TxDOT Amarillo District reports rise in fatality crashes in 2022

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 8:29 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - It’s been over 20 years since a deathless day on Texas roads — and numbers released by TxDOT for 2022 aren’t helping.

In 2021, TxDOT recorded 90 deaths and a year later, in 2022, there was 101.

There are many factors contributing to this growth, however TxDOT says in 2022, the number of drug, alcohol and speeding related fatalities actually went down.

Although speed-related deaths went down in the area, it is still a major cause behind crashes in rural areas.

According to data, the largest increase in the Amarillo district was fatalities in rural areas, being up over 20 percent.

Texas A&M Transportation Institute says deaths on rural non-interstate Texas roadways happen at twice the rate of other roads.

“The severity of the crashes tend to be higher in rural areas and generally that has to do with speeds because people are travelling faster, there are less people on the roadways, so people are able to choose their own speeds more freely than they are in urban areas,” said Robert Wunderlich, director, Center for Transportation, Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Wunderlich also says the lack of availability of emergency services in rural areas doesn’t help.

He also adds in rural areas, seat belt wearing is less frequent, which can many times save your life in a crash.

In the Panhandle, TxDOT says distracted driving was also an increasing factor, as numbers nearly doubled since 2021, but it’s more than just texting and driving.

“It could be putting on makeup, it could be eating, it could be other occupants in your vehicle and just because you’re on a cell phone, using a hands-free device, doesn’t mean you’re free of distractions because your mind is still on that phone call,” said Sonja Gross, public information officer, TxDOT Amarillo District.

Gross also says head-on collisions resulting in a fatality went up over 10 percent, along with intersection crash fatalities also increasing.

TxDOT meets on a regular basis, determining areas where it can approve.

The department does it through the four E’s: Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Emergency responders.

However, it encourages you to do your part in reducing the number of fatalities.

“Be safe, drive smart in 2023, make those great, smart driving decisions every time you get behind the wheel of your car, let’s buckle up, let’s drive to conditions,” said Gross.

Out of the 101 fatalities in 2022, this is how the numbers break down, according to TxDOT:

  • 23.8 percent involved unrestrained occupants
  • 34.7 percent involved DUI-Drugs and Alcohol
  • 24.8 percent were single vehicle run-off the road
  • 11.9 percent involved distracted driving, up from 5.6 percent in 2021
  • 78.2 percent occurred in rural areas, up from 55.6 percent in 2021
  • 22.8 percent occurred at an intersection, up from 17.8 percent in 2021
  • 33.7 percent involved a head-on collision, up from 22.2 percent in 2021
  • 28.7 percent were speed related