At least one person has died on Texas roads every day due to the fact that Nov. 7, 2000. Despite efforts to “End the Streak,” as the Texas Department of Transportation places it, the nation nonetheless leads the state in site visitors deaths.
Fatalities did fall approximately 2% between 2016 and 2017, however, more than 3, seven hundred people died in 2017.
A slate of payments aimed toward making a dent in visitors deaths have gotten combined consequences on the Texas Legislature this yr.
Statewide Vision Zero Plan
There does seem to be some motion on expanded street safety efforts over at the Texas Transportation Commission.
Last month, the fee heard a presentation from TxDOT’s director of engineering and safety operations that indicated the organization may be shifting closer to an intention of getting no traffic fatalities in Texas by using the year 2050. Austin followed a so-referred to as Vision Zero plan in 2016, with the aim of ending deaths and serious injuries on Austin’s roads by 2025. Other essential towns have adopted similar plans, which intention to address the trouble via higher street layout, better enforcement of existing legal guidelines and education applications.
Washington kingdom changed into the primary to undertake a statewide goal of 0 site visitors deaths in 2000. Since then, extra than 1/2 of states have set a zero-loss of life intention. But Texas has now not.
“I’ve been operating on Texas transportation policy for 15 years,” stated Jay Blazek Crossley, govt director of Farm & City, a nonprofit spearheading an avenue safety marketing campaign called Vision Zero Texas. “I am bowled over and burdened approximately the development we’re making.”
He stated he’s hopeful the commission will adopt a zero-demise intention at its meeting next month.
One proposal that has moved along in the procedure on the Legislature could lessen the default pace limit on neighborhood roads in city areas.
“If you look at simply kids who’re walking and biking, extra children are harm or killed on 30-mile-an-hour streets than another form of the avenue,” stated Blazek Crossley,
House Bill 1287, filed with the aid of nation Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin), would decrease the velocity limit on roads that otherwise don’t have marked pace limits from 30 miles consistent with an hour to twenty-five.
“This is set saving lives, however, it’s also approximately saving cash,” she stated. Right now, if a community wants to decrease the rate limit on their road to below 30 miles in step with hour, the city needs to do a visitors examine. Under this measure, the rate limit in neighborhoods in which there are not any pace restriction signs might automatically be 25 miles according to the hour, without doing traffic have a look at.
The bill, which has bipartisan support, has made it out of committee. It’s nevertheless ready to get on the time table for debate and a vote in the complete House of Representatives.
Statewide Hands-Free Law
Meantime, a regulation that could ban all use of hand-held electronic gadgets while riding has gotten less support within the Legislature.
TxDOT says greater than one hundred,000 crashes concerned distracted riding in 2017 — which killed 444 humans and severely injured 2,889 others.
Senate Bill forty-three, filed by way of state Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), would crack down on distracted driving by using making state law appearance greater like Austin’s hand-loose riding ordinance. Right now, kingdom law outlaws the handiest texting even as driving. You can nonetheless communicate on the cellphone, fiddle along with your GPS, browse the internet or do something else you need to do — as long as you’re not the use of your phone to “read, write or ship an electronic mail.”
Under SB forty-three, all make use of-of an electronic tool while using might be illegal (until you’re the usage of a hands-free tool). Your automobile might have to be stopped outdoor a journey lane so one can legally use your smartphone along with your arms.
But the concept hasn’t even had a committee hearing inside the Senate — the first step to getting passed. A statewide texting ban became exceeded most effective in 2017, so the Legislature’s urge for food for beefing up the law won’t be there quite yet.
Stop For Pedestrians
This thought could make a tweak inside the country law that requires drivers to give pedestrians the proper-of-way. Right now, the law absolutely says a motive force ought to “yield” to a pedestrian in a crosswalk whilst there’s a walk sign or whilst there is no traffic mild.