TxDOT Tyler District sees increase in deadly crashes, distracted driving fatalities double

TxDOT District Engineer: ‘Fatalities have increased substantially’
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:10 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Numbers from TxDOT’s Tyler District show a substantial increase in fatal crashes from 2020 to 2021. 196 fatalities were reported in 2021, an increase from 168 in 2020.

The preliminary numbers reveal the top five contributing factors in 2021 fatal crashes were:

  • Failed to drive in a single lane – 34%
  • Unsafe speed – 22%
  • Pedestrian failed to yield right of way to vehicle – 18%
  • Wrong side – not passing – 13%
  • Failed to control speed – 12%

“It was quite a spike from the year before,” said Jeff Williford, TxDOT Tyler’s Public Information Officer. “We always say that one death is too many on roadways. So seeing this number, 196, is definitely something to us that we need to do something about.”

The numbers show most of the deadly crashes happened on rural roads, accounting for 82 percent of the district’s fatalities. That’s matched with failure to drive in a single lane and unsafe speed as top factors.

“If you’re driving on these back roads and you’re by yourself, it’s very easy to get out of hand, go too fast, or not pay attention because you’ve got it all under control,” Williford said.

Among the factors seeing a notable increase: distracted driving. The report shows 15 people died in crashes involving distracted driving, which is a 50 percent increase from the year before.

An increase in pedestrian crashes was also noted, with a 30 percent jump seen from 2020 to 2021.

And while there were jumps involving many factors, the numbers also show a dip in crashes involving drivers under the influence. There were 14 fewer DUI fatalities in 2021.

Below are other highlights provided by TxDOT Tyler:

  • Single-vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes resulted in 65 deaths in 2021. These crashes accounted for 33% of all motor vehicle traffic deaths in the Tyler District.
  • About 31 percent of deaths involved unrestrained vehicle passengers. This figure represents crashes where restraint usage was applicable and usage was known
  • 42 people died in head-on crashes
  • 41 people died in crashes occurring in intersections or related to an intersection. This is about 21% of all traffic fatalities in the Tyler District.
  • 35 fatalities were speed-related.
  • 21 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) died in crashes
  • There were two pedal-cyclist fatalities and two work-zone fatalities in 2021.

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