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Does infrastructure influence fatal motor vehicle accident rates?

Car crashes happen for a multitude of reasons, but they are nearly always an upsetting event for those who experience them. For the families who lose a loved one to a motor vehicle accident, the reasons may seem insignificant compared to the sadness they feel. However, researchers who work to prevent these collisions find the data about causes of car accidents to be of the utmost importance.

The state of Texas has high fatal crash rates, which might be understandable due to the population. However, some areas of the state have higher crash rates than some may expect. Dallas, for instance, has the fifth-highest number of fatal traffic accidents when looking at the rates for the largest 25 U.S. cities. Experts say that this is partly due to the city's long-overdue needed infrastructure enhancements.

The findings of the NHTSA

This issue came to light earlier this year when the Dallas City Council heard statistics from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. It found that half the serious vehicle accidents that happen in Dallas occur on only 8% of streets in the city. It seems that certain roadways are a factor in fatal crashes.

The NHTSA also reported that, per 100,000 people, 14.47 people died in these fatal collisions in 2017, the most recent year for data. That means that two people died each week due to a fatal car accident. What's also interesting is that nearby Fort Worth ranked sixth-highest for fatal collisions right behind Dallas.

The Vision Zero program

Due to these numbers, the Dallas City Council decided to promote Vision Zero, a nonprofit program that aims to make streets safer in order to eliminate traffic fatalities. Vision Zero representatives suggest several physical improvements to streets such as altering their design, improving lane markings, increasing visible signage and installing new lighting. They also want to focus on educating the public and encouraging police to step up its efforts in enforcing traffic laws. A new task force is set to coordinate these improvements with multiple city departments.

Planned improvements

The city of Dallas estimates that it has $2 billion worth of needed street improvements. Fortunately, those improvements are already underway in certain areas. One street is getting wider sidewalks and enhancements to parking. Many motorists think these advancements are long overdue as they feel that road conditions are placing unnecessary wear on vehicles. However, they appreciate that the city is now going to do something to make the roads safer.

Only time will tell whether these roadway safety improvements will help reduce fatal crashes. However, if you lose a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you need to know that infrastructure isn't the only reason for a collision. Other drivers can easily causer fatal accidents, and you have several options for holding a driver considered at fault accountable for his or her actions.

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