Austin’s traffic fatality rate matches the dramatic increase in U.S. traffic deaths
Despite a decline in traffic fatalities in 2016, Austin’s traffic accident death rate has surged in line with new national statistics that show an unprecedented rise in traffic fatalities nationwide.
The Austin American Statesman reported that 102 people were killed in 93 accidents in Austin in 2015, averaging “nearly two traffic deaths a week,” a 62% higher rate than 2014.
In 2016, Austin traffic deaths declined from 102 to 78. But Austin law enforcement remains deeply concerned. The 2016 death rate is high compared to Austin traffic accident death rates from 2014 to 2008, according to KXAN-TV. In 2008, 59 people were killed in Austin in traffic accidents compared to 102 in 2015 and 78 in 2016.
National highway death rates hit 50 year high
In 2014, 32,744 people were killed in U.S. traffic accidents – a 7.2 percent increase in one year and the biggest 12-month jump in half a century. In 2015, 35,092 died on U.S. roads. Each week, that year, 672 people were killed in traffic accidents. In 2016, the bad news continued. According to Time Magazine, National Safety Council (NSC) figures show fatalities jumped “9% in the first half of 2016.” The news is so alarming, that the U.S. government released the 2016 traffic fatality figures three months early in hopes of ending or reducing the carnage.
Looking for causes at the national and local level
At the national level, authorities say cheap gas prices, more Smartphone use, climate change and a bustling economy are causing the high accident rate, according to CNN. In just two years, gas prices have dropped from an average of $4 a gallon to $2 a gallon. The nation’s economy has improved putting more workers on the road. The nation’s weather is warming at an unprecedented level, putting more vehicles on the road during the winter months.
Meanwhile, Austin’s explosive growth has put more cars on the road, increasing its accident rate. Austin grew 13.2% between 2010 and 2014 according to Forbes Magazine, making it “the nation’s superlative economy” with the “highest net in-migration rate of 53 metropolitan areas over the same time span.” Other causes for the increased death rate in Austin include drunk driving, speeding, not wearing seat belts, running red lights and hit and run accidents
Wayne Wright is the answer for victims of Austin’s dramatic death rate
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