Texas ranks No. 3 on a list of the 10 U.S. states with the worst drivers based on the number of fatal car accidents and traffic law violations in five categories. Drunk driving is the most frequent traffic violation in Texas, with 46 percent of all traffic deaths in Texas in 2018 involving a driver who had been drinking.
“These 10 states with the worst drivers have serious issues, including drunk driving and pedestrian deaths,” says the survey report by Car Insurance Comparison, which calls itself an objective, third-party resource for everything auto-insurance related.
Texas had been No. 5 on the 2019 worst drivers list. It’s No. 3 ranking for 2020 is a tie with Montana. Alaska is No. 1, and New Mexico is No. 2 for 2020.
In addition to drunk driving fatalities, 990 of the 3,642 traffic deaths in Texas in 2018 involved speeding, the report says. This amounted to 27.2 percent of all traffic deaths.
The study says that the worst state, Alaska, had 80 traffic deaths in 2018, of which 97.5 percent involved drunk driving and speeding.
How States with the ‘Worst Drivers’ were Ranked
Car Insurance Comparison says its statistics come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Information Institute (III). Researchers gathered data on each state in five categories:
- Death (fatal accident) rate
- Failure to obey
- Careless driving
- Drunk driving
In the five main categories, Texas ranked as follows:
- Death rate – 17th
- Failure to obey – 8th
- Careless driving – 12th
- Drunk driving – 3rd
- Speeding – 12th
Each category is divided into smaller categories, such as pedestrian and bicyclist deaths in the careless driving category. Statistics about numerous subcategories were compiled, which led to a sub-ranking. The overall ranking for each state was collected similarly to category rankings and weighted. (Read more about the study methodology.)
Drunk Driving in Texas
The NHTSA’s 2018 report about drunk driving says Texas had the most alcohol-impaired driving fatalities of any state, meaning that at least one driver in each crash had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
At least one driver was drinking in 1,677 fatal accidents in Texas in 2018 – 46% of all 3,642 traffic fatalities recorded. In 974 fatal accidents in Texas in 2018, at least one driver registered a .15% BAC or higher.
A 2019 study by USDrugTestCenters.com found that from 2009 to 2018, the number of drunk driving arrests in Texas dropped by nearly 33 percent and that the number of drunk driving arrests had declined overall in the U.S. over the previous five years.
Just over 1 million people in the U.S. were arrested for driving under the influence in 2018, accounting for nearly 1 in 10 of the total arrests made across the country that year, the report says. Arrests for drunk driving and driving under the influence of any substance are more common than arrests for aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, or fraud.
Under Texas law, a driver is legally intoxicated when his or her blood-alcohol concentration reaches .08 percent. But it is illegal to drive if drugs or alcohol affect driving ability at any level. A study by Texas A&M University’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies says that even one or two beers can seriously affect judgment and driving decisions.
For a first DWI arrest in Texas, you could face:
- A fine of up to $2,000.
- Up to 180 days in jail upon conviction with three mandatory days.
- Loss of driver’s license for up to a year.
A second DWI offense in Texas is punishable by:
- A fine of up to $4,000.
- One month to a year in jail upon conviction.
- Loss of driver’s license for up to two years.
A third DWI offense in Texas is punishable by:
- A fine of up to $10,000.
- Two to 10 years in prison.
- Loss of driver’s license for up to two years.
These fines do not include an additional penalty of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 the State of Texas assesses upon sentencing.
What Are My Options if a Drunk Driver injured me?
In Texas, if you are involved in a car accident caused by another driver, the law allows you to seek compensation for your injuries and losses, including property damage. This is a civil matter separate from any criminal prosecution of drunk driving charges. Payment generally comes from the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance.
If needed after a car accident that causes personal injury, you should promptly phone 911 to report the accident to the police and summon emergency medical responders. You should report the accident to your car insurance provider, which will contact the other driver’s insurer if the other party is believed to be at fault.
How insurers will respond to your claim may depend on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries and other losses. As your expenses and losses increase, the likelihood of a full insurance payment decreases. In many cases, an insurer will offer a settlement that is much less than your actual losses or deny the claim altogether.
The best way to ensure that an insurance company does not take advantage of you after you have been seriously injured in a drunk driving accident is to speak to a local car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A drunk driving accident lawyer at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. can investigate who was at fault for the accident and calculate all of your legally payable costs and losses. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer can submit a claim for you, negotiate for appropriate payment, file a lawsuit, and press your case in court.
Contact Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
The lawyers of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. can help you obtain justice after you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in South Texas. We have represented thousands of clients with serious injuries and have a track record of success.
Contact us today at (361) 882-4357 or fill out our online contact form. We have offices in Corpus Christi, Brownsville, McAllen, and San Antonio, TX.