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NHTSA Statistics Reveal Downward Trend in Traffic Fatalities

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The most recent report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed astounding statistics. The bad news is that there were 32,367 highway fatalities nationwide in 2011. The good news is that these figures are the lowest they have been for over six decades. The last time they were at that level was in 1949. These numbers continue to dictate a downward trend in the most recent years and a 26% decline in traffic deaths since 2005.

Unfortunately, these glowing statistics are of little comfort to Texas families who have lost loved ones in accidents. As our San Antonio wrongful death lawyers have known, the data confirms that our state accounts for almost 10% of all highway fatalities and 40% of those are alcohol related.

State and national agencies continue with their efforts to educate the public about ways to save lives. Some examples of successful campaigns have been “Buckle Up,” “Click It or Ticket,” “Move Over,” “Don’t Drink & Drive” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

Nationwide, alcohol impaired fatalities declined in 2011 by 2.5%, claiming 9,878 lives compared to 10,136 in 2010. These fatalities involved the operator of a vehicle or motorcycle who had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. The 9,878 drunk-driving deaths reported in 2011 represented 31% of the overall total.

Texas, New York, South Carolina and Tennessee led the group of 27 states that experienced a decline of 30 or more alcohol-related highway deaths. Colorado, Florida and New Jersey all had increases of 30 or more alcohol-related traffic deaths. Connecticut, North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan led the group of 36 states that marked reductions in the number of overall fatalities.

Some other findings reported were:

• Fatalities declined by 4.6% for occupants of cars, pickups, SUVs and minivans.

• Fatalities increased for occupants of 18-wheelers (20%), cyclists (8.7%), pedestrians (3%) and motorcycle riders (2.1%).

Compared to all the other states, Texas clearly led the pack accounting for nearly 10% of all traffic fatalities reported nationwide. In 2010, Texas reported 3,023 total fatalities. There were 42% (1,270) related to alcohol. In 2011, Texas had a total of 3,016 fatalities, with 40% (1,213) being alcohol-related. Only Hawaii (44%) and North Dakota (44%) had more traffic fatalities related to alcohol than Texas.

These statistics are frightening for every mother and father who fears the worst when their teenagers are out at night and every husband or wife who sees their loved one leave on a road trip.


If you or a family member have been badly injured or suffered the loss of a loved one in a traffic accident caused by an alcohol-impaired or distracted driver, you need to talk to a San Antonio lawyer who is experienced in handling wrongful death cases.

Carabin & Shaw is based in San Antonio but has offices located conveniently throughout the state. For over 20 years the lawyers and experienced staff with the firm have helped thousands of clients throughout Texas who suffered serious personal injuries or had claims for wrongful death.

Contact us through our website or call our San Antonio office at (210) 222-2288 for a free consultation. If you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

With our firm, there is never a fee unless we get you a settlement.

Other Resources:

State Motor Vehicle Fatalities and State Alcohol-Impaired Motor Vehicle Fatalities, 2011, NHTSA, December 2012
Related Blog Posts:

Houston Innovation Reduces Fatality Rate In Wrong Way Crashes , Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, November 15, 2012
Last Day Without A Fatality On Texas Roads Was 12 Years Ago , Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, November 9, 2012