The current stay-at-home orders throughout Texas along with social distancing and remote working efforts have had a surprisingly positive side effect: fewer car accidents.
Since Governor Greg Abbott announced a stay-at-home order earlier this month, Texas auto accidents declined by almost 70%. With fewer people going to work or taking trips, it’s clear that the stay-at-home orders due to the Coronavirus are having an effect on accidents in Texas.
Texas Auto Accident Statistics During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In March 2020, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 42,358 accidents in Texas. After Harris County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, and Bexar County announced stay-at-home orders for their residences, Governor Greg Abbott released a video on April 1st asking all Texans to stay at home “except to provide essential services or do essential things like going to the grocery store.” The mandate went into effect on April 2nd just after midnight.
After the stay-at-home mandate, accidents in Texas declined significantly. Between April 1st and April 10th, the Texas Department of Transportation only reported 3,554 car accidents. To put that in perspective, the 20 days leading up to the mandate saw more than 24,000 crashes.
Texas car crash deaths also plummeted after the statewide mandate. In the same 20 day period before the mandate, there were 148 auto accident deaths reported in Texas. So far, only 10 deaths have occurred on Texas roads after the stay-at-home order.
Stay-at-Home Orders Aren’t the Only Reason Texas Auto Accidents Have Declined
While it’s safe to say that isolation orders from the state contributed significantly towards the reduction of car accidents in Texas the past month, it’s not the only factor causing reduced traffic.
For example, the Houston Independent School District, which is one of the largest in the state, is on spring break right now. This usually results in annual drops in traffic volume.
In addition, fewer people are using public transportation like buses and trains, but the overall ridership during March was comparable to other years during spring break. According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, ridership dropped by 15.2% on March 13th. However, park and ride use declined an additional 15% compared to previous years during spring break as the county and state tightened travel restrictions.
On April 6th, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Houston, the Metropolitan Transit Authority split buses in half using netting so people may spread out and avoid close contact. That same day, Metro announced that there was a significant 60% decline in bus and light rail usage compared to April 6, 2019.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit also took a hit in annual ridership due to stay-at-home orders for the city. On March 30th, DART released a statement saying that despite the reduction in ridership due to COVID-19, they will continue to offer modified routes for first responders or people who need to make essential trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, etc.
With stay-at-home orders in place, Dallas has seen a drastic decrease in auto accidents. In the past 10 days, the Texas Department of Transportation reported only 197 crashes in Dallas, a nearly 65% drop from the week before.
Here in El Paso, accidents were reduced by almost half over a two week period and by 80% compared to last year. Between April 1st and April 10th this year, El Paso only had 100 crashes. In 2019, car crashes in El Paso topped out at 508, more than five times the amount of accidents during the coronavirus pandemic.
While traffic may return to normal conditions as people adjust to commuting times, it’s clear that the coronavirus, for better or for worse, has had a significant impact on Texas auto accidents. As more people look towards delivery services or public transportation, we may see further reductions in crashes until cities, counties, and the state begin to loosen travel restrictions.
Have Questions About a Car Accident Claim? We’re Happy to Offer Virtual Consultations During This Time
At Flores, Tawney, & Acosta, P.C., we are here to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic and understand the importance of reducing contact and travel to keep others safe.
If you have any questions regarding a car accident claim, we are offering free consultations through virtual conferencing. Contact our experienced Texas car accident attorneys or call us at 915-308-1000 to get started with a free case review.