Interesting Texas Traffic Stories for February, 2019

Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting Texas drivers from the past month.

Report says Texas traffic related deaths drop for first time since 2010 (News4 San Antonio)

According to preliminary data released from the Insurance Council of Texas the number of traffic related deaths dropped for the first time since 2010.

According to the Insurance Council traffic fatalities had risen 34% since 2010. So why the drop? Well depending on who you ask there are two possible explanations for this.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding continue to be the leading causes of fatal traffic crashes. But according to the Insurance Council of Texas, one reason for the drop his year may be the state law that went into effect in September of 2017 banning texting while driving.

According to the Insurance Council report distracted driving is a nationwide problem with more than 3,400 fatalities in 2016.The report claims in 2016 drivers holding phones to their ears while driving dropped from 3.8 to 3.3 percent and drivers visibly manipulating their phones dropped from 2.2 to 2.1 percent in 2016. [Read more…]

Central Texas traffic authority trying to get its own employees off the road (CBS Austin)

The organization in charge of improving traffic in Central Texas is trying to get its own employees off the road.

"We calculated that about 200,000 miles a year are just by our 28 employees," said the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority's depute executive director Jeff Dailey.

Wednesday, the CTRMA board approved flexible work schedules and work from home policies for the authority's employees and its contract engineers. "Number one it will help the region, improve the mobility of the region for everybody, taking cars off the road during peak time," Dailey said.

The CTRMA joins other organizations that already have similar policies in place, like Travis County, which formally implemented telework and flexible work schedules about two years ago. "I know within my department within HR, we have about 20 percent of our employees that are teleworking," said the county's HR director Tracey Calloway. "It's a win-win for both. For our environment, for our employees and then for the county and its business needs," Calloway said. [Read more…]

Worried by traffic, student safety at this Texas school? This plan could ease your fears (Star-Telegram)

Getting to and from school can be hectic enough. Add in a little danger and, well, something needs to change.

So the Northwest School District has entered into an inter-local agreement to build a new on-ramp for U.S. 287 near Eaton High School in northwest Tarrant County.

“This project — a partnership between Tarrant County, NWISD, the city of Fort Worth and TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) — will enhance safety, improve mobility, and help to accommodate the new campus,” said Michael Peters, Public Information Officer from TxDOT’s Fort Worth District.

This $1 million project will extend the U.S. 287 frontage road, provide a temporary ramp location, and convert the two-way frontage road to one-way to accommodate the Eaton High School campus at Blue Mound Road West. The project is expected to be finished in the spring, Peters said. [Read more…]

Can cardboard cops get drivers to slow down? One Texas county thinks they can (Star-Telegram)

It looks almost silly as you get up close to it.

But one Texas county is betting that drivers won’t be able to tell the difference between their newest deputy, who stands perfectly still at all times, clenching his radar gun firmly, and the real McCoy.

That’s because Williamson County’s newest deputy only exists in two dimensions. This deputy lacks a brain, a heart and a central nervous system.

Some Austin television stations have taken to calling him the “decoy deputy.” He’s not the genuine article. [Read more…]

TxDOT set to begin $8 million roadway improvement project on U.S. 287 in Donley County (ABC7)

The Texas Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin an $8 million project to make roadway improvements on U.S. 287 in the towns of Hedley and Clarendon beginning on Friday.

“The project will make needed improvements to the pavement structure, make drainage and lighting improvements, and is expected to enhance the overall safety of the roadway,” said Matt Herbstritt, P.E, TxDOT Childress Area Engineer overseeing the project. “The contractor will begin placing signs and barricades in the work zone on Friday, Feb. 1, and will begin construction on a temporary detour that will shift traffic to the north side of the highway through Hedley.”

Once the detour is constructed, drivers will see traffic reduced to one lane in each direction through the town of Hedley for the first phase of the project as prime contractor J. Lee Milligan Inc., of Amarillo, begins work to rebuild the roadway that will feature a concrete pavement surface.

Work to rebuild a small segment of U.S. 287 in Clarendon will also take place simultaneously with the work in Hedley. Lane closures and traffic shifts are planned during construction. [Read more…]

Driving In Texas Among Best In America (

In the movies, driving seems like a dream. There's rarely heavy congestion — unless the main character is supposed to get stuck in traffic to move the plot along — and gas tanks seemingly never have to be refilled. But this is the real world, and like it or not, driving in some places is more of a chore than a stress-reliever, regardless of what set of wheels are moving you.

Texas ranks 5th in America when it comes to getting behind the wheel. That's according to a new report out Tuesday from the folks at the personal finance website WalletHub. The researchers compared every state based on 30 measurements across four categories: cost of ownership and maintenance, traffic and infrastructure, safety, and access to vehicles and maintenance. Some individual measurements received higher weights than others. This includes average gas prices, auto-maintenance costs, share of rush-hour traffic congestion and average commute time by car.

Here's how Texas ranks in each category… [Read more…]

Unimaginable death notifications a daily reality on Texas roads (Victoria Advocate)

Eva Lopez, 56, was approaching her driveway last Halloween when she received a worrisome call from her then-future daughter-in-law.

Valerie Rojas told her that her fiancé, the youngest of Lopez’s four children, never showed up to take their son trick-or-treating and she had tracked his phone to Farm-to-Market Road 237.

An uneasy feeling immediately overcame Lopez.

She had been stuck in traffic for more than an hour behind a car crash on Farm-to-Market Road 237 near Ohrt Road earlier that night.

“I knew for a fact that – I don’t know why – my heart was just telling me that it was him,” she said.

Lopez drove back to the scene as calmly as possible. The ground was still wet and puddled from an earlier downpour when she got out of her car about 9:50 p.m. [Read more…]

More Sunday letters: Get outta the passing lane! (Houston Chronicle)

Regarding “Regional police agencies join forces in campaign against unsafe drivers” (Front page, Sunday): The article on unsafe driving was on the mark. Most of the article was about the crackdowns on drunk and erratic driving which is necessary. However, another glaring problem not often recognized is slow drivers in the left lane. This practice, which I believe creates the No. 1 one reason for road rage, also accounts for traffic jams and slowdowns.

Driving in the far-left lane also seems to be where people go to text or talk on the cell phone which adds to the danger, as now they are also distracted.

Impeding the flow of traffic in Texas by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.When will laws against this highly unsafe practice start getting enforced? [Read more…]

New taskforce targets unsafe drivers on Houston roads (Houston Chronicle)

Mohammad Amad pulled the first truck over at 10:16 p.m. Thursday, a red pickup with a defective headlamp.

Amad, a member of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s DWI task force, spoke briefly with the driver, then waved him on his way. No scent of alcohol.

“He’s just getting off work,” Amad said, tapping a few notes on his computer before heading back into the hunt.

Lights from patrol cars illuminated Texas 249 like a string of Christmas decorations as deputies and police worked similar traffic stops Thursday and Friday night.

This marked the first operation of a local task force created in response to last year’s Houston Chronicle investigation, “Out of Control,” which found that the Houston region is home to the nation’s most dangerous roads. More than 600 motorists, passengers and pedestrians die every year in traffic collisions often caused by drivers who are speeding, driving while intoxicated or distracted and often on poorly designed roads. [Read more…]

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