In November, we brought your attention to an Austin American Statesman article that discussed how traffic deaths in Austin in 2014 were down for the year. Unfortunately, today, the Statesman published this article that discusses the different trend already in 2015. According to Sgt. Jeff Slater, an Austin Police Officer who is in charge of traffic homicides, indicated that since 2000, there are an average of 50 traffic deaths per year. This year, there are already seven deaths.
Sgt. Slater blamed most traffic related deaths on distracted driving, alcohol, and speeding. Austin’s new law that went into effect January 1 prohibits drivers from using their phone while driving, as we discussed here. The article points out that authorities also use “no-refusal campaigns in which drivers suspected of being intoxicated must submit to sobriety tests.”
Perhaps an additional cause for this year’s relatively high number of fatal accidents in January is the weather. Austin has had 10 days of heavier than average rainfall split among three lengthy storms. We all know that Austin traffic is bad on a beautiful day and terrible on a bad weather day.
If we ever need reminders to drive safely, this is a good one.