coverage for medical bills related to the accident and the care provided before your loved one's passing.
- Loss of Income: Compensation for the financial support your loved one would have provided had they survived.
- Loss of Companionship: Damages for the emotional suffering, grief, and loss of companionship experienced by surviving family members.
- Pain and Suffering: If applicable, damages for the pain and suffering your loved one endured before their passing.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is incredibly challenging, and pursuing a wrongful death claim can be emotionally taxing. However, it's a necessary step to seek justice and provide financial support for your family during this difficult time. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process and advocate for your rights, allowing you to focus on healing and mourning your loved one.
Contact Hoover Rogers Law
You typically have two years from the date of the crash to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas and Oklahoma. However, the sooner you file, the easier it will be for an attorney to gather evidence and build your case.
The car accident lawyers at Hoover Rogers Law, LLP are committed to helping crash victims and their families seek the accountability they deserve. We know how to pursue justice for those who have lost loved ones due to roadway fatalities. To learn how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us online to set up a free legal consultation. We have law offices in Wichita Falls, TX, and Lawton, OK.