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European, Asian roads safer than Austin’s

Austin drivers may think they are pretty safe motoring around in the amazing city where they live, but they’d be wrong. A traffic death study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 19 countries with high incomes like the U.S., found American roads are the most dangerous.  The CDC studied death rates between 2000 and 2013in the countries and the U.S.

If the United States had the same traffic death rate as Sweden, 24,000 people wouldn’t have been killed on American roads in 2013. Spain is another stand out.  It had the highest rate of improvement in its death toll at 75%.  Even Slovenia reduced its traffic death rate by 39%.

Yet, The New York Times reported in February 2017, that the jump in the U.S. traffic death rate in 2015 and 2016 was “the largest” in more than half a century.  More than 40,000 victims died on U.S. roads in 2016 – a record – according to The National Safety Council.

The death toll on U. S. roads is still rising. A CNN report in January 2017, calls the carnage “a crisis” with “no sign of letting up.”  According to NPR, vehicles of all kinds – cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs – put “a record 3.22 trillion miles on the nation’s roads last year” an increase of 2.8 percent from 3.1 trillion miles in 2015.  More traffic creates more accidents.

Causes of the rise in the death rate on American roads

Safety experts say the increase in traffic nationwide is due in part to the nation’s improving economy. Other major causes for the dramatic rise in the death toll on American roads include speeding, drunk driving, running red lights, lack of seat belt use and distracted driving, according to The Insurance Information Institute.

Texas traffic death rate surging too

Austin is in the middle of a state with one of the highest traffic death rates in the United States. Texas’ last death free day was November 7, 2000.  Austin’s incredible growth rate has added cars to its roads, upping its accident rate.  The city grew 13.2% between 2010 and 2014, the “highest net in-migration rate of 53 metropolitan areas over the same time span,” according to Forbes Magazine,

TxDOT reported 189 deaths in the Austin-Round Rock Statistical Metropolitan Area in 2014.  In 2016, that number jumped to 244.  Austin law enforcement officials say the main causes for the increased death rate are speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving and the surge in population.

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