The pandemic caused people to drive less last year. Roads were almost empty for months due to lockdowns, virtual work and school, and home deliveries. So a new report showing that 2020 was one of the worst years for fatal car accidents came as a shock to safety officials.
According to the National Safety Council
This is crazy. How could this possibly have happened?
Since streets were relatively empty, reckless drivers took advantage of the situation and became Lewis Hamilton-wannabes (his Formula 1 race car is pictured above). Reports of cars going 100 miles per hour and more on interstate highways were common and street racing was rampant.
Even before the coronavirus caused people to limit driving, the top cause of a car accident in Texas was speeding. Almost 50,000 crashes and 30% of fatal car accidents were due to driving too fast in 2019.
Kudos to the Fort Worth Star Telegram for bringing this urgent topic to our attention.
Obviously the faster that vehicles go, the inevitability of serious injuries and deaths increases. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, if speeds merely increase by 10%, say from 50 to 55 mph, the chance of fatal car accidents can increase by 50%.
Other dangerous behavior that increased last year included the usual culprits:
These go hand in hand with speeding.
This problem just keeps getting worse. Texas is booming. Thousands of people move here every day, making our roads even more crowded. So we build more highways which encourages more people to move here. We have more car wrecks. It’s a vicious cycle.
Almost everyone drives by themselves, often in giant trucks and SUVs, which makes crashes even more deadly. Public transportation is almost nonexistent. It’s a vicious cycle with no end in sight. But no one wants to have to drive on LA-like highways.
The Safety Council said that the bad driving behavior on our highways continues without any end in sight due to “the huge increase in risk-taking behavior.”
So what are our state officials doing to solve this life-or-death problem?
Unfortunately, very little is being done to curb this epidemic. Day in and day out, drivers keep crashing into each other.
Incredibly, the Texas Legislature which is meeting in Austin may pass House Bill 19 and its companion Senate Bill 17. This draconian new law is the insurance company and trucking industry’s wildest dream. It will make it far easier for bad truck drivers and their companies to escape or minimize liability and payment of damages to those they injure or the families of those they kill. This bill is outrageous and must be opposed.
The National Safety Council has written an admirable Road to Zero deaths program. And the Texas Department of Transportation has been ordered to eliminate fatal car accidents by the year 2050 in a similar program called Vision Zero. But there are no penalties of this lofty goal is not met.
Fort Worth adopted this program in late 2019. We were one of the first cities in Texas to adopt Vision Zero. Every city must do this to try to curtail this massive problem.
Both the federal and state governments proclaim that we must take badly needed safety measures actions immediately. But there are no bills in front of the Texas Legislature that will
If you or a family member have been involved in a car wreck, we are here to answer your questions and guide you through what is usually a difficult process.
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