The city of Austin, Texas has experienced a record number of monthly traffic fatalities so far in January. Eleven people have already been killed in traffic accidents this year, nearly three times the number of fatalities which occurred during the same timeframe in 2019.
Despite many recent road safety initiatives—including the adoption of Vision Zero, an international effort to eliminate all traffic fatalities, in 2015—Austin is seeing a similar rise in traffic deaths that is trending in many other large cities around the nation. In fact, 2019 was a record year in road fatalities and injuries in many metropolitan areas, including New York City, Portland, and Austin.
Our Texas personal injury attorneys details the main causes of traffic fatalities in US cities and the steps Austin is taking to reduce road-related deaths in 2020.
The Main Causes of Traffic Deaths in Cities
Urban areas such as Austin and New York City are the most dangerous places for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians simply due to the sheer volume of individuals and vehicles attempting to share the road. The more densely populated and active a city is, the higher the chances of an accident.
There’s more to it than mere volume, however. Reckless behavior on the part of anyone using the road is a major contributing factor of traffic deaths in the United States.
The most common causes of traffic accidents and fatalities in urban areas are:
- Reckless driving, namely speeding
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Driver fatigue
- Drunk driving
- Road defects
- Construction hazards
As you can, most the above are tied directly to driver error, a serious epidemic. A global status report on road safety done by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 explains that the United States’ traffic fatality rate is about 50 percent higher than similar nations in Western Europe, plus Canada, Australia and Japan. Traffic deaths are now the leading cause of death globally for those between the ages of 5 and 29.
Austin’s Next Steps
Speeding is the leading cause of traffic deaths in the United States and Austin. To counter this, the city began development of a new Speed Management Program in 2019. Combined with Vision Zero, there is hope that the situation will begin to improve, despite the recent setbacks. However, it is going to take a combined effort to reduce traffic fatalities in Texas. Always drive carefully and defensively and be aware of cyclists and pedestrians, especially in crowded urban areas.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with an attorney if you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident. Our Texas accident lawyers can help you on your road to recovery. Contact us online to schedule your free consultation.