Excerpt from 6 part series – Houston Chronicle Out of Control Part 2- Houston is ‘ground zero’ for drunken and drugged driving by St. John Barned-Smith and Dug Begley
Drivers impaired by booze and drugs are dying — and killing — in the Houston area at a startling rate, an epidemic unchecked by police, prosecutors or public-awareness campaigns.
The nine-county region tallied more fatal drunken-driving crashes during the last 16 years than any other major metropolitan area in the country, a Houston Chronicle analysis of federal highway data shows. Drivers and passengers died in more than 3,000 wrecks caused by drunk or drugged drivers, roughly 1,000 more than Los Angeles, which has about twice the population.
Among the 12 largest metro regions in the country, only Dallas/Fort Worth — with 2,425 alcohol- or drug-related fatal crashes over the same time period — even comes close. The top two spots show that the cliché holds: Everything is bigger in Texas, including the body count.
The Houston region has broader trouble on its roads. The nine-county area is the most deadly major metro area in the U.S. for drivers, passengers and people in their path, the Chronicle reported earlier this month.
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