The Houston-Galveston Area Council Metropolitan Planning Organization has released their 2017 State of Safety report, an analysis of data on car crashes from 2012-2016. The H-GAC report breaks down crashes into a number of categories, with five being identified by the council and the State of Texas as being areas of focus going forward. These focus areas are: impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding-related, bicycle-involved and pedestrian-involved vehicle crashes. Also included in the report is data by county, fatalities, serious injuries and time of day.
Areas of focus for the future
The five focus areas identified by the H-GAC and the state were designated “because of the frequency and/or magnitude of these types of vehicle crashes in terms of fatalities and serious injuries.” The report gives additional tips within these categories to help prevent crashes from happening and identifies trends over the four-year period. Highlights from the report’s focus areas include the following:
- Over half of crashes happen on local streets, with half of those happening between 3 pm & 7 pm.
- 70% of bicycle related crashes involve adults, aged 18-64.
- The number of crashes has slightly increased, from 820 in 2012 to 889 in 2016.
- Tips for cyclists and drivers are included, such as avoiding distractions while cycling and ensuring drivers give cyclists at least 3 feet of space.
- Crashes involving pedestrians are not as common as other focus areas, however, they can be the most severe.
- Annual crashes in the region have increased from 1,625 in 2012 to 1,985 in 2016.
- These accidents accounted for nearly a quarter of all traffic related fatalities in 2016.
- The most dangerous time for pedestrians is around dusk.
- Tips for pedestrians include making eye contact with drivers and ensuring you are able to be seen clearly.
- Crashes related to speeding have increased from 2012-2015, though there was a slight dip in 2016.
- Nearly half of all crashes in this category were on interstates or regional highways, but 20% also occurred on local streets.
- Impaired driving, either under the influence of alcohol or other substances, accounts for only 1% of crashes but 27% of crash fatalities.
- There was a 38% increase in fatalities from 2015-2016.
- H-GAC emphasizes the importance of planning ahead to prevent you or anyone you know from driving while impaired.
- Defined by driver inattention as a factor in a crash, distracted driving increased by 23% from 2012-2016.
- 42% of these crashes involved mobile phone use.
- Texting while driving was banned in a bill passed on September 1, 2017.
Outside the focus areas
The full report breaks down other crash categories, such as young drivers, motorcycle, and work zone accidents. While not identified as focus areas, there are notable trends identified within the report.
- 60% of unrestrained persons involved in crashes were under 21. Despite laws requiring otherwise, 25% of the unrestrained were under 8 years old.
- Motorcycles accidents account for only 2% of crashes but are 25 times more likely to be fatal.
- There has been an increase in crashes involving both young and elderly drivers from 2012-2016, 24% and 28%, respectively.
The report highlights many of the risk factors drivers face when they drive every day. If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident, contact the attorneys at Tracey & Fox today.