There are many reasons to love the city of Houston. As thriving metropolis’ go, the cost of living isn’t too bad, Tex-Mex is great, and there is plenty of food, shopping, and culture to enjoy. The traffic though? Not so much. And while congestion may be an issue, safety is a major one as well; in fact, Houston is known as one of the most dangerous places to drive. Rear-endings, head-on collisions, sides swipes, and every other combination of auto crash is far too common to Houston.
With a metropolitan area that spans nine counties, recent statistics show Houston as leading in fatalities where driving under the influence played a significant role. It is also second in the US for car crash fatalities, along with those involving speeding.
Infrastructure experts see a major part of the problem as complacency, despite the continued number of public safety campaigns ongoing around the country. Experts are concerned about fatalities, as well as the number of injuries caused daily.
"The (fatality) count, it's up there," said Jeff Weatherford, deputy director of Houston Public Works. "But the public is not paying attention."
Driver issues play a large part in the alarming number of car crashes in Houston too (as well as in the rest of the US), with distracted drivers at the top of the list, losing track of what they are doing as texts and calls are incoming, and outgoing. Speeding and driving under the influence are still classic issues, along with a growing number of stressed-out or exhausted drivers who may be commuting while they can barely keep their eyes open. Other issues are related to infrastructure that may not be designed or constructed properly.
There may be more accidents where areas are not illuminated properly, or at all, and especially in rural areas. Greater numbers of commuters may add to congestion and accidents—and as larger numbers of environmentally concerned and fitness-oriented travelers take to their bicycles, there may be more incidents due to a lack of bike lanes or bike paths, putting these more vulnerable ‘drivers’ directly into the flow of traffic, which may extremely heavy and dangerous at times.