Each year the Texas A&M Transportation Institute ranks the 100 most congested roadways in Texas. According to their 2019 study, the Houston-metro area is home to five of the top 10 most congested roads in the state. The five roads on the list are likely all too familiar to Houston drivers:
The trend observed by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is that growth-induced traffic gridlock is getting worse every year. Simply put, busier Houston roads create more opportunities for serious car accidents.
And if ever-increasing traffic weren’t enough for drivers to contend with, the data shows that accidents caused by distracted drivers are also on the rise.
Distracted Driving Crashes in Houston Are on the Rise
In 2017 we surveyed over 900 Texas drivers, asking the simple question: How often do you use your phone while driving? We were surprised when 60% of respondents answered that they never use their phone while driving:
Crash data from the Texas Department of Transportation suggests that many in that 60% group may not be telling the truth. According to our analysis of raw crash data, crashes caused by distracted drivers have increased each year from 2012 to 2016:
We’ve all seen it (and some of us are guilty of it ourselves): Drivers cruising down Houston highways at 70 MPH staring directly at their cell phone. While many different forms of distractions can contribute to car accidents, none are more common or more distracting than cell phone use.
From 2012 to 2016 the total number of distracted driving car accidents in Houston has increased each year. There were 1,375 more distracted driving crashes in 2016 than 2012, which is an increase of nearly 20%.
Accidents Caused By Drunk Driving
Making the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking alcohol is a serious crime. Texas ranks in the top five of the most dangerous states when it comes to drunk driving fatalities. In 2019, there were 886 people died and more than 14,000 people injured in a car accident when a driver was under the influence of alcohol.
In Texas, an individual is legally intoxicated with a 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level. An individual may be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) if he or she meets or exceeds the limit. Any driver under 21 who indicates a BAC above 0.00 percent can be issued a ticket. Any amount of alcohol consumption can impact your driving ability. Starting with one drink can cause your BAC to go up to 0.02 percent. Here are some common ways alcohol impairs your driving ability:
- Reduced concentration
- Blurred vision
- Lack of coordination
- Delayed reaction time
Drinking and driving can result in some heavy consequences. The first offense starts with a fine up to $2,000, at least three days in jail, and loss of your driver license up to a year. The punishment gets worse after each offense. Whether you are the driver or the passenger, you can be fined up to $500 for having an open alcohol container in a vehicle.
In addition, others can be held liable for drunk driving car accidents. Under Texas statute, a bartender or another person who serves, sells, or provides alcohol to a person when it is apparent that the person is intoxicated to the extent that the person presents a clear danger to themselves and others and the intoxication of the person was the proximate cause of the damages caused, then the bartender or other person providing, serving, or selling the alcohol may be held liable. In Texas, however, the bartender may be shielded from liability under safe harbor laws if:
- The employee is required to attend a commissionapproved seller training program;
- The employee attended the training program; and
- The employer did not directly or indirectly encourage the employee to violate laws related to the selling and serving of alcoholic beverages.
If your accident involved a minor driving under the influence, the person who provided the minor with alcohol may also be liable for your injuries. Under Texas statute, an adult can be held liable for an accident caused by a minor if the adult was not the minor’s legal guardian, parent, or spouse and the adult knowingly provided or served the minor alcohol that contributed to the minor’s intoxication, or allowed the minor to be served or provided alcohol that contributed to the minor’s intoxication on the premise owned or leased by the adult.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies from an alcohol-related crash every 51 minutes. The best way to stay safe and to prevent drunk driving crashes is don’t drink and drive. If you are going out and plan to drink, get a designated driver or use a rideshare service to get home safely. At Sutliff & Stout, we have defended plenty of clients against drunk driving accidents. We know how traumatic it can be for an individual to be injured or the family to lose a loved one due to the negligence of drinking and driving. Each major holiday we offer our No DWI Free Holiday Rides, where we reimburse you for your Uber or Lyft ride. Holidays are a time to celebrate; however, incidents usually increase during holiday weekends. As Houston car accident attorneys, we know the importance of keeping the communities we serve safer.