Using data from TxDOT, the Houston-Galveston Area Council zeroed in on crashes in the eight-county Houston region. What they found was a sharp increase. Between 2012 and 2016, crashes were up by 40%. Fatalities rose by 20%.
As for what's causing the crashes, researchers say speeding is one of the major contributors, with speed-related crashes up 30% in 2016 alone.
The H-GAC's Eulois Cleckley said distracted driving is also a big factor. Of the over 18,000 distracted driving crashes in the region in 2016, 42% were caused by mobile phone use.
Cleckley said that's now a big focus of their educational campaigns.
"We're trying to educate folks in a couple of high-priority safety-risk areas, risk factors, that we've identified about ways you can travel safety and not put yourself in harm's way," said Cleckley.
The study also shows that impaired driving is still a big problem around Houston. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of drunk-driving fatalities rose 38%. To try to stem those high numbers, H-GAC has been providing financial help to local police departments so they can conduct enhanced enforcement during the holidays.
Click above to hear our interview with Cleckley where he discusses the study in-depth.
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