San Antonio roadways saw fewer crashes but more deaths in 2020, study finds

Data analysis also determined the most dangerous intersections in Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO – Studies continue to show a major pattern about 2020 in terms of traffic and vehicle crashes: while the number of incidents declined, the number of deaths and serious injuries actually increased.

Analysis conducted by 1point21 Interactive found crashes declined by 22% in Bexar County, but fatalities increased by 9% over 2019.

Experts say the emptier roads in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic tempted many drivers to speed, leading to more serious crashes.

“Failure to control speed is the number one factor for car crashes in Bexar County,” said Alex Begum with the Villareal and Begum Law Firm. “So the takeaway is even if you’re on an open road follow the speed limit.”

Dangerous Intersections

The study, which was commissioned by the firm, also looked at the most dangerous intersections in the area. The focus was not just the number of crashes, but also the number of fatalities and the amount and severity of injuries. The top of the list was dominated by major highway interchanges, including State Highway 151 and Loop 410, which had the highest number of injuries from crashes at 38.

It was followed by Bandera Road and Loop 1604, Loop 1604 and U.S. 281, Loop 410 and San Pedro Avenue and I-10 and Loop 1604.

The highest ranked traditional intersection was Fredericksburg Road at Wurzbach Road.

Begum said the firm came up with the idea after questions from clients about where the most crashes happen. He said clients also wondered how often road design factors play into the number of crashes on a roadway.

“Crashes are a function of miles driven on a particular road,” Begum said. “The more travelers you have at a particular intersection or particular highway system, by virtue of numbers you’re going to have more accidents in those areas.”

Jose Weissman, a civil engineering professor at UTSA, agreed with Begum. He said road design is done with safety in mind, but can only go so far.

“I’m going to go back to taking responsibility, the responsibility is here is with us [drivers],” Weissman said. “Paying attention or not being distracted, making driving a full-time job, not, you know, where our attention is being split because things can happen very fast.”

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