MCALLEN, USA, 6 February 2024 - 2023 Texas crash data has revealed that motor vehicle fatalities have fallen for the second consecutive year.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) usually releases its Traffic Crash Facts document — compiling the previous year’s statistics on motor vehicle accidents in the state — in March.
But Texas personal injury law firm Patino Law has compiled data using TxDOT's Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.) to present the latest auto accident statistics, yielding several insights.
According to C.R.I.S., 4,254 people suffered fatal injuries in Texas in 2023, down 3.5% from 4,407 in 2022.
A drop in auto accident fatalities should be a cause for celebration. It comes after the state department recently urged Texans to make safe decisions behind the wheel and outlined its plans to enhance safety on Texas roads, committing to investing $17 billion in safety improvements over the next 10 years — itself a response to the shocking fact that at least one fatality has occurred each day on Texas roads for the past 23 years.
But while fatalities have decreased, it's clear Texas still has a long way to go.
Injuries from reportable crashes increased last year, from 248,731 in 2022 to 254,095, translating in one person being injured every two minutes and four seconds — down from two minutes and nine seconds in 2022.
Motorcyclist Deaths Increase
While total fatalities fell, motorcycle accident deaths increased in 2023, up from 562 to 595, and the data on helmet use is particularly alarming.
In 2023, 265 of the 595 motorcyclists or motorcycle passengers killed in crashes were not wearing a helmet.
But as the research shows, wearing a helmet alone is not enough to prevent a fatality.
Notably, 300 individuals who died in these crashes wore a helmet, but it was damaged. In contrast, there were just 30 deaths of motorcyclists or passengers wearing undamaged helmets.
Wearing a helmet is optional for riders aged 21 or over with medical insurance coverage and who have completed an approved motorcycle operator course. However, these statistics could not better illustrate the life-saving impact of wearing head protection on the road.
More People Injured in Crashes Involving Parties without Insurance
Patino Law Firm also explored how many fatal and serious injury crashes involved drivers without insurance, which can have a massive impact on an injury victim's ability to recover compensation.
The number of people who sustained suspected serious injuries in crashes where at least one party had expired or insufficient proof of financial security increased in 2023, from 5,443 to 5,664.
Dr. Louis "Doc" Patino, founder of the San Antonio and McAllen-based personal injury law firm and who compiled the data, said: "It's positive to see fatalities fall again last year. Every decrease represents a life saved and a family prevented from mourning a loved one taken far too soon. But we must not lose sight of the end goal and the part we all have to play in making Texas roads safer."
On the increase in serious injuries sustained in auto crashes, Dr. Patino continues: "We must also not underestimate the devastating effect of serious injuries. Incapacitating injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and burns can upend a survivor's life, leaving them with staggering medical bills, severe emotional trauma, and unable to work, and the increase in injuries sustained in crashes where those involved do not have insurance is particularly concerning, as it can make it much more difficult for them to recover the compensation they're rightfully owed."
Patino Law Firm’s research also delves into crashes caused by drunk driving, speeding, and driver distraction and highlights when and where the most fatal and serious injury crashes occurred in 2023 versus 2022.
The full 2023 Guide to Auto Accidents in Texas — accompanied by a downloadable one-page Crash Facts sheet — can be found on the Patino Law Firm website.