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Report Shows Dangerous Roads In Austin
Stopping deaths on Austin roadways after a deadly year.
After a 42 percent increase year to year in fatal traffic accidents in 2012, City Council in January directed staff to figure out why these deadly accidents are becoming more and more common and what they need to do to stop them.The 41-page report breaks down 2012’s fatal accidents.
One of the biggest concerns: not only were alcohol and other drugs involved in half of all traffic deaths, already higher than the state average,
but the percentage of impaired drivers involved in those fatalities went up 93 percent over the previous year.
Distracted driving contributed to a third of the fatalities, about the same for speeding, nearly one in five weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
A third of the fatalities involved pedestrians, and one out of every four was crossing a highway. Of those, the report says five out of the six were intoxicated.
About 60 percent of the traffic fatalities happened on regular streets, 15% on I-35, the rest along Mopac, U.S. Highways 183 and 290, and State Highway 71.
The report found over the last 10 years, rush hour is becoming more and more dangerous. The severity of crashes increasing from the commute home.
Deaths and severe injuries peaking between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday being the deadliest days.
City staff concludes in its report that focusing their efforts during that time frame could mean the best chance at cutting those numbers down.
Besides enforcement, engineering changes involving signs, signals, and markings are another option.
Because TxDOT owns the right of way at most of the high crash locations, the city says they’d work with the state agency.
Now that they have this information, the city says the next step is developing an action plan. They’ll give that to Austin City Council by April 15.