Brian White | July 25, 2020 | Personal Injury
The City of Houston wants to lower the number of deaths on city streets, according to reporting by Fox26 Houston. In a statement by David Fields of Vision Zero Houston, approximately two deaths are reported on city streets every three days. That is over 200 deaths each year.
The purpose of Vision Zero Houston is to make the streets in Houston safe and accessible for everyone, including motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Through education, engineering, evaluation, and enforcement, the organization wants to decrease the number of fatalities and injuries caused by car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.
Vision Zero Houston is asking the community for help. From 2014 through 2018, 6,687 fatalities and serious injuries were reported on Houston streets. Vision Zero is asking the community to help it prioritize its efforts by identifying the most dangerous intersections and streets throughout the city.
Residents are asked to use the interactive map on the Vision Zero website to identify areas where residents have traffic safety concerns. Some of the intersections that have already been identified by people who are voicing their concerns about road safety in Houston include:
- South Main at Pressler
- Parts of Gulfton Street
- Multiple areas on Washington Avenue
Vision Zero encourages all Houston residents to mark roads and intersections on the map and describe their concerns. By seeking community input, Vision Zero can better target areas that have high rates of near misses too.
Why Does Houston Have So Many Traffic Accidents?
There are many reasons why a city may have a high traffic rate. During 2019, there were 68,682 reported traffic accidents in Houston. Thousands of people were seriously injured, and 253 fatalities were reported.
Houston has the largest population of any other city in Texas. Therefore, we have more drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists on our roads. We can expect to have a larger number of accidents each year.
However, the number of people using Houston roads is just one factor in the number of traffic accidents reported each year. Road design is another factor, which Vision Zero is working on right now. Safer road designs and intersections, more bicycle lanes, and additional sidewalks can help decrease the risk of accidents throughout the city.
Other factors that contribute to the cause of car accidents include weather conditions, defective automobiles, and road hazards.
Unfortunately, many accidents are caused by driver error. Poor driving behavior accounts for most of the accidents in the city. Driving decisions that might contribute to the cause of a traffic accident include, but are not limited to:
- Drunk driving
- Excessive speed
- Distracted driving
- Road rage or aggressive driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failing to obey traffic laws
Cell phone use while driving is a common cause of distracted driving accidents. However, eating, drinking, grooming, reading, and other distractions can also lead to a car crash. Common traffic offenses that can cause an auto accident include failing to yield the right-of-way, following too closely, exceeding speed limits, running stop signs or traffic lights, and improper lane changes.
What Should You Do After a Traffic Accident?
If you are involved in an accident, call 911 to request assistance. Wait at the accident scene for help to arrive. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene or make a video using your cell phone.
To document injuries for an insurance claim, make sure that you see a physician as soon as possible. Delays in medical care can hurt your chance of recovering full compensation for your accident injuries. It is also wise to avoid making statements to insurance adjusters or signing documents for the insurance company until after you talk to a lawyer.
If another driver caused the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, financial losses, and other damages from that driver. A car accident lawyer can review your case to determine if you have a valid claim. The attorney explains your legal rights and gives you advice about how to increase your chance of recovering maximum compensation for a car accident claim.
How Can You Avoid a Traffic Accident in Houston?
While you might not be able to control what other drivers do, you can control your driving behavior. Some safety tips to avoid traffic accidents include:
- Always remain alert when driving, bicycling, or walking
- Never drive, walk, or ride a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Maintain a safe speed when driving
- Follow all traffic laws related to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
- When approaching an intersection, slow down and look for pedestrians
- Pedestrians and bicyclists should wear brightly colored clothing to increase visibility
- Avoid taking medications that can make you drowsy before driving, walking, or bicycling
- Always wear your seat belt
- Bicyclists should always wear a bicycle helmet and protective pads
For more road safety information, you can visit the TxDOT website.