Drunk driving is a serious problem around the U.S., but it may be more prominent in Texas than in other states. When a driver gets behind the wheel intoxicated, he or she puts everyone else’s lives in danger. Every year, thousands of people suffer serious and life-threatening injuries because of drunk drivers. Many will never fully recover. The drunk-driving statistics in Houston, however, are more alarming than many other regions in the country.
Were you recently injured by a drunk driver? If so, you deserve compensation. Contact one of our drunk driving accident lawyers in Houston today.
What Does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Data Say?
The Houston Chronicle compiled data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2001 to 2016 to review the number of fatal drunk driving accidents in 12 metropolitan areas in the United States. It looked at 91,388 fatal accidents that involved alcohol as a contributing factor, plus 23,314 with drug intoxication as a factor. Here are some facts the Chronicle uncovered during its analysis:
- Texas has the highest number of drunk driving accidents in the country. Houston is the worst city in Harris County for driving while intoxicated (DWI) collisions. Across the state, 944 drunk drivers were in fatal accidents in 2017.
- The nine-county region of Houston had more fatalities than any other metropolitan region in the country. In 2017, 1,018 people died in DWI accidents in Texas.
- Houston is the deadliest place in America for impaired driving. Every year, an average of over 300 people in the Houston area die in DWI collisions.
- More than 3,000 fatal DWI accidents occurred in Houston over the 16-year period – three times more than Los Angeles, which has about twice the population of Houston.
- Since 2010, the Houston region has recorded more than 5,000 impaired driving accidents annually. This equates to around 14 DWI crashes per day.
- The Dallas/Fort Worth area came in second place for drunk driving accidents, with 2,425 DWI collisions from 2001 to 2016.
- The majority of DWI fatalities in Houston (2,325) during the time period studied came from alcohol-related accidents, while 708 deaths involved drugged drivers.
- Since 2015, around 70 deputies at the Precinct 8 Constable’s Office have arrested almost 1,400 drunk drivers. This is the sixth-highest number of DWI arrests in the county.
- Of the 30,000 intoxicated drivers arrested throughout America since 2015, around 8,000 (26.6%) were repeat offenders with previous DWI convictions.
- Two-thirds of DWI accidents in Texas occur over the weekend (on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Saturday has the highest percentage of impaired collisions with 23.1%.
It appears drunk driving in Houston has gotten out of control. Drunk and impaired driving in Texas is increasing, not decreasing. In one recent month alone – April 2018 – Houston police arrested 36 people with felony driving while intoxicated charges. Fourteen of these people received charges of DWI with child passengers, and two arrests were for intoxicated manslaughter. Part of the problem is the lack of adequate law enforcement resources. The other part is reckless and criminal drivers.
Staying Safe as a Driver in Houston
Houston drivers face a relatively high risk of being involved in drunk driving accidents. As a driver in the region, you can protect yourself from harm by never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – including some prescription medications with dangerous side effects for driving. Signs of someone under the influence include:
- Speeding up or slowing down abruptly
- Being unable to stay in one lane
- Running stop signs or red lights
- Driving with the face close to the windshield
If you spot signs of a drunk driver, keep a safe distance and report the driver to local police. Try to avoid driving late at night whenever possible, as more DWI accidents in Texas occur at night than during the day. Contact a drunk driving accident attorney if a DWI driver strikes you and causes serious injuries.