Traffic fatalities in Texas continue concerning trend

Daily average continues to climb despite Vision Zero efforts

Texas transportation officials say traffic fatalities in the state have climbed to 10.7 a day this week.

SAN ANTONIO – Traffic fatalities climbed to a daily average of 10.7 in Texas this week, according to Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan. It’s a number she finds troubling.

“This is the first time I’ve seen multiple days in one month at 10.7 and continue to climb,” Ryan said at Thursday’s commission meeting. “We’re not heading in the right direction and I say that to bring awareness, not to state that we’re not doing anything to continue to prevent it.”

In 2019, Ryan and her fellow commissioners voted to allocate $600 million to efforts to reduce the number of traffic deaths in the state to zero by 2050.

More than $400 million of that has already been committed to specific Vision Zero projects. Ryan said the rest will be put out for bid soon.

“I have commitment that between this month and next month all of those projects will be let by the end of the fiscal year,” she said. “So we will have them out and we can continue and measure them.”

Experts thought the higher number of traffic deaths in 2020 might have been a fluke, caused by more drivers speeding on emptier roads. The daily average was 9.9 in 2019 and 10.6 in 2020, according to Ryan.

“We don’t have that challenge anymore, and our daily rate continues to climb,” she said. “So I think the bad habits that were created in 2020 continue.”

Experts say the big factors in reducing crashes are controllable by drivers: less speeding, buckling up and no distracted driving.

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About the Author:

Samuel King anchors traffic during GMSA and reports on transportation and mobility issues across the San Antonio region. He joined the KSAT 12 news team in 2020 from KUT in Austin. Samuel was born in Queens, spent time growing up in South Alabama and graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.