• October 23, 2014

Automobile fatality rates increasing on roadways

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Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2014 4:30 am

Fatality rates are increasing on Texas roadways, decreasing the chances Texas roads will have another day in the near future without a traffic death.

The last day no one died on Texas roadways was Nov. 7, 2000, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

Before that, the last deathless day was Feb. 28, 1995.

This 13-year streak may be the longest for Texas, where traffic fatality records go back to 1940, according to TxDOT.

Last year during the New Year’s holiday reporting period — from Dec. 28 through Jan. 1, there were 149 driving while intoxicated alcohol-related traffic crashes in Texas, resulting in 16 fatalities and 33 serious injuries.

In an effort to curb this dangerous holiday trend, TxDOT is encouraging people to plan for a sober ride home by visiting soberrides.org.

The three main reasons given for the number of accident deaths are speed, failure to use seat belts and impaired driving, said Sgt. Lonny Haschel of the Department of Public Safety.

The most recent totals are from 2012; accident statistics for 2013 are not yet available.

More accidents involving a driver under the influence of alcohol in 2012 were reported between 2 a.m. and 2:59 a.m. than at any other time of day.

More of the crashes happened on Sunday than any other day of the week.

The deadliest day on record in 2012 was July 22 when 28 people died in traffic accidents.

And that month was also the deadliest month of the year because 309 people died, according to TxDOT statistics.

A total of 3,399 people died on roadways in 2012, and that was an increase of 10.82 percent over the 3,067 deaths in 2011.

Bell County added 51 fatalities in 5,486 crashes in 2012, according to TxDOT information.

Thirteen people died in 13 crashes in Temple, and Belton had three fatalities. Twenty people died in 16 accidents in Killeen.

More than 55 percent of the fatalities occurred in rural areas.

TxDOT reported in 2012 that 16,716 accidents happened in work zone areas and 132 people died in those accidents.

Other data collected by TxDOT for 2012 showed:

One person was killed every two hours and 35 minutes.

One reported crash happened every 75 seconds.

45.4 percent of people killed were not wearing seat belts when the crash happened.

467 motorcyclists and passengers died in 2012 and 52 percent of those who died weren’t wearing helmets.

481 pedestrians died in 2012.

56 pedal cyclists died in 2012.

1,099 people died in accidents where the driver was under the influence of alcohol — 32.3 percent of the total number killed in crashes.

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