The Federal Highway Administration requires local officials in Texas to establish yearly projections of traffic fatalities and injuries and submit them to TxDOT. The purpose of annual targets is for states to achieve fewer deaths or injuries than those estimated.
Texas set its 2020 goal of no more than 728 traffic fatalities and 3,293 serious injuries for the Houston area. That's an increase from the state's goal of 699 in 2019. These numbers show that Texas isn't making much improvement. In 2019, the region did not meet its goal. Approximately 704 people were killed in traffic collisions in the greater Houston area, including 431 deaths in Harris County and 39 in Galveston County.
Is Texas seeing any improvement?
As we previously discussed, there hasn't been a single day where someone wasn't killed on Texas roads in nearly 20 years. Approximately 3,642 traffic fatalities occurred across Texas during 2018 — down from the previous two years. More than half of those deaths occurred in urban areas.
While deaths involving motorists have declined in recent years, pedestrians and bicyclists are the most at risk. Texas is home to some of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for pedestrians and bicyclists, according to smartcitiesdive.com.
Experts believe that poorly designed and crumbling roadway infrastructure contributes to pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. According to a Smart Growth America report, this leaves pedestrians and bicyclists with no choice but to navigate through traffic or be crowded on sidewalks and bike lanes. Residents of low-income communities are especially at risk, since infrastructure in these areas is often neglected.
Moreover, much of Texas's infrastructure accommodates cars but leaves pedestrians and bicyclists to fend for themselves.
How can state lawmakers reduce serious and fatal crashes?
Texas transportation officials recently adopted the Vision Zero goal of eliminating fatal crashes across the state by 2050. A change in driving culture and infrastructure may be necessary to accomplish this.
“This is probably one of the most deadly situations we have in the state, and it’s one of the most controllable situations we have in the state. Ninety percent of the deaths that we’ve had over the 19 years are preventable,” said Texas Transportation Commission member Laura Ryan.
Human error is the cause of most serious and fatal crashes in Texas. We hear about road users seriously hurt or killed by drunk drivers, distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, and speeders each day.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood has been investigating crashes and helping injured people pursue justice for more than 15 years. We serve clients in Alvin, Houston, and Galveston. Contact us online to find out how we can help maximize your compensation.