Interesting Texas Traffic Stories for September, 2018

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

Texas has a traffic problem, but congestion isn’t it [Opinion] (Houston Chronicle)

Crashes are a much bigger problem for the people of Texas than congestion.

About 10 people die every day in the Texas transportation system — more than in any other state. Unlike congestion, which imposes a small, annoying daily cost on a lot of people, crashes tragically alter the lives of about 60 Texas families every day. Last year 3,721 people died, and 17,546 suffered life-changing incapacitating injuries.

We could do a lot more on safety. Our state and local leaders could clearly prioritize ending traffic deaths, as many cities and states are doing. Sadly, our focus seems stuck on congestion, and crashes receive neither the attention nor the funding required. [Read more…]

Ramp removal to ruin Loop 610, Texas 288 weekend traffic (Houston Chronicle)

Demolishing old ramps at the busy Texas 288 and Loop 610 interchange will lead to major detours — and big-city headaches for motorists — for three of the next four weekends, starting at 9 p.m. Friday.

Only the Labor Day weekend, when many people travel, will be spared the weekend closures of both freeways through the interchange, based on the schedule released by Blueridge Transportation Group, the firm building toll lanes along Texas 288.

As part of the toll lane project, workers are rebuilding the Loop 610 interchange, including new ramps from the freeways. Monday, crews opened the new ramps from eastbound Loop 610 to northbound Texas 288, and from westbound Loop 610 to southbound Texas 288. [Read more…]

Austin Police to Use Drones for Fatal Traffic Crashes (U.S. News)

Austin police are set to begin using drones to help them investigate fatal traffic accidents.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the use of drones will cut down the time officers spend gathering evidence by as much as 80 percent.

Austin police are set to hold several hearings over the next two weeks to inform the public about how the drones will be used.

Police Lt. Blake Johnson says current investigations of fatal traffic accidents can often take up to three hours to complete.

Johnson says drones can cut that time down to 15 minutes. [Read more…]

Why Texas is allowing motorists to drive on the shoulder of this highway (Star-Telegram)

Motorists sick of sitting in traffic on Texas 121 in Bedford will get some relief by 2020, in the form of an unusual traffic fix.

The solution involves allowing motorists to drive on the shoulder of the four-lane Texas 121 in Bedford — a practice that normally would be illegal.

About two miles of Texas 121 between the Texas 121/183 merge and Cheek-Sparger Road/Mid-Cities Boulevard will soon be expanded with an extra lane in each direction, by converting some of the fast-lane shoulder into additional lane space. But the extra lanes — sometimes called “peak hour lanes” — will be open only to traffic during “rush hour” periods of weekday mornings and afternoons. []

Does the color of your car make you more likely to get a speeding ticket? (Star-Telegram)

You’ve probably heard the story.

Don’t buy a red car because that’s the color of vehicle police stop the most for speeding.

Know this, red car lovers: It’s a myth — at least in Texas.

In fact, red cars barely cracked the top five colors of the fastest vehicles pulled over for speeding in Texas, according to a Star-Telegram review of speeding tickets issued by Texas Department of Public safety troopers in 2016. [Read more…]

DPS enforcing Texas left-lane passing law (kiiiTV)

Coastal Bend residents have all been stuck behind a slow drive in the left lane.

It is illegal in the state of Texas to drive on the left when you're not trying to pass someone.

Left-lane passing law was first enforced back in 2013 but is still often ignored by many drivers on the roads - driving slowly in the left lane -which is only meant for passing others.

The law could be enforced on any highway but especially State and U.S.Highways where two lanes go in the same direction as Highway 44 and 77. The law requires drivers on multi highways to only use the left lane for passing. [Read more…]

Intersections with red light cameras ‘likely to be among most dangerous,’ study says (Star-Telegram)

Red light cameras don’t cut down on accidents or make intersections safer, a new study shows.

True, fewer motorists may blow through red lights, cutting down on T-bone type accidents. But the trade-off is that there are more rear-end collisions as drivers slam on their brakes to avoid going into the intersection and are hit by vehicles from behind.

“We find that the cameras changed the (angle) of accidents, but (there is) no evidence of a reduction in total accidents or injuries,” according to a recent report by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio who reviewed Texas traffic data. [Read more…]

Should voters approve any new Texas toll road? One group thinks so (KXAN)

Many Central Texans have pay to drive to and from work on toll roads because lawmakers have not been able to find the money to pay for free highways without raising taxes.

A new proposal from a Texas advocacy group could hold the keys to many road projects, including the overhaul of Interstate 35 in Austin.

There was a plan to overhaul I-35 but it included toll lanes. Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had some pretty strong statements against toll lanes and those plans were shelved. Now lawmakers have to decide what they want to do and how they're going to pay for it. [Read more…]

To pay for trauma centers, state program sinks thousands of Texas drivers into deep debt (Texas Tribune)

On a Friday afternoon in late June, Cassandra Pappas showed up at a municipal building in northeast Austin with hopes she would be able to reclaim a final piece of her life after six years of sobriety.

Pappas, 35, was there for an event called a Driver’s License Recovery Clinic that she had heard about through her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor. A new program run by the City of Austin and the legal advocacy