In the average year, over 75 Austinites are killed in traffic crashes. For each person who dies, eight more are seriously injured. By designing our streets for safety, and encouraging everyone to make choices that prevent crashes, the City of Austin is working to prevent needless tragedies. We need your help.
In January 2017, the Austin Transportation Department and the Austin Police Department launched a new, coordinated Vision Zero education and enforcement effort called Vision Zero in Action. Read the announcement for more information about the initiative. See below to learn how you can help eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Austin streets.
Four factors contribute to the majority of serious injury and fatal crashes in Austin. While there are many different potential contributing factors, these four make up 54 percent of such crashes. Through coordinated education, targeted enforcement and policy reforms, Austin seeks to promote safe and predictable behavior on the road.
Failure to Yield
Failing to yield includes behaviors such as failing to yield to pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk or turning left across an oncoming vehicle’s path. Failing to yield was reported as a primary contributing factor in 18 percent of serious injury and fatal crashes combined, and in 12 percent of fatal crashes alone. While street design plays a role in promoting safe and predictable behavior, it is still up to individual road users to obey the rules of the road.
Distraction includes driver inattention, distraction in the vehicle, and use of mobile or cellular devices. Distracted driving was recorded as a primary contributing factor in 17 percent of fatal and serious injury crashes combined, and in 13 percent of fatal crashes alone. This behavior is likely substantially underreported because it can be difficult for law enforcement officers to determine whether a driver was using a cell phone at the time of a crash.
Speeding was recorded as the primary contributing factor in 16 percent of fatal and serious injury crashes combined, and in 24 percent of fatal crashes alone. Speeding can dramatically increase the distance needed to safely stop, and it increases the likelihood of serious injury or fatality of a vulnerable user involved in a crash. The faster you’re driving when you hit a person walking, the more likely you are to kill them. Speeding is likely substantially underreported due to the difficulty of determining the actual travel speed of the vehicle after the crash has occurred.
Motorist and motorcyclist intoxication were recorded as the primary contributing factor in 13 percent of fatal and serious injury motor vehicle crashes, and in 18 percent of fatal crashes alone. Nationally, drunk driving crashes kill more than 10,000 people every year. Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or prescription medications severely impairs a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.