They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that would have to include its roadways. Lawmakers and traffic engineers in Texas favor funding for improved interstate and state roads over all other forms of transportation.
But how does this affect traffic safety? Are traffic accidents becoming more severe due to the sheer volume of vehicles on the roadways?
The state of Texas highways
A booming economy and desirable way of life are attracting record numbers of new residents to Texas. State agencies estimate that more than 1,000 people each day decide to relocate to communities like Houston.
While that’s good for state coffers, businesses, and employers, it can devastate road safety. The sheer increase in traffic volume, in conjunction with other factors, makes drivers more vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents and injuries.
According to one annual report regarding insurance claims, accidents are also becoming more frequent
Factors that impact traffic safety
It’s easy to suppose that more vehicles on the road mean more accidents. But while sheer numbers may increase the odds of being involved in a traffic collision, crowded roadways don’t necessarily account for the increase in accident severity.
What contributes to record-breaking insurance claims and more severe injuries is a combination of factors. The average age of drivers is increasing. Statistically, older drivers are safer, but they account for an oversized share of serious injuries.
While drivers are getting older, the average weight of vehicles on the roads is also increasing. It’s common to see entire families with a small fleet of SUVs and pickups in the driveway. Those aren’t limited to rural areas, either.
Another factor that impacts road safety is the increase in distracted drivers. However, Texas has strict laws about cell phone use while driving, which include prohibiting inexperienced drivers from using devices during their first six months on the road; such laws are difficult to enforce.
Often, texting and driving is only ever discovered after the driver has been involved in an accident.
Laws are already in place to address the realities of today’s life on the road. But, it may take greater awareness of the issues and ramifications to see real change in driver behavior.