The Sad State of Traffic Safety

A feature article at the major local daily newspaper in Houston tackles traffic safety and puts the onus on engineers, police, and politicians to come to terms with the destruction they've wrought.

September 10, 2018, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Texas Highways

TBaker770 / Shutterstock

A big, feature article by Dug Begley and St. John Barned-Smith for the Houston Chronicle examines the danger on the roads of the most populous city in Texas, with findings from the Houston Chronicle's own analysis of statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"We drive past the crashes, numbed to their frequency, by how they add up. But they do: 640 people a year die on Houston-area roads, and 2,850 more are seriously injured," writes Begley and Barned-Smith. "The carnage, all factors considered, makes Houston the most deadly major metro area in the nation for drivers, passengers and people in their path…"

After providing several additional types of data to further the point about the lack of safety on Houston's roads, the article digs into the contributing factors to traffic fatalities (no victim blaming here, but also no discussion of distracted driving), naming longer commutes, poor road design, paltry enforcement, lack of political will, and a lack of space for other, safer modes. Also, the article endeavors to do what society fails to do every day: put a human face to the tragedy of traffic fatalities.

The article also includes infographics, and is supplemented by a story map that visualizes the death toll of an average week—11 fatal crashes and 12 deaths. Traffic fatalities occur pretty much everywhere around the city, according to the article, but also more frequently at specific intersections.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 in Houston Chronicle

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