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Texas Personal Injury News

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Houston Leads Country as Deadliest Major Metro Area for Crash Fatalities

According to the Houston Chronicle’s analysis of 16 years of federal highway data, Houston is the deadliest major metro area for car crash-related fatalities. Each year, 640 people are killed and 2,850 people are seriously injured. Despite the sheer number of people losing their lives, not much has been done in the way of preventative or increased safety measures. The extent of it is generally just an occasional warning from public safety officers.

Houston Places in Top Half for All Weakness Categories

The Chronicle shows that the region is also leading the country in fatal crashes that involve drugs or alcohol. Out of the 12 largest regions in the country, it is also number two for crashes per capita on federal highways. Out of those 12 regions, only Houston places in the top half in all categories regarding weaknesses.

Contributing Factors Adding to the Risk of Fatalities

Not only do these crashes commonly lead to fatalities, but they also carry other severe consequences, which often go unnoticed by drivers, lawmakers, and taxpayers. There are several factors that have compounded the risk of fatalities:

  • Driver commutes continue to get longer – they are up more than a minute since 2013. The average length of a commute is 29.5 minutes each way.
  • Roads designed for maximum speed, some of which have speed limits of up to 75 mph.
  • Trivial enforcement of traffic laws; Over the last three years, the number of issued speeding tickets have decreased, while the number of drivers and miles driven have continued to rise, and the number of officers has more or less stayed the same.
  • Texting bans are barely enforced
  • Politicians hold a strong opposition to automating the enforcement – things such as speed cameras, and video enforcement of red-light runners have been restricted, while a ban on sobriety checkpoints has been enforced.
  • Roads that allow for pedestrians and cyclists do not provide a safe place for them to walk or ride. Though the city has more than 6,200 miles of roads, there are far, far fewer of them that have sidewalks. Though the count may not be entirely accurate, Houston has fewer than 300 miles of on-street bike lanes.

The lack of consequences with which violators are met only encourages people to continue disregarding driving laws, such as staying off of their phones and paying attention to the road at all times.

Speeding Proves Massive Contributor

One of the largest contributors to these crash-related fatalities is speeding. In Texas, 44 percent of accidents in which the vehicle runs off of the road are in part due to speeding. In distraction-related crashes with fatalities, more than one-third included speeding as a factor. Furthermore, 25 percent of deaths of crashes at intersections include one or more speeding vehicles.

Methods for Reducing Fatalities Met with Roadblocks

Researchers say that there are certainly ways to reduce deaths, but they are not socially or politically acceptable, so they are not executed. The money available goes to widening highways and other large projects, while lawmakers are resistant to allow technology to play a bigger role, citing things such as personal liberty. Regardless of the type of solution, it is clear that something must be done.


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Chandler, Mathis & Zivley, PC has offices located in Houston and Lufkin Texas and serves clients throughout East Texas as well as many other states.
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