Interesting Texas Traffic Stories for November, 2018
Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting Texas drivers from the past month.
AAA Texas: Gas prices fall again despite market concerns and geopolitical tensions (Everything Lubbock)
The statewide gas price average in Texas is $2.56 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. That price is seven cents less than this day last week and is 33 cents more per gallon compared to this day last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in Midland are paying the most on average at $3.04 while drivers in Sherman-Denison are paying the least at $2.40 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.83, which is four cents less than this day last week and 37 cents more than the price per gallon at this same time last year.
Reduced refinery operations, due to peak maintenance season, have contributed to stable gasoline inventories amid lower demand, which is a contributing factor driving gas prices down. Gas prices have also dropped despite some market uncertainty looking ahead to possible geopolitical issues, specifically the Iranian sanctions expected to take effect in November. [Read more…]
After a limousine crash killed 20 people Saturday in upstate New York, authorities are saying that the vehicle never should have been on the road and that the driver wasn’t properly licensed.
The crash came three years after a deadly stretch-limo crash raised calls in New York to better ensure passengers’ safety in stretch limos. But it remains unclear whether any action was ever taken.
What does the state of Texas, or officials in cities, do to prevent homecoming and wedding tragedies?
Here are eight facts about limousine safety in Texas. [Read more…]
In 2015, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg penned a heart-wrenching post about mourning the loss of her husband, who died during a vacation from accidental blunt force trauma. In the piece, she described her grief and her frustration about the events immediately following his accident:
“Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.”
It’s a simple directive: move out of the way—for the sake of the patient, the emergency response crew and every driver’s own safety.
What does this ambulance etiquette entail? What, specifically, should drivers do when flashing lights and sirens are racing toward them?
“When you see an ambulance or any emergency vehicle approach you from behind, you should yield over to the right side of the street and come to a complete stop until the vehicle passes,” explained David E. Persse, M.D., physician director for the City of Houston’s Emergency Medical Services. [Read more…]
“DPS urges all motorists to make the safety of our schoolchildren a top priority year round, and to practice safe driving habits when traveling near school buses, in school zones and wherever children are present,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Drivers who disregard the law needlessly put children in danger, and that type of reckless behavior will not be tolerated by law enforcement.”
According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 43,000 school buses transport approximately 1.6 million Texas children every school day.
“A strong public education system starts with assuring our students safely travel to and from school,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. “The Texas Education Agency joins with the Texas Department of Public Safety, local law enforcement and staff members at public schools across our state in this shared commitment to keep our students safe during National School Bus Safety Week and throughout the school year.” [Read more…]
A new report shows female drivers in Texas with perfect driving records often pay on average more than male drivers with the identical driving history. That’s according to a new report released by Texas Appleseed.
Researchers from the organization analyzed online premium quotes from Allstate, Farmers Insurance, Geico, Progressive and State Farm across eight different cities: Amarillo, Arlington, Dallas, Houston, Laredo, Mission, San Antonio and Tyler.
“The average across all different marital statuses for women was about $56 more,” Ann Baddour, director of the Fair Financial Services Project at Texas Appleseed, said.
Texas Appleseed used a 40-year-old consumer profile, who was single, a cashier with a private employer, rented an apartment and owned a 2007 Toyota Camry. Both the male and female profiles tested were quoted for the most basic level of insurance needed to comply with Texas law. The only factors that varied were marital status and gender.
In one finding, four of the five companies showed different rates for married and widowed female drivers. Texas Appleseed says Geigo and Progressive charge female drivers whose spouse is deceased higher premiums than if their spouse was still alive. Married female drivers were given quotes that decreased after becoming a widow from Allstate and Farmers Insurance. [Read more…]
‘Keep your hands visible’: Texas teens can’t graduate until they watch this video about police (Washington Post)
In the aftermath of several fatal police shootings of unarmed citizens, Texas lawmakers sought to pacify tensions between law enforcement and civilians. The state legislature brought civil rights groups and law enforcement organizations together to develop a solution: the Community Safety Education Act, which was signed into law last year.
The bill requires any student entering ninth grade in the 2018-2019 academic year and thereafter to participate in a class and watch a video instruction on how to interact properly with officers during traffic stops. Without a notation of attendance on their transcripts, seniors cannot receive diplomas.
State Sen. Royce West (D) led the charge, also requiring instruction for law enforcement officers and those joining the force, as well as students in driver-training and defensive-driving courses. [Read more…]
As the battle over red-light cameras heads to the Texas Supreme Court next week, the CBS 11 I-Team found hundreds of red-light cameras across North Texas maybe operating illegally.
Nearly half of the North Texas cities with red-light cameras did not do an engineering study before installing their cameras as required by state law.
Senate Bill 1119, passed in 2007, required cities to conduct an engineering study to justify the cameras’ use.
Lawmakers wanted to make sure red-light cameras were installed for safety reasons and not as a revenue generator.
City managers and police chiefs told the I-Team they did not have to do an engineering study because they were grandfathered into law. [Read more…]
Houston is Number One.
And, aggravatingly enough, Number Two.
Two Houston spots are tops in the state for traffic, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s annual list of most congested roads in Texas.
Loop 610 from Interstate 10 to Interstate 69 through Uptown is the worst — again — with 1.6 million wasted hours in traffic per mile.
Next is I-69 from Loop 610 to Texas 288, meaning the two worst spots in Texas abut each other in one of the densest areas in the metro region.
It’s the first time since 2012 that a metro area held the top two spots on the list, which has been conducted since 2010.
It also is no surprise, researchers say. Five of the 10 most congested spots on the 2018 list in Texas are in the Houston area, and 12 of the top 20. 
Auto insurance rates in Texas increased—on average—a moderate 1% across the 12 largest car insurance companies in the state. However, some companies did register significant rate changes, the most notable being the 8% decrease from the State Farm group and the 9% increase from the Nationwide Corporation.
The size of rate increases was much lower this year compared to the previous two years, which averaged 9% year-over-year in rate hikes. Most of the rate hikes among the largest carriers were often in the double digit percentages in the two previous years. These coincided with some of the highest loss ratios—which represent the claims insurers pay out as a percentage of the premiums they receive—of about 81% in 2016-2017 vs. 69% from 2013-2015. [Read more…]
Have people received texting-while-driving tickets in North Texas? Curious Texas investigates (Dallas News)
Joe Sulc, 63, said he’s been more aware of his surroundings — especially while driving in Dallas — since retiring earlier this year. This is why the North Dallas resident said he’s been shocked by the number of drivers he’s caught texting while on the road.
“You sometimes notice someone using their phone when they’re going much slower than anyone else,” he said. “That creates a hazard because everyone is going faster and trying to get around them.”
He said he has also noticed many of these drivers try to hide their phones under their steering wheel or on their lap, which leads them to look down rather than focus solely on the road. Sulc thinks drivers are doing this because they’re fearful they’ll be ticketed by police now that Texas has a statewide ban on texting while driving.
That’s why he asked Curious Texas: Since the statewide law went into effect, how many tickets have been written for violations? [Read more…]