Experts who gather statistics about highway injuries and deaths are troubled by the numbers in the Lone Star State: they have risen by 20 percent since 2011. Despite additional safety features installed on newer vehicles, injuries and fatalities continue to increase. Law enforcement officers list several causes, citing one that stands out above the rest.

The bad news keeps piling up

In 2015 across the U.S., 35,092 people lost their lives in car crashes, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas led the way with more than 3,500 fatalities. Males of all ages had the highest death rates and almost half, or 49 percent, of all fatalities nationally occurred on weekends. The Insurance Council of Texas reported that there were 3,757 vehicle crash fatalities in the state last year and that 263,536 people were injured.

Tracking the causes

Statistics and injuries that stem from traffic accidents are collected by both state and federal agencies. Most of the data points to four main factors that contribute to vehicle crashes: speeding, lack of seatbelt use, distracted driving and alcohol. Of these, the biggest issue is alcohol: drunk driving. Information gathered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that blood alcohol content figures are the most precise from states like Texas that show a high BAC percentage. In 2015, for example, 42 percent of the passenger vehicle drivers who died had a BAC level that was equal to or higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

More cars, more accidents

In parts of Texas, very high speed limits are posted. While collisions can obviously be more violent and deadly when cars are traveling at 80 miles per hour, high speeds do not point to an increase in accidents because motorists are more alert than they are when driving at 45 or 55. The state of Texas boasts a growing population, a thriving economy and low prices at the pump. People with jobs and more spendable income get together with friends after hours. They attend parties and sporting events, and take to the roads for weekend getaways and extended vacations. In a good economy, there are simply more cars on Texas back roads and highways, and the opportunities for impaired driving increase.

The need for legal assistance

Texas has stiff laws pertaining to driving while intoxicated, or DWI, and a driver who has been charged with this offense should contact a lawyer without delay. The situation may seem overwhelming, but an experienced attorney can see that a driver’s rights are protected while providing the best legal representation available.