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Varghese Summersett
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More than a thousand people move to Texas daily, which means more drivers are traveling on our 200,000 miles of state-maintained roadways. To keep up with the influx, state officials spent $2 billion from 2015 to 2022 to make our roads safer.

Still, we averaged one accident every minute last year.

Texas envisions a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries. It has adopted a “Road to Zero” goal of having zero fatalities on Texas roads by 2050.

So, how are we doing? 

Texas Crash Data

Ever wonder what happens to crash reports after an accident? Where do they go from your local police department? The data from these reports, whether filed by police or self-reporting blue forms submitted by drivers to police, gets compiled into a database by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).

Those reports are then entered into the Crash Records Information System (CRIS), an extensive database maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation. It contains data compiled from all of the crash reports filed in Texas. As such, it is an exhaustive database from which useful information can be mined.

In this post, we will share our findings after doing just that. You’ll also find information in this post you won’t find anywhere else. For example, it is easy to track the increase (or decrease) in accidents based on crash type, but the information tells a much more useful story when you combine it with other sources of information, such as data on population growth in Texas over the same period.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into a comparison of the 2022 data against 2023, the most recent year complete statistics are available.

The Number of Crashes in Texas Held Steady in 2023

Overall, there were 3,367 more accidents reported in 2023 than there were in 2022. That is less than a 1% increase in the total number of crashes. There were 555,586 accidents in 2022 and 558,953 accidents in 2023. That translates to 1,531 accidents per day in Texas in 2023. That’s 10,748 accidents per week, 46,579 accidents per month.

That’s just over 1 accident per minute in Texas in 2023.

 20222023
Total Crash Count555,586558,953
Population30,026,54730,500,000
Non-Injury, Non-Fatal Crashes with Property Damage50,65448,355
Non-Fatal Crashes With Injury165,973169,203
Fatal Crashes3,9653,855
Total Number of Fatalities4,4074,268
Total Number of Injuries244,325250,182

Texas Population Growth Against Crash Data

Let’s compare this against population growth. Texas, the second-largest state in the U.S. by both area and population, sees a vast amount of traffic on its roads each day. Texas grew in population by 1.6 percent last year, meaning it added more people than any other state in the nation last year according to the United States Census Bureau.

Although there were more crashes in Texas last year, the rate at which crashes increased was less than the rate that the population grew by.

Increase in accidents in Texas vs. population growth from 2022 to 2023.

Fatal Car Crashes Were Down

There were 110 fewer fatal car crashes in 2023 as compared to 2022. That is a 2.8% reduction in fatal car crashes even while the population increased by 1.6%. While even a single death is one too many, it is improvement that tracks the increasing safety measures we see in modern vehicles. Improvements in vehicle safety features and advancements in road safety measures have likely contributed to the reduction in fatalities.

Total Number of Injuries from Motor Vehicle Accidents Went Up in 2023

 

The Number of Texans Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents Went Up

There were 5,857 more injuries from motor vehicle accidents in Texas in 2023 than there were in 2022. That is an increase of about 2.3%, slightly more than the increase in population in Texas over the same period of time.

Total Number of Injuries Went Up in Texas in 2023

Remarkable Reduction in Alcohol-Related Accidents in Texas in 2023

There were 1,107 fewer accidents involving alcohol in 2023, representing a 4.4% decrease in alcohol-related crashes. The total number of alcohol-related accidents in 2023 was 23,844 which is down from 24951 in 2022. There was a massive reduction in alcohol-related fatality accidents. In 2022 4,756 people lost their lives in alcohol-related accidents. In 2023, that number was down to 3,547. This represents a 25.4% reduction in alcohol-related accident deaths in 2023, despite a 1.6% increase in population.

 2022 Alcohol-Related Crashes2023 Alcohol-Related Crashes
Total Crash Count2495123844
Non-Injury, Non-Fatal Crashes with Property Damage71706606
Non-Fatal Crashes With Injury2492124262
Fatal Crashes39462916
Total Number of Fatalities47563547
Total Number of Injuries4952947384

Motorcycle Accidents Increased in Texas in 2023

There were 278 more motorcycle accidents in 2023 than in 2022. This represents a 3.3% increase in the number of motorcycle accidents. 54 more motorcycle accidents resulted in fatalities, which is a 7.7% increase in motorcycle accident fatalities.

 2022 Motorcycle Crashes2023 Motorcycle Crashes
Total Crash Count83588636
Non-Injury, Non-Fatal Crashes with Property Damage130124
Non-Fatal Crashes With Injury75957790
Fatal Crashes662702
Total Number of Fatalities702756
Total Number of Injuries95429718

Tarrant County Accident Statistics

There were 29,043 accidents reported in Tarrant County in 2023, up 34 accidents from 2022, a virtual dead heat. There were 13 more fatalities from car accidents in Tarrant County in 2023 versus 2022. 2023 saw a total of 215 fatalities from car accidents.

There were 141 alcohol-related car accident fatalities in Tarrant County in 2022 and 21 less in 2023.

