New year, new you? January is often the month of resolutions and striving towards a better you – should that also mean that you should strive to be a better driver? Maybe. Let’s take a look back at 2021 and find out how safe we were on the road.

National Driving StatisticsMaybe the pandemic was getting to us, but accidents spiked in the first half of 2021, with a whopping 20,160 deaths – up almost 20% since 2020 and the highest since 2006! Drivers were also speeding more and wearing seatbelts less (NHTSA). It is notable that people were also driving more, perhaps to avoid the risks of COVID-19 when traveling by plane. 

43% of crashes were with another vehicle, with a majority of these occurring at an angle (for example, running a stop sign).  The second lowest kinds of collisions were rear-enders; this is interesting because most people worry about what happens if someone slows too quickly in front of them. What the statistics show us is that while these kinds of accidents do occur,  it is more important to pay attention to drivers at stop signs or crossing intersections (NSC).

These statistics also show us that it is more likely that two or more cars were involved. These kinds of accidents could mean more complicated insurance claims, and that a lawyer may have been needed to solve disputes about who was at fault. 

The most common kinds of car accidents were side-impact, single and multiple vehicle, and head-on accidents. The most likely causes of these accidents were:

The first three we all can work on avoiding on the road. You should never drink and drive, and you should follow posted speed limits. Remember, glancing at your cellphone at just the wrong moment could cost someone their life. 

Texas Driving Statistics

Texas is number one— in fatal car accidents in 2021. Texas led the country with 3,305 fatal accidents last year; incidentally, the smallest state in the Union, Rhode Island, had the least with 56 (WPR).According to the Texas Department of Transportation, “a person in Texas dies every nine hours and six minutes in a DUI-alcohol-related traffic crash” (TXDOT). In 2020, 963 people were killed in drunk

driving accidents; it can safely be assumed that number was higher in 2021.

While we might like to have a good time in Texas, we really should avoid driving while intoxicated. Even if there isn’t an accident, a DUI in Texas could cost you up to $2,000,  up to 180 days in jail (3 are mandatory with conviction), and loss of your license for up to a year (TXDOT).

Lessons Learned

While everything may be bigger in Texas, let’s try to do better in 2022 and not make the top of the fatal car accident chart when we look back at the start of next year. Remember, if you’re going to go out to drink, have a designated driver or call someone to get you home.

AAA Texas encourages drivers to put away distractions while driving and to ask passengers to check messages or to change settings on navigation devices. Or, have your route pre-planned and set your GPS device up before you hit the road. If you have to call or text, AAA Texas encourages you to get off the road before picking up your cell phone (AAA).

Remember to speak up if you are a passenger and feel unsafe about how a driver is handling their driving. Offer to help with navigation and help keep the driver focused on the road.

Let’s all work together to make Texas roads much safer in 2022!