Houston’s Pedestrian Accident Problem
Written by Greg on May 16, 2016
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Houston rounds out the top five in pedestrian accident deaths in United States. Only New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix are ahead of Houston in this category.
Across the United States there are almost 5000 pedestrian deaths each year. One pedestrian is killed every two hours and the trend is upward. There are many reasons for pedestrian accidents and majority happen in major metropolitan areas.
Cities that do not have pedestrian friendly or bike friendly designs or more apt to experience higher levels of pedestrian accidents. Additionally, drunken-driving and distracted driving are a large cause of pedestrian accidents. States that have a higher level of DWIs and those that fail to regulate texting while driving are playing Russian roulette with pedestrians and Texas fits that mold.
Houston also has the issue that there is no master plan and for most of our great city, there is no provision for people traveling on foot or by bicycle. Every week someone is seriously injured or killed when crossing the street. The lack of pedestrian crossings on many streets are also a contributing factor. See the report here:
Texas also favors motorists in legislation dealing with rights and options of pedestrians. Pedestrians generally have a right-of-way inside the crosswalk, in other situations the pedestrian may need to yield to the vehicle. A complete listing of the statutory guidelines for pedestrians can be found here:
Another factor in Houston’s numbers of pedestrian accidents is the inadequate lighting along many streets and highways. Pedestrians also bear responsibility for quite a few accidents in crossing the roadway when it is unsafe.
For whatever reasons, Houston has a major problem with pedestrian accidents and many if not most are fatal. Until our focus shifts to focus on pedestrian safety in the State on city, not much will change.