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While deaths from car accidents and other traffic-related crashes have fallen in recent decades, crashes continue to happen year after year in Texas. 

In 2021, more than 4,400 people died in traffic-related crashes, marking one of the deadliest years on Texas roads in recent history, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Of those fatal crashes, 519 involved motorcycles, 832 involved pedestrians, and 87 involved cyclists. In San Antonio alone, more than 440 people died in traffic-related crashes in 2021. 

Car accidents and other traffic-related deaths are also among the leading causes of death for people ages 5 to 29, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least 38,680 people, of all ages, died in car crashes across the United States in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Common Causes of Car Accidents 

Traffic crashes can range in severity –– from minor fender benders to life-threatening collisions. Though the cause of car accidents can lead to any number of outcomes, some common causes of traffic crashes include: 

  1. Distracted Driving: There is no doubt that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. Several factors can distract a driver from the road, including passengers, mobile devices, or even food. Cell phones have added to the frequency of traffic crashes, despite state and local bans on cell phone use while driving in Texas. 
  1. Drunk and Impaired Driving (DWI and DUI): Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a danger to themselves and others on the road. In 2020, 963 people in Texas were killed and more than 2,110 were seriously injured in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to TxDOT. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can slow reaction times, lower concentration, and affect decision-making. If you were injured in a crash involving a drunken or impaired driver, you may have a strong case in showing the driver was negligent.
  2. Drowsy Driving: Drivers who get behind the wheel who are tired or drowsy can similarly lead to car and traffic accidents. Like alcohol, drivers who are drowsy due to lack of sleep or medication can also have slow reaction times and trouble concentrating on the road.
  3. Dangerous Road Condition: Whether because of rain or snow, inclement weather can cause hazardous conditions for drivers. Water and ice make roads slick and may cause vehicles to veer and slide with little warning. Other road conditions that can lead to crashes might include potholes, road construction, or objects in roadways. Sometimes car accidents happen when drivers unsafely veer around obstacles and strike other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians.
  4. Speeding and Reckless Driving: Drivers who weave in and out of traffic, follow too closely, and ignore speed limits and other traffic rules put others at risk. These are a handful of examples of reckless driving. Along with the inherent dangers of this type of driving, driving at high speeds can lead to severe crashes. 

Responsibilities Of The Driver While Operating A Vehicle

When drivers get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and drive, they are taking on certain responsibilities. Depending on the state or city you are driving in, these responsibilities can be different. 

However, in general, drivers in Texas are responsible for: 

Driving at a reasonable speed, including for current conditions: Drivers are required to adhere to speed limits, which include maximum and minimum speeds in which drivers can travel. But there are also instances when drivers may be required to slow down. This may include when entering a construction area or during inclement weather. 

Texas, along with many other states, also requires drivers to either slow down to 20 MPH or move to another lane vehicles in the shoulder. Among them include emergency vehicles, tow trucks, or law enforcement when they are stopped on the shoulder.

Keeping your car in good repair and working order: Drivers are responsible for keeping their car safe for the road. For Texas residents, most motorists are required to submit their vehicles for an annual safety inspection. Though it isn’t required for out-of-state motorists, drivers are still responsible for ensuring important safety components, such as their lights, brakes, horn, seatbelts, and steering are working properly.

Maintaining control of your vehicle: Like many states, Texas requires drivers to be in control of their vehicles at all times. This means motorists are responsible for avoiding collisions with people, buildings, traffic barriers, and other motorists on the roadway. Another component of this responsibility revolves around a driver’s speed. Generally speaking, Texas requires drivers to be able to adjust their speed at all times if there is any change in the environment. 

Use of seatbelt and other protective equipment: Motorists and passengers alike require passengers and drivers to wear a seatbelt in every state. Texas is no exception and failure to buckle up can lead to fines and tragic outcomes during a crash. Additionally, Texas requires booster seats for children under 8 years old unless they’re taller than 4 feet 9 inches. 

How To File A Claim After A Car Accident?

People Die In Car AccidentsIf you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you may be able to recoup the costs of expensive medical bills and damage to your vehicle. Here are a few helpful tips when considering taking legal action against a negligent party: 

  • Gather and preserve evidence: It’s generally a good idea to collect as much information as possible following your accident. This can include pictures you took at the scene of your car accident or contact information from witnesses. Be sure to also get a copy of any police report from your accident. It could contain relevant information to your case, including if any fault was determined.
  • Seek Medical Treatment: Even if you seem fine after an accident, seeking medical treatment can reveal injuries you don’t realize are there. Seemingly minor injuries, like a bump to the head, can sometimes worsen over time and become debilitating. You may be entitled to seek compensation for past and future medical bills.
  • Calculate Your Damages and losses: From the minor paint job for your car to the months or years of physical rehabilitation you’ll need after an accident, adding up your damages can help maximize your claim or settlement.  

Hire an Experienced Lawyer

An experienced San Antonio Personal Injury lawyer can help you file a claim and guide you through the difficult process of negotiating with insurance companies. At Khattar Law, we’ve handled thousands of personal injury cases and will fight to hold negligent parties accountable.

While no dollar amount can make up for those who have lost a loved one to a traffic crash, our experienced and caring team of attorneys can help you receive full and fair compensation for your losses. Call today at (210) 923-1234 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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