Texas Tops Nation in Traffic Deaths

At least one person has died on Texas roads every day since November 7, 2000. Despite efforts to end this streak and a decrease of about 2% between 2016 and 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation notes that Texas still leads the nation in traffic deaths.

However, there seems to be some action on expanded road safety efforts at the Texas Transportation Commission.

  • Last month, the commission heard a presentation from TxDOT’s director of engineering and safety operations that indicated the agency may be moving toward a goal of having no traffic fatalities in Texas by the year 2050. Austin adopted a so-called Vision Zero plan in 2016, with the goal of ending deaths and serious injuries on Austin’s roads by 2025. Other major cities have adopted similar plans, which aim to address the problem through better road design, better enforcement of existing laws and education programs.
  • House Bill 1287, filed by state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, would lower the speed limit on roads that otherwise don’t have marked speed limits [such as neighborhood roads in urban areas] from 30 miles per hour to 25.
  • Under SB 43, all uses of an electronic device while driving would be illegal (unless you’re using a hands-free device). Your vehicle would have to be stopped outside a travel lane for you to legally use your phone with your hands.
  • House Bill 1289 would require drivers to “stop and yield” for pedestrians legally present in a crosswalk.
  • House Bill 4243 would change every instance of “accident” in the Texas Transportation Code to “crash.”

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