Counties Where Texas Drivers Have The Highest Risk Of Being Hit By A Drunk Driver
While states and cities nationwide have shifted their focus to prioritize the elimination of distracted driving, drunk driving is still a large problem. Approximately one-third of all Americans will be involved in a crash related to alcohol at some point in their lifetime. In Texas, 2.1% of Texans have self-reported driving after drinking too much in the last 30 days. Furthermore, there were over 500 drunk driving accidents in 2018 statewide.
In an attempt to understand where drunk driving accidents were occurring with the largest frequency, the attorneys at Patterson Law Group analyzed and compiled all of the drunk driving accidents throughout Texas in 2018. The data has revealed the most dangerous counties in Texas for drunk driving.
The heat map below shows where drunk driving accidents occur with the highest frequency in Texas.
The Most Dangerous Counties For DWIs
In order to rank the worst counties for DWIs in Texas, both the number of DWI accidents and the number of DWI-related injuries were taken into account. The worst counties in terms of raw totals are as follows:
|# of DWI Accidents
|# of Injuries
The Least Dangerous Counties For DWIs
No county can have a perfect score, but the counties below are considered the least dangerous counties for DWI accidents in terms of both raw numbers and per capita.
|# of DWI Accidents
|# of Injuries
The interactive map below contains the rank of each county along with the number of DWI injuries and the injury count per 100,000 residents.
Additional Drunk Driving Statistics
In addition to collecting and analyzing state data, the attorneys at Patterson Law Group also distributed a statewide survey to compile more information from Texas drivers. In total, 125 drivers completed the survey. The results are quite startling.
How Much Do Texans Drink?
Close to half of Texas residents (48%) report drinking one to four alcoholic beverages a week. An additional 12% of residents report drinking five to eight alcoholic beverages a week while another 10.4% of residents drink nine to sixteen alcoholic beverages a week. 4% of residents admit to drinking 17 or more alcoholic beverages a week (over 2 beverages a day)! At a population of 28.7 million, that would mean that over 21 million alcoholic beverages are consumed a week in Texas.
How Pervasive Is Drunk Driving In Texas?
23.2% of our respondents admitted to having driven drunk at least once in their lifetime. Of that 23.2%, 34.4% admitted to having done it this year. Keep in mind that this percentage is only those willing to admit on a survey that they’ve performed an illegal act. The percentage of Texas residents that have driven drunk is likely higher.
Driving drunk doesn’t always yield terrible consequences, but when there are consequences, they are severe. Approximately 10.22% of Texas residents have been involved in a drunk driving crash at some point in their lives. 24.14% of Texas drivers who have driven drunk have been charged with a DWI or DUI. Approximately 13.79% of drivers who have driven drunk have served jail time for doing so. On average, drivers with a DWI on their record can expect to pay an extra $569 annually in insurance premiums.
Perhaps more striking than the occurrence rate is the fact that 25.6% of Texans have admitted to knowingly letting an individual they care about drive impaired. If you suspect a friend or family member is impaired, do not let them drive. You are not crossing boundaries by taking away their car keys. You could save their life and the lives of countless others.
The impact of drunk driving extends far beyond the driver as well. Approximately 36.8% of Texas residents have been a passenger in a car with an impaired driver. 16.79% of Texans have had a family member get involved in a drunk driving crash. 21.7% of Texans have had a friend get involved in a drunk driving crash and another 10.22% of Texas residents know a good acquaintance that has been involved in a drunk driving crash. In total, over half of Texas residents (54.4%) have been impacted by drunk driving in some way.
Why Do Texans Drive Drunk?
When asked why drivers decided to drive impaired, the most common reason (30.3% of respondents who have driven drunk) was thinking they were in a condition that was okay to drive. 19.7% of drunk drivers drove impaired because they didn’t have to drive far. 16.67% of impaired drivers thought they would be okay if they just drove carefully. 15.15% thought the route was familiar enough that they wouldn’t be challenged. 4.55% drove drunk because they thought they wouldn’t get caught.
The most frightening response from the survey was the 7.58% of drivers who admitted to driving drunk because they didn’t think they had any other alternative. There is always an alternative to drunk driving. Drivers who have been drinking can call an Uber or Lyft, get a ride from a family member or friend, or appoint a designated driver if they plan ahead.
Is Enough Being Done To Stop Drunk Driving?
In short, probably not. Over half of all Texans (53.6% and 58.4% respectively) believe that the state could do more to prevent drunk driving accidents and there should be stricter punishments for those caught driving drunk. An overwhelming majority of Texas residents (89.6%) would support the use of technology in vehicles that would prevent a driver from operating a vehicle if their BAC was above .08.
Technology is available that could detect a driver’s BAC using infrared light to scan fingertips from the steering wheel or push-button ignition. If BAC is too high, the car won’t start. Two US senators are currently pushing for legislation that would require all new cars manufactured to include this safety feature. If the bill passes in 2020, car manufacturers will be required to implement this technology into their cars by 2024. Until then, reducing drunk driving is a feat left to be performed by all Texas residents. If you plan to drink, plan accordingly and use ride-sharing or appoint a designated driver. If a love one is impaired, do not let them get behind the wheel. If you spot a drunk driver on the road, utilize defensive driving techniques to the best of your ability.
Signs Of An Impaired Driver
Vigilance is the key to accident prevention. If you can spot the signs of a drunk driver out on the road, you can act accordingly to prevent an accident. It is not always easy to tell if a driver is impaired, but the signs below might suggest that a driver is under the influence of alcohol.
- Dramatically swerving
- Straddling more than one lane
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Turning illegally or unexpectedly
- Driving slowly and without confidence
- Drifting into the next lane or toward the breakdown lane
- Not reacting to traffic signals
- Almost hitting another vehicle or pedestrian
- Driving with headlights off at night
- Erratic braking
- Signaling that is inconsistent with driving actions
If a driver is exhibiting any of these signs, defensive driving is your best course of action to prevent a crash.
Using Defensive Driving To Prevent A Drunk Driving Accident
When a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their ability to make logical decisions and appropriately react to situations is greatly impaired. They may behave in erratic or unpredictable ways, which creates a recipe for disaster. If you spot any signs of potential impairment, be prepared to take quick and evasive action.
If a driver appears to be impaired behind you, it’s best to pull over when you have the opportunity to do so and let them pass. If you believe a driver in front or next to you is impaired, slow down to allow plenty of space between you and them.
If you believe a driver is under the influence, it’s best to let law enforcement know by calling 911. If you can get the information, you’ll want to give the police the make, model, and color of the vehicle, along with the license plate. Whatever you do, do not attempt to try to stop the driver yourself or follow them if they are speeding.
If You’ve Been Injured In A Drunk Driving Crash
Unfortunately, even when defensive driving techniques are utilized, drunk driving crashes can still occur. There are many situations where innocent drivers don’t see a drunk driver coming or can’t recognize the signs of impairment until it’s too late. If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving crash, it’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney to understand your legal rights.
The attorneys at Patterson Law Group have helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Texas earn the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys can investigate your accident, help you determine the full value of your claim, and develop a compelling case to ensure you get what is rightfully yours. Contact our lawyers today by calling (817) 784-2000 or filling out a contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.
The Full Texas Drunk Driving Infographic
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