Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released fatal traffic crash data collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for calendar year 2016. According to NHTSA, there were 37,461 people killed in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2016, an increase from 35,485 in 2015. The number of vehicle miles traveled on U.S. roads in 2016 increased by 2.2 percent, resulting in a 2.6 percent increase in fatalities from 2015. NHTSA found that distracted driving and drowsy driving fatalities declined, while fatalities related to other reckless behaviors such as speeding, alcohol impairment, and failure to wear a seatbelt increased from the previous year. Fatal traffic crashes increased from 2015 to 2016 in almost all segments of the population including passenger vehicle occupants, occupants of large trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, alcohol-impaired driving, and time of day (daytime/nighttime).
Two families are in mourning after a collision in Montgomery County in February that claimed the lives of Jenny Runnels and Lloyd Nelms.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 83,000 accidents every year related to driver fatigue. This annual average includes an estimated 886 fatal crashes, 37,000 injury crashes, and 45,000 property damage only crashes. NHTSA recognizes that these numbers are conservative estimates due to the fact that drowsy driving can only be self-reported and not measured like intoxication. Also, drowsiness is not reported when it is caused by other factors such as excessive alcohol consumption or taking medication. Although driver fatigue can cause an accident at any time during the day or night, NHTSA estimates that forty-eight percent of drowsy-driving related accidents occur between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The majority of these accidents involve a single vehicle, with no passengers other than the driver, running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking. Accidents related to driver fatigue also frequently occur on rural roads and highways.
A collision involving an 18-wheeler and an SUV occurred on February 19, 2017. This wreck ultimately took the life of the driver of the SUV. Due to the severity of the damage, it was not until two days later that the driver's body from the SUV was identified to be that of 20-year-old Alexander Jones. Mr. Jones was a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and held the position of Command Sergeant Major for the Combined Aggie Band. He was also going to be the Commander for the Combined Aggie Band for 2018.
Just last week we wrote about the results of a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Study that reported how too many people, especially Texans, were driving drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel.
Anywhere from three to thirty-three percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents that happen each year are connected to drowsy drivers. And, according to the results of a study completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers in Texas are more likely than drivers in any other state to fall asleep while driving.
Forty-five years of marriage ended when a distracted, fatigued semi-truck driver took his eyes off the road and drove his 18-wheeler into the back of a Hyundai.