A Rapidly Growing State
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, between 2010 and 2020 the Texas population increased by 15.9 percent, making it one of the fastest growing states in the nation. Average daily vehicle miles traveled on Texas roadways is 772.7 million miles, while annual vehicle miles traveled on all roadways in the state total 282.2 billion miles. As millions of Texans travel so many miles daily, TxDOT continues to work harder every year to engineer roadway safety improvements, increase traffic safety education and awareness, and build new partnerships to keep drivers safe.
The Covid-19 Effect
Traffic crashes fell by almost half in 2020 after shutdowns, following dramatically reduced traffic volumes during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as drivers took more risks including speeding on deserted roadways, the traffic crashes that did occur were 1.5 times more likely to be fatal. To explore the data, simply interact with the visualizations.
Emphasis Area Comparison
Emphasis areas are groups of issues where improving safety has the greatest promise of success in the least amount of time. Among the six emphasis areas below, trends are mostly positive, although 2020 appears to be an anomaly associated with changes in behavior related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the past decade, more crash fatalities have occurred in October than in other months. Traffic associated with holiday travel is typically higher in summer months and December.
Although crashes tend to increase with miles traveled, October often has the most crash fatalities each year. Factors that contribute to this phenomenon include weather conditions and fewer daylight hours at this time of year.
Around the Clock
A clock graphic helps visualize the frequency of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities throughout the day on Texas roads.
As each second, minute, and hour ticks by, crashes, injuries, and fatalities steadily accumulate.
Data shows that on weekends the peak fatality hour occurred after midnight, around 2:22 a.m.
Fatal Drive Times
Fatal crashes occur most often in the early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday. These crashes are most likely related to risk-taking behavior, including driving under the influence.
A Big Gender Gap
When it comes to total population in Texas, the percentage of women compared to men is virtually even. However, examining crash fatality data by gender reveals a stark difference.
Age Groups and Injuries
Looking at crash injuries by age group reveals a consistent pattern of higher injury rates in the 25–34 age group and a fairly steady decline among older groups. Many factors are involved, and the numbers of younger vs. older drivers on the roads may affect this trend. Interact with the filter boxes to explore the data.
Rural vs. Urban
Not surprisingly, more fender benders occur in urban areas of Texas where population densities are higher. More surprising is the fact that the data reveals a higher number of crash fatalities on rural roads.
We tend to consider city streets to be relatively safer than larger roadways. According to crash fatality data, however, situational awareness and a safety mindset are just as important on city streets where drivers are likely to encounter more pedestrians, cyclists, and intersections.
Rural vs. Urban Contributing Factors
This visualization shows the factors contributing to fatal crashes on Texas roadways. Factors related to impaired driving and speed were major contributors, along with a high incidence of pedestrians failing to yield the right of way.
Top Factors Contributing to Crash Fatalities
Data shows that many factors can contribute to fatal crashes. Interact with the filters and bubbles to change the visualization. Larger circles indicate a higher incidence of each factor.
Days of the Week
On average, crashes tend to increase during the week, peaking on Friday. Compare crashes by the day of the week in this interactive visualization.
Fatalities with 5-Year Moving Average
The five-year moving average takes crash fatalities from the past five years and averages them. This technique is useful in “smoothing out” averages and helps forecast trends. The line below represents the five-year crash fatality moving average while the bars show annual crash fatalities.
Fatality Rate with 5-Year Moving Average
The fatality rate (crash fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) is useful for analyzing crashes against the number of people driving on Texas roads. This allows for meaningful comparisons, regardless of population or the size of the dataset.
What TxDOT is Doing
The Texas Click It or Ticket campaign focuses on increasing seat belt usage rates and increasing public awareness of associated laws. The annual campaign is historically focused on the Memorial Day holiday weekend, with a period that starts the first week in May and extends through early June.
The campaign period usually includes a high visibility enforcement mobilization. TxDOT partners with law enforcement throughout Texas to increase seat belt use. During the mobilization period, officers ramp up their efforts to ticket drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seatbelt. Texas state law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up day or night, front seat or back, or face fines and court costs up to $200.
Officers see first-hand the devastation caused when people involved in a crash are not wearing a seatbelt. In the video, Officer Wilcox explains why she tickets drivers and passengers for not wearing their seatbelt.
Click It or Ticket
Click It or Ticket is a statewide multimedia campaign aimed at supporting enforcement of state occupant protection laws. This public information and education campaign warns drivers and passengers to buckle up day or night or risk a citation. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45 percent for people in the front seat of passenger cars. Since pickup trucks are more likely to roll over than passenger vehicles, for people in pickups seat belts reduce the risk of dying by 60 percent. The Click It or Ticket campaign is part of a national mobilization led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during the month of May each year.