Here in Texas, we like to think of ourselves as different than the rest of the country. But here’s a statistic that sets the Lone Star State apart in a way that nobody will be proud of: nearly one out of every four people killed in an auto accident in the U.S. caused by a drowsy driver died in Texas.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2010 to 2018, fatigued driving was responsible for 7,392 fatalities nationwide. Of those tragic deaths, 1,734 occurred on a highway or interstate in Texas. In other words, more than 23 percent of all deaths due to an overly tired motorist happened here. That’s by far the largest share of drowsy driving deaths of any state.

Also, 21.6 percent of deadly crashes caused by fatigue happened on a Texas roadway, putting us first in that grim category Nob. California, the only state with a larger population, was a distant second with 5.5 percent.

The numbers are better outside of Texas

Nationwide, the numbers have been trending in the right direction. Between 2010 and 2018, fatal drowsy driving wrecks dropped nine percent, and deaths fell eight percent.

But sleepy drivers are still a huge problem for Texas. Fatigued driving does not get as much media attention as drunk driving or distracted driving, but it can be even deadlier as far as car accidents are concerned. Drowsy driving causes more deaths per crash than drinking and driving.

Sleepy driving is negligence

Just like drinking and driving, sleepy driving is a choice. Everyone has a sleepless night from time to time. But depriving yourself of sleep for several days in a row has a serious effect on your ability to concentrate, react to the world around you, and make necessary decisions. Drivers need all of these skills at their best to avoid causing a serious auto accident. No family should lose a loved one because a stranger fell asleep at the wheel.