Houston’s roads, drivers are country’s most deadly
By Dug Begley and St. John Barned-Smith
Excerpt from 6 part series – Houston Chronicle Out of Control Part 1
Houston car crashes and fatalities
We drive past the crashes, numbed to their frequency, by how they add up. But they do: 640 people a year die on Houston-area roads, and 2,850 more are seriously injured.
The carnage, all factors considered, makes Houston the most deadly major metro area in the nation for drivers, passengers and people in their path, a Houston Chronicle analysis of 16 years of federal highway data reveals.
The death toll is the equivalent of three fully-loaded 737s crashing each year at Houston’s airports, killing all aboard. Losing that many planes and passengers would lead to federal hearings, but the Houston roadway deaths are met largely with silence, other than the occasional warning from public safety officials to drive safely and be careful crossing the street.
The nine-county metro region, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, leads the nation for fatal crashes involving drugs and alcohol, the Chronicle analysis shows. It’s No. 2 for fatal crashes, per capita, on federal highways in the 12 largest regions of the country. The Houston region ranks second for fatal wrecks that involve speeding and also trails only Dallas in crashes blamed on someone slamming into stopped congestion on the freeway.
Each of the 12 biggest areas has weak spots, but only Houston ranks in the top half of major metros in every category examined in the analysis.
AN AVERAGE WEEK: In Houston, 11 fatal wrecks, 12 deaths