TrafficAccidents_4x1_LEVEL2

Public Safety: Traffic Accidents

In 2003, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began to release annual, cumulative crash statistics for the agency’s 25 geographical districts, with the mission of providing “safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas.” According to their data on crashes and injuries by county, the number of fatal traffic accidents in the Houston region has decreased by about 9 percent from 2003 to 2013. However, the region also witnessed a major spike from 2012 to 2013: according to Jeff Kaufman, the transportation operations coordinator for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, “About every 32 minutes, someone in the Houston-Galveston region is seriously injured in a vehicle crash.” In 2013, he states, more than 16,000 persons were injured and 592 died in traffic crashes, costing the region more than $5.3 billion in damages (Foster, 2014). More below…

According to a recent road rage survey by AutoVantage (an independent research company), the City of Houston’s drivers have been ranked the least courteous in the whole country. These conclusions were based on a survey asking commuters about their experiences with driver behaviors in their area, including speeding, running red lights, tail gating, cutting in and talking on cell phones (Alexander, 2014). In order to address issues of distracted driving, TxDOT began the “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign with the goals of bringing about awareness of the dangers involved with distracted driving and reducing traffic fatalities across the state. According to Dave Nichols, President of AT&T Texas, “In today’s tech-connected age, people are relying on text messages and smartphones to stay in touch, but texting while driving is something that carries profound, very real risks. In the United States, someone is killed or injured once every five minutes on average in a crash that happens while a driver is texting and driving” (TX A&M, 2013).
Sources cited

Robin Foster, “Vehicle crashes cost region $5.3 billion annually,” Your Houston News, March 25, 2014, Retrieved from: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/memorial/news/vehicle-crashes-cost-region-billion-annually/article_5c628908-b3d0-11e3-b20b-0019bb2963f4.html.

Heather Alexander, “Road rage survey finds Houston drivers least courteous in the nation,” The Houston Chronicle, May 12, 2014, Retrieved from: http://www.chron.com/cars/article/Road-rage-survey-finds-Houston-drivers-least-5471258.php.

“As Distracted Driving Becomes an Increasing Threat on Texas Roadways, TxDOT Ramps Up Public Education,” Texas A&M Transportation Institute, April 8, 2013, Retrieved from: http://tti.tamu.edu/2013/04/08/as-distracted-driving-becomes-an-increasing-threat-on-texas-roadways-txdot-ramps-up-public-education/.