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Deadly Speed-Related Accidents Spiked During Texas Coronavirus Lockdown

Texas Saw More Deadly Speed-Related Crashes During Coronavirus Lockdown | Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer

When Texas shut down earlier this year to slow transmission of the novel coronavirus, officials thought the state might finally break its 19-year streak of at least one roadway death every day.
But sadly, the much-hoped-for silver lining never materialized. In fact, fatal motor vehicle accidents caused by speed, impaired driving, and other risky behaviors actually increased during the lockdown, even as overall traffic volume and the total number of highway crashes declined.

646 Fatal Texas Crashes Linked to Speeding and Distracted Driving During COVID Shutdown

According to a Houston Chronicle analysis of data from the Texas Department of Transportation, the total number of motor vehicle crashes fell statewide by more than 40% between March 12th – when thousands of Texans began working at home – and May 31st.
Unfortunately, the decline was not as pronounced for accidents caused by speeding, impaired driving, and other risky behaviors, with Texas recording 646 such crashes that killed at least one person during the same period.
The state has logged 155 deadly speed-related crashes since January, an increase from 2019.

While fatal traffic accidents were down nearly 20% across the eight-county Houston Metro Region between March 12th and May 31st, the number of deadly crashes linked to speed rose 13% compared to the same period in 2019.
Trends were similar nationwide, as drivers across the country took advantage of almost empty roads to speed, weave in and out traffic, and indulge in other dangerous behaviors.
“Even without traffic, our roads were no safer,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, in a statement. “It is heartbreaking to see the carnage on our roadways continue, especially when our medical professionals should be able to focus intently on treating a pandemic rather than preventable car crashes.”

Houston Police Wrote Fewer Speeding Tickets During Shutdown

While speeding was obviously a problem during the lockdown, law enforcement in the Houston Metro Region actually ticketed far fewer drivers compared to the same period last year.
In February, the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety issued nearly 7,500 speed-related citations. But in April, the three agencies combined for just 3,721 tickets, less than half the number written during February. March and April also saw significant declines.
In February, the three departments issued 123 tickets to drivers allegedly traveling over 100 mph, including seven clocked driving more than 50 mph above the posted speed limit. The number of excessive speeders cited in March and April jumped to 171 and 175, respectively. Forty-six of those cited were traveling more than 50 mph above the speed limit, including a vehicle crossing the Fred Hartman Bridge at 116 mph.
According to Sgt. Stephen Woodard, a spokesman for the Houston-area office of Texas DPS, reduced traffic and lax enforcement likely encouraged speeding across the Metro Region.
“When the cat is away, the mice will play,” he told the Chronicle, noting that troopers will often opt to warn speeding motorists rather than issue tickets. “Drivers will take advantage of that, which leads to bad things.”

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