Texas Speeding Statistics
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With more than 313,000 miles of public road and over 683,000 total lane miles—both of which lead the nation—Texas is second to none when it comes to road infrastructure.
Even though Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have underrated public transportation systems, due to the sheer size of Texas, and all those miles of road, most Texans in these cities still own cars. The typical Texan drives more than the national average of 14,000 miles per year. They also have more speed-related crashes than the national average—a lot more.
The following statistics help to put into perspective Texas’ speeding problem:
- In 2020, Texas had an estimated 1,446 speed-related fatalities, according to federal crash data. That was the most in the nation. Texas led the nation in speed-related fatalities in 2019 as well, with 1,116.
- Thirty-seven percent of Texas roadway fatalities were attributed to speed in 2020, federal data shows. In 2019, 31% of Texas road fatalities were speed-related.
- There were more than 27,000 total speed involved crashes across Texas in 2020, resulting in roughly 900 fatalities and 2,100 serious injuries, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation.
- Bexar County has close to 2,000 speeding crashes per year; Dallas County has around 3,200; and Harris County averages 1,800.
- Roughly half of Texans admit to speeding in low speed zones (30 mph limit) and high speed zones (70 mph limit), a TxDOT study shows.
- Speeding appears to be more prevalent in East Texas compared to other parts of the state.
Speeding enforcement, along with enforcement of distracted driving, impaired driving, and drowsy driving, is an era of emphasis for reducing Texas traffic crashes.
Types of Speeding
Speeding isn’t just an absolute measure, but also a relative measure. Going above the posted limit is speeding, but so is driving too fast for the conditions. The same road that is safe to drive 45 mph on when dry may no longer be safe at that speed if conditions change. Conditions that can require slowing down, regardless of the posted speed limit, include:
- Wet, snowy, icy, or slushy roads
- Reduced visibility/fog
- Construction zones
- Driving at night in a poorly lit area
- Uneven roads
- Curvy roads
- Dirt/gravel/muddy roads
- Heavy traffic
- Roads with a large number of animal crossings
Data from the National Safety Council confirms that speed is more likely to contribute to a fatal accident when the roads are in a condition other than dry.
Why Speeding Is So Dangerous
The relationship between speed and crash involvement is multivariable. While speed is unequivocally dangerous, speed alone doesn’t always predict an accident. In addition to speed, factors like road conditions, road type, driver age, impairment level, and road characteristics (i.e. grade, curvature, and width) affect speed-related crash involvement.
Speed, however, can make a crash more likely for several reasons. At higher speeds, the following happens:
- There’s greater potential for loss of vehicle control
- Restraint systems are less effective
- The vehicle takes longer to come to a stop
- The higher the speed, the greater the physical forces involved and the greater the odds of serious injuries
It’s not speed itself that kills and injures, but the forces that come into play at speed. The link between speed and injury severity can be understood in terms of velocity change. An object at higher speeds requires greater force to come to rest. At the moment of a crash, speed thus becomes a force multiplier.
The impact force of a head-on collision at 75 mph is six times greater than the same collision at 30 mph. When those forces are applied to the human body, the result is often serious injury.
Proving Speeding as an Accident Cause
There are plenty of excuses for speeding. Running late. Making up for traffic congestion. It was just a few miles per hour over the limit. Everybody speeds, what’s the big deal?
But speeding isn’t always a victimless crime. Thousands of Texans die as a result of speeding each year. When faced with a speeding driver, do your best to get out of their way and give them space. They’re a danger to everyone on the road.
Speed is one of the top factors that investigators look for in a crash. The police might issue a citation for speeding at the accident scene. Witnesses, dash cameras, and traffic cameras can also reveal a speeding driver.
Even without these pieces of evidence, accident reconstruction experts can tell if a driver was speeding by skid marks, vehicle damage, and other physical crash evidence. Attorneys often work with these experts to help determine the exact cause of an accident. Speeders can make excuses, but the physics don’t lie.