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According to the Texas Transportation Commission, although there’s been a decrease in traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, more drivers are taking advantage of the open road. This reckless behavior has led to an increase in speed-related crash fatalities. 

Between March 12 and May 31, the overall number of car crashes decreased because there were fewer drivers on the road. When compared to crash rates from 2019 within the same time frame, there was an overall 40% decrease. Additionally, the agency reported no increase across the state when it came to crashes caused by high-risk behavior, such as speeding or driving while impaired. In fact, between March 12 to May 30, there was an 11% drop in fatal crashes compared to stats from 2019, with 646 of those crashes killing at least one person.

However, when compared to 2019, speed-related deaths during this time increased. This rise in speed-related car crash deaths is alarming because of the significant decline in traffic statewide.

Traffic-free roads led to drivers wanting to increase their driving speed and increased the number of deaths. Experts say that these trends are seen across many U.S. metro areas.

In the early days of the pandemic shutdown, experts hoped that a decrease of commutes could save lives. Alongside that, based on a review of citations in the Houston area police ticketed far fewer drivers. Between the Houston Police Department, Haris County Sheriff’s and Texas Department of Public Safety, about 7,5000 speed-related citations were issued in February. In April, this number was half the number documented two months earlier, with a combined number of tickets of 3,721 between the three agencies. 

The only number that seemed to increase was the speed of drivers. Between the three largest agencies- the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sherrif’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety- 123 citations were issued to drivers allegedly driving 100 mph or more, seven of them exceeding the speed limit by 50 mph or more. In March and April, the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit went from 171 and 175. This type of behavior is no stranger to thoroughfares and residential streets. 

Carlson Can Help

At The Carlson Law Firm, our car crash attorneys find it important to hold reckless drivers responsible for their negligent actions. As drivers, we must obey the federal and state traffic safety laws to keep others and the road safe. Call The Carlson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation to speak to our legal team today. 


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