The number of motorcycle fatalities jumped from 40 to 54 from 2022 to 2023 in Tarrant County.

Tarrant County20222023
Total MVAs29,00929,043
Fatalities202215
Injuries15,83115,698
Alcohol-Related Fatalities141120
Motorcycle Fatalities4054

Dallas County Accidents

There were 54,555 car accidents in Dallas County in 2022. There were 52,115 accidents in Dallas County in 2023, a decrease of 2,440 car accidents. There were 332 fatalities arising out of car accidents in Dallas in 2023, 10 more than the previous year. There were 551 alcohol-related car accident fatalities in Dallas County in 2022 with a reduction of over 200 alcohol-related fatalities in 2023, with the total for the year ending at 349 alcohol-related fatalities. The number of motorcycle accidents remained relatively steady. There were 46 in Dallas in 2022 and 42 in 2023. The total number of individuals injured in accidents went up by over 500, with 25,142 injuries in 2023 and 25,708 in 2022.

Dallas County20222023
Total MVAs54,55552,115
Fatalities322332
Injuries25,70825,142
Alcohol-Related Fatalities551349
Motorcycle Fatalities4642

Harris County Accident Statistics

The number of accidents stayed relatively steady in Harris County. There were 115, 806 accidents in Harris County in 2022. There were 116,473 accidents reported to TXDOT in Harris County in 2023.

The number of fatal car accidents dropped from 559 in 2022 to 534 in 2023.

The number of alcohol-related fatalities had an even greater drop from 834 alcohol-related fatalities in Harris County in 2022 to 701 alcohol-related traffic accident deaths in 2023.

The number of motorcycle accidents went from 110 in 2023 to 100 in 2022 in Harris County. The total number of injuries arising from traffic accidents dropped by about a thousand from 2022 to 2023, going from 47,598 to 46,569.

Harris County20222023
Total MVAs115,806116,743
Fatalities559534
Injuries46,56947,598
Alcohol-Related Fatalities834701
Motorcycle Fatalities110100

Bexar County Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics

The total number of accidents in Bexar County rose from 47,467 in 2022 to 48,690 in 2023. The number of fatalities from traffic accidents in Bexar over that same period dropped from 247 to 209.

Bexar20222023
Total MVAs47,46748,690
Fatalities247209
Injuries19,85120,077
Alcohol-Related Fatalities318132
Motorcycle Fatalities2837

Massive Drop in Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities in Bexar County in 2023

Even more remarkably, the number of alcohol-related traffic accident deaths dropped from 318 to 132, a reduction of almost 58%, the greatest drop in the cities mentioned in this article. According to the Office of Court Administration, in 2023 about 10% more misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases were filed in Bexar County than were filed the previous year.

First-Time DWIs Reduced in Bexar, But in More Limited Circumstances in 2023

Bexar County offers reductions of first-time DWIs to Obstruction of Highway charges, but in 2023 changed their policy to no longer allow those if the blood alcohol concentration was over .15 or if there was an accident. The county reported a 3% lower recidivism rate for individuals who pled to Obstruction charges compared to those who pled to DWI charges.

Motorcycle accident fatalities in Bexar County increased from 28 to 37 from 2022 to 2023. The total number of injuries arising from traffic accidents in Bexar County dropped marginally from 20,077 in 2022 to 19,851 in 2023.

Driving While Intoxicated Filings vs. Intoxication-Related Fatalities in Texas 

Dallas, Tarrant, and Harris County all saw reductions in alcohol-related fatalities and misdemeanor DWI cases filed. Bexar County, which had the greatest reduction in alcohol-related fatalities, had about 10% more misdemeanor DWI cases filed in 2023 when compared to 2022.

DWIs Filed in Large Counties in Texas in 2022 and 2023

County Level Changes in DWIs and

Statewide, filings of misdemeanor DWIs dropped about 3.4% while alcohol-related motor vehicle accident deaths dropped by over 25%.

DWI filing have decreased in Texas, so have intoxication-related deaths.

 

Funding for Texas Road Improvements

Texas Department of Transportation’s Unified Transportation Program has a massive impact on North Texas roadways. TxDoT has earmarked $5.2 billion for projects in the Fort Worth area and $11.5 billion earmarked for projects around Dallas. This 10-year investment is part of $142 billion that will be poured into Texas roadways.

Overall, there’s much to be proud of. We’ve reduced the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents and even mores the number of alcohol-related fatalities on Texas roadways. While advancements are being made with technology in vehicles and improvements to our roadways, there is still a long way to go to get to the goal of zero fatalities by 2050.

Varghese Summersett is a premier criminal defense firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. Our attorneys focus exclusively on criminal law and represent clients charged with crimes at both the state and federal level. We handle everything from DWI to capital murder to white collar crime. Collectively, our attorneys bring together more than 100 years of criminal law experience and have tried more than 550 cases before Texas juries. All of our senior attorneys served as former state or federal prosecutors and four are Board Certified in Criminal law, the highest designation an attorney can reach. We are the firm people turn to when the stakes are high and they are facing the biggest problem in their lives. - Contact Varghese at  
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