Deaths on Houston’s roadways are increasing, regardless of statewide pledges and concentrated efforts to prevent fatalities. To account for this rise, a federal assessment raised its “goal” for roadway deaths in the area from 699 to 728.
Houston officials are upset by this statistic, explaining that no number of traffic fatalities is acceptable. Jeff Weatherford, the deputy director of Houston Public Works, stated:
“It is not OK for 699 people to die.”
According to Weatherford, the whole system of setting death goals is flawed and implies that some fatalities are acceptable.
Acknowledging a Painful Reality
Calculating these “goals,” however, is done using accident and injury statistics from the past 5 years, and the numbers account for the “anticipated growth of driving in the region,” as well.
As safety planning professional, Stephan Gage, puts it:
“The whole purpose of this is to make you uncomfortable. [The goal] should make your stomach turn a little bit…but calling it something else isn’t going to change [the reality of the situation].”
While Gage’s words and a “goal” of 728 deaths are upsetting, both the statement and the statistic offer a window into reality.
Harris County and surrounding areas saw at least 651 traffic fatalities last year, as revealed by annual TxDOT crash reports. With more cars anticipated on the road in 2020, these deaths are expected to rise.
Virtually All Crashes Are Preventable
More than anything, officials’ objection to the fatality goal is semantic. Along with the Texas Department of Transportation, Houston-area lawmakers have pledged to end roadway fatalities entirely. Although this is a lofty goal, transportation official Jonathon Brooks points out the following:
“No one should die on Houston’s streets, especially in a preventable crash – virtually all crashes are preventable.”
Local law enforcement is cracking down on drunk driving and targeting crash-prone areas in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities. State and local government officials have pledged to redesign roadways and enhance safety for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike.
In Houston and throughout Texas, the goal is to eliminate roadway deaths. This is why officials are upset by a federal “goal” to see 728 deaths or less in the area in 2020. While statistics are important in improving the safety of Texas roadways, the way we speak can also make an impact.
Compassionate Care in Your Time of Need
On average, 10 people die on the road each day in Texas. Each person has a story and leaves behind loved ones and a trail of grief. Like state officials, our team at Farah Law understands the human cost of car accidents. We also acknowledge that most accidents are preventable and caused by another person’s carelessness.
If you have lost someone you love to a fatal motor vehicle collision, we can help you hold the negligent party accountable and cope with the financial consequences their loss leaves behind.
For compassionate legal assistance, call us at (888) 481-9359 and schedule a free case evaluation today.