Houston, TX- Traffic on Katy Freeway was tied up for several hours Monday after two semi-trucks collided on the wet roads, creating a mess for commuters and HazMat crews.
The accident happened just after 5 a.m. when two truck drivers lost control and slammed into concrete barriers on I-10 in the westbound lanes. Police were forced to close all westbound lanes, which snarled traffic for at least four hours, according to KRKT, Houston’s local ABC affiliate.
HazMat crews were dispatched to the scene to clean up a fuel and hydraulic fluids that leaked from one of the trucks.
One of the truck drivers told KRKT that he believed it was chain reaction accident behind him caused by the wet roads.
Amazingly enough no one was injured, but the semi-trucks sustained significant damage. But how often do traffic accidents result in injury or death?
In Texas, a person is injured in a crash every 2 minutes and 29 seconds.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2011 there were 6,764 traffic collisions that resulted in death or injury in Montgomery County. While a small amount of those accidents involved a fatality, 116, the majority involved some degree of personal injury. Statewide, a total of 211,006 people involved in traffic accidents were injured.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a study from 2010 showed that 400 accidents involving large trucks resulted in a fatality in Texas out of a total of 2,998 fatal crashes.
One person is killed every 2 hours and 54 minutes on Texas roads.
Texas fatality rates were higher than the national average. The Texas DOT stated that in 2011, there were 1.28 deaths per million miles driven compare to the national average of 1.15 deaths per million miles driven.
Nationwide, fatal accidents have been steadily decreasing over the past few years, though there was a recent uptick in traffic accidents which insurance experts attributed to the countries improving economy. According to their reasoning, accidents increased because more people were driving because they were finding jobs and had more money to gas up their vehicles.
With so many injuries and deaths occurring, one may question what are the major causes of traffic accidents?
A NHTSA study conducted in 2010 found that the majority of collisions, 80 percent, were caused by driver distraction. We make an average of 200 driving decisions every mile we drive. Any activity that takes your attention away from the road for more than 3 seconds can lead to an accident.
Some common driver distractions include reading behind the wheel, putting on make-up or other grooming, eating, drink and using a cell phone for talking or texting.
One of the most talked about distractions is texting while driving, leading lawmakers in many states to outlaw the use of cell phones while drivers are behind the wheel.
Currently, there are 39 states that ban texting while driving, but no states ban the use of cell phones entirely. Texas is among the state that does not have a texting ban, though several lawmakers have recently introduced legislation to change distracted driving laws.
Another major cause of injurious or fatal collision is intoxicated drivers. For 2011, 570 people were killed and 2,717 people were seriously injured by drunken drivers in Texas.
Other contributing factors include speeding, running red light or stop signs and other types of driver inattention such as falling asleep at the wheel or daydreaming.
Although traffic collisions happen frequently, we can change that by ignoring our cell phones, obeying traffic laws, and by keeping our eyes on the road.

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