Unfortunately, the rate of fatal car accidents in Austin, Texas, increased year after year. Speeding accounts for the most common cause of fatal Austin car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has deemed five common causes for car accidents: speeding, distracted driving, driving while intoxicated, failing to yield, and not using a seatbelt. It was reported that the number of car accidents in 2020 increased 80%, and fatal car accidents increased 7%. To provide numbers, in 2020, there were 94 total vehicle-related deaths and 116 in 2021. This increasing amount might be correlated to the decreasing number of speeding tickets being issued; 2019 had over 14,000 speeding tickets issued, and 2021 only had 4,271*.
Speeding is the most significant cause of Austin car accidents. So much so the city of Austin designed the Vision Zero plan. Vision Zero is a plan to decrease speeding within city limits to 25 MPH and add more speed mitigation measures such as speed bumps, roundabouts, and different textured pavement for pedestrian areas. The ultimate goal of this plan is to eliminate all traffic deaths and severe traffic-related injuries in the city by 2025. With this plan, pedestrians should feel safer walking around the downtown areas.
However, Vision Zero has no control over state-run highways. Unfortunately, high-speed car accidents happen on highways too frequently. As mentioned above, the decrease in speeding tickets being issued may have something to do with the rise in speeding car accidents. In 2020, 1 out of every five car accident victims was injured just on Interstate 35. Every driver is guilty of speeding on the surrounding state highways. Still, it is essential to note that the faster you travel, the slower your reaction time and the more likely you will experience more fatal consequences.
2. Distracted Driving
Teenage drivers seem to be the drivers who get in the most Austin car accidents because of distractions. Whether the distractions are their smart device, passengers, eating, or doing makeup while driving, teenage driving is the leading cause of death among the ages of 15 to 18. In Austin alone, teenage drivers were involved in about 970 car accidents in 2021, and more than 50 resulted in severe injury or death. On top of that, Austin Municipal Court recorded 328 tickets issued to teenage drivers, where 40% of the tickets issued were car accident-related. It is crucial for parents, guardians, and loved ones to speak with their teens before getting behind the wheel about safe and unsafe driving behaviors.
3. Driving While Intoxicated
Whether drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving while intoxicated will always lead to a car accident. Drivers leaving bars, clubs, or late-night restaurants pose a considerable threat to themselves and other drivers and pedestrians. Setting a designated driver within the group or using a ride share service to get home at the end of the night out is important.
4. Failing to Yield
Failing to yield to traffic signs or signals can cause unwanted car accidents. Teenage drivers fall into this category as well since they are inexperienced drivers learning the road rules. It can be beneficial to have teenage drivers be involved in a driving class to avoid causing a car accident. On the other side, visitors to the city of Austin are going to be learning the different road rules as they travel along. Be sure to mind your distance when driving alongside out-of-state visitors; this will help minimize the chance of a car accident happening.
5. Not Using a Seatbelt
In Texas, it is required by law that every passenger in a vehicle must be wearing a seatbelt, or everyone will be fined up to $200. This is a part of the ‘Click it or Ticket’ campaign that started about 19 years ago. The NHTSA estimated about 6,234 lives were saved from fatal deaths and over 100,000 lives saved from serious injuries. Seatbelts are used to prevent passengers and drivers from being thrown through a windshield, into the dashboard, or into other parts of the car. Seatbelts also help airbags do their job since, without a seatbelt, an airbag can become dangerous.
What to do if You Experienced a Death Due to an Austin Car Accident
If you or a loved one was experienced a death due to an Austin Car Accident, it is important to know what exactly needs to be done to receive compensation. If a loved one has passed away because of an at-fault driving, you will be able to recover damages:
- Medical Expenses
- Funeral Expenses
- Loss of Household Income
- Loss of Support
- Loss of Companionship
- Mental Health Treatment
These damages can be compensated due to wrongful death in a car accident. An Austin car accident lawyer will be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. There are a few things to note, only a deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents can file for a wrongful death car accident suit, and Siblings and grandparents cannot file these types of claims. These claims must also be filed within three months of the death. Allowing an Austin car accident lawyer to handle your case will allow you to focus on more important things!