Earlier this month, The Houston Chronicle published an investigation that mapped all 601,187 fatal roadway accidents in the country from 2001 through 2016. It found more vehicle-related fatalities in Houston than any other city. Dallas trailed at No. 2. We lead the country in fatalities involving speeding or traffic backups as well as those that happen on interstates. We also have the most pedestrians killed on freeways. Dallas ranks in the nation’s top three for alcohol and drug-involved deaths, truck-involved fatalities, and road rage fatalities.
The Chronicle took all the data and compared deaths per capita based on population for each year. For speeding, Dallas counted 1.57 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people, the most in the U.S. It pins a lot of the problem on a lack of policing. “Drivers likely speed, at least in part, because they believe no one with authority is paying attention,” reads the report.
Pulling municipal court records, the newspaper found that Dallas police officers issued 13 percent fewer tickets in 2017 than in 2015. Only 62 of the department’s 3,000 or so officers work the traffic beat. Of those 62, 18 were devoted to enforcement, about half of what it had it in 2015.
But there’s something another interesting fold here, which probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Most of the crashes are happening outside of the densest portions of the city; they’re generally on freeways afterhours. From the report:
Of 956 fatal crashes in Harris County and surrounding counties involving speeding during the past eight years, only 43 were inside Loop 610, the densest part of Houston, according to state crash records. Most of those were on either Interstate 45 or Interstate 69 during late-night hours.