Every day for over nineteen years, there has been a death on Texas roads. More specifically, November 7, 2000 marks the last recorded day without a roadway fatality.
The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) has set a lofty goal of eliminating all deaths on Texas roads by 2050, with a benchmark goal of reducing the number of fatalities in half by 2035. TTC has approved an additional $600 million in funding for improving road conditions, including widening cycling lanes, adding more pedestrian crosswalks, and upgrading guardrails.
Everything’s Bigger in Texas
Second only to Florida in terms of road accidents and fatalities on the road, several factors play a part in Texas ranking among the worst states in the nation for roadway safety.
With wide-open spaces, major commercial ports, and large cities, Texans do a lot of driving. With hundreds of miles of rural, unmaintained roads, drivers are at a greater risk for accidents involving loss of control, failure to maintain speed, and other unforeseen factors such as wildlife. Additionally, a large number of massive commercial vehicles tend to command most roads and highways.
Making Roads Safer for Cyclists and Pedestrians
It’s no surprise Texans love to drive, but many Texas cities are not pedestrian-friendly (for now at least.) This leaves pedestrians and cyclists with few options but to bear narrow or no bike lanes and crosswalks. While more and more people are exploring transportation options outside of traditional driving, pedestrian and cyclist deaths have increased by 40% in Texas since 2009.
Our highways and roads are dominated by trucks, SUVs, and 18-Wheelers. Larger vehicles like these pose the greatest threat to pedestrians and cyclists due to their sheer size and impaired visibility. A report released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) found light trucks (SUVs, pickups, and vans) accounted for 328 cyclist deaths resulting from single-vehicle crashes. The TTC hopes its major planned upgrades for cyclists and pedestrians will eradicate these issues.
Unfortunately, road conditions can be improved and educational awareness campaigns can be run, but without appropriate consequences, the death toll will continue to climb.
The Houston Chronicle found in a review of municipal court records that within the first six months of a new city ordinance requiring cars to maintain three feet of space from cyclists and pedestrians and trucks to maintain six feet of space, no citations were issued. So, laws can be adopted, but they mean little without enforcement. Hit and run accidents play a large factor in this statistic, leaving injured cyclists and pedestrians to fend for themselves.
Texas Personal Injury Attorneys
You have a limited time to file a claim in the state of Texas if you or a loved one was injured or killed in a car accident. It is important to have the right representation to deal with other parties and their insurance companies. Contact Craft Law Firm today for a free and confidential consultation.