Jason Stephens | June 13, 2023 | Car Accidents
Texas drivers get into a lot of crashes. In 2021, Texas had over 425,000 traffic accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This includes all car accidents, including multi-vehicle collisions and crashes involving pedestrians, cyclists, animals, and fixed objects.
Statistically, most crashes only have a few causes. Texas only recognizes 77 contributing causes for traffic crashes, and you could combine many of these into broader categories. For example, Texas provides separate categories for a failure to yield while turning left and a failure to yield while turning right at a red light.
Most Common Crash Causes in Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth had 14,679 traffic accidents in 2021, according to TxDOT. These crashes caused 130 deaths and 7,434 injuries.
Environmental conditions can play a role in causing crashes. Slick roads, poor visibility, and high winds can create hazardous conditions for drivers and other road users. But according to a landmark study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of crashes result from driver-related causes.
These dangerous driver behaviors include:
Speeding was cited as a contributing factor in over 160,000 crashes, or roughly 38% of all crashes in Texas in 2021. Bearing in mind that crashes can have more than one contributing cause, this made speeding the top contributing cause of crashes that year.
Speeding includes both “failing to control speed” and “unsafe speed.” Failing to control speed refers to a driver who crashes while driving faster than the speed limit. Unsafe speed includes drivers who crash while driving too fast for the road or weather conditions.
Speeding increases the risk that a driver loses control of their vehicle. For example, oversteering at high speeds can cause a vehicle to run off a road or roll over. Speeding also reduces the time a driver has to avoid a crash. A speeding driver approaching a yellow light has less time to stop safely when another driver turns in front of them.
The liability for a speeding-related crash will fall on the driver who was speeding.
Distracted driving was also a top cause of crashes in 2021. Over 95,000 crashes resulted from distractions or inattention, according to TxDOT.
Distracted driving includes all activities that take your eyes off the road, your hands off the steering wheel, or your mind off driving. Examples of distractions include eating, using a cell phone, and talking to passengers. Distractions can also happen outside the vehicle. Rubbernecking at another crash would qualify as an outside distraction.
The liability for these crashes falls on the distracted driver.
Failing to Yield the Right of Way
These crashes happen at intersections when drivers:
- Proceed through a two-way or four-way stop out of turn
- Turn into the path of an approaching vehicle
This type of crash can also happen when turning left before oncoming traffic clears.
The driver who failed to yield to the vehicle with the right of way will bear the liability for these crashes.
Disobeying a Traffic Sign or Signal
Traffic lights and stop signs help manage traffic flow. When a driver runs a red light or stop sign, they create a high risk of causing a crash. These crashes include those caused by drivers who only make a “rolling stop” at red lights or stop signs. Drivers who disregard traffic lights and signs will bear the liability for any injuries they cause.
Unsafe Lane Changes
As drivers become more experienced, they also become lazy about checking their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. This carelessness can lead to a sideswipe crash when a driver moves into an occupied lane. The careless driver will be liable for any damage or injuries caused when changing lanes without looking.
Lane drift can happen for a few reasons, including:
- Reduced visibility
- Poor directional control
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Intoxicated driving
Older drivers are particularly vulnerable to lane drift crashes. Reduced grip strength and poor vision might make driving in a single lane difficult, particularly if the driver also takes prescription medication.
Following Too Closely
Tailgating is a common behavior that increases the risk of a rear-end collision because the tailgater might not have the time or distance to stop safely. The liability for a tailgating crash almost always falls on the tailgater.
Backing Up Without Looking
Parking lot and driveway crashes often happen when a driver reverses. Again, experienced drivers tend to get lazy about turning their heads and looking through their rear windshield when backing. They may instead rely on their mirrors or simply reverse without looking.
Regardless of the reason, a driver who backs into a vehicle or pedestrian will bear the liability for any damage and injuries.
Aggressive driving or road rage happens when a driver commits a series of unsafe behaviors. The driver’s reason does not matter. Whether the driver was impatient, angry, or frustrated, they will bear the liability for any injuries they caused during an aggressive driving incident.
Driving Under the Influence
DUI remains a problem in Texas, even though drivers can avoid this behavior by using a designated driver or calling for a rideshare. Driving under the influence can affect a driver’s judgment and coordination. The liability for these crashes will fall on the driver intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
Pedestrian accidents can happen when:
- Drivers fail to yield at crosswalks
- Drivers disregard traffic signals or signs
- Pedestrians jaywalk
A driver will be liable for pedestrian crashes resulting from their carelessness in yielding at intersections or crossings.
Single-vehicle crashes are surprisingly common in Texas.
According to TxDOT, roughly 20% of accidents in 2021 involved:
- A collision with a structure, animal, or parked car
- Running off the road
- A rollover
In most cases, a driver involved in a single-vehicle crash will be responsible for any damage they cause. But in some situations, these drivers might have a claim against a vehicle manufacturer or other third party who contributed to the crash.
Using Crash Causes to Establish Liability in a Fort Worth Car Accident Case
Knowing how a crash happened will help everyone involved in the aftermath. Insurers, Fort Worth personal injury lawyers, and jurors must understand the cause of a crash to allocate liability for the resulting losses.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 406
Fort Worth, TX 76107