Grim Statistics Reflect the Traffic Dangers Lurking on Texas Roadways
With the new traffic data available, KVUE.com reported 2021 was a deadly year on Texas roads, establishing the second-highest number of deaths in state recorded history with more than 4,480 people killed.
This is following an increase in traffic deaths throughout the pandemic. Like the rest of Texas in 2021, Austin set an all-time record for traffic deaths.
Unfortunately, that was not the only record set by Texas residents. KVUE.com also reported April was the deadliest month on Austin’s roads so far in 2022, with nearly half of all traffic deaths involving pedestrians.
Payton Bowyer, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s South Austin, said throughout the city, the largest issue with traffic-related deaths is bike and pedestrian safety.
Texas Vehicle Safety Tips
First, Bowyer said if you are a driver, it is crucial to not have your phone out. Be focused on the road, she said. Rules also apply if you are the pedestrian or a bicyclist. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and look both ways and then right again before you cross.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDOT) shared tips on how all of us can work to save more lives, as state leaders say the record number of deaths reported was preventable.
TxDOT officials say traffic fatalities are on the rise, mostly caused by driver behavior.
“Speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and not wearing a seat belt,” said Laura Lopez, a spokesperson for TxDOT.
Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan notes, in 2021, 1,522 people were killed due to driving at a high rate of speed and 1,219 people died because they were not wearing a seat belt.
“These were decisions made by people that could have potentially saved 2,741 lives,” said Ryan.
Here are three things you can do now to make our roads safer:
- Put down your phone.
- Obey the speed limit.
- Do not drive under the influence.
The increase in deaths across the Lone Star State reflects a deadly trend nationwide. TxDOT says an estimated 20,160 people died in a car crash in the first half of 2021, up 18.4% from the previous year.
Texas Bicycle Safety Tips
Ms. Bowyer has tips for bicyclists, too. “If you’re a cyclist, make sure that you’re wearing a helmet. That can save your life. I know, sometimes we think of them as a hassle, but there’s so many times that we see that people wearing their helmets really is going to save their life. Also making sure you’re checking your brakes and tires, wearing light colors so that drivers can see you.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) echoes Ms. Bowyer’s safety tips, adding:
- Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet.
- Adjust your bicycle to fit.
- Check your equipment before each ride.
- See and be seen by wearing light, bright, or reflective colors.
- Control your bicycle by always keeping one hand on the handlebars.
- Watch for and avoid road hazards.
- Avoid riding at night.
Texas Pedestrian Safety Tips
Last year, the NHTSA reported that 6,516 pedestrians were tragically killed in traffic accidents across the country. As mentioned, on Austin’s roads so far in 2022, nearly half of all traffic deaths involved pedestrians. Most of these deaths could have been prevented, making these catastrophic losses of lives overwhelming realities for families in Austin, across Texas, and throughout the U.S.
To help prevent avoidable pedestrian accidents everywhere, the NHTSA provides the following safety tips for drivers:
- Look out for pedestrians always and everywhere.
- Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing where you cannot see.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street, in school zones, and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up and look for pedestrians.
If you are on foot, there are multiple safety tips that can help you stay safe too, including:
- Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one during any type traffic accident in Texas, call our skilled personal injury attorneys in Austin, TX at Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys at (512) 883-0277 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.
We pursue dedicated, driven results for our clients, and there is never a charge to talk to an attorney. We stand ready to help you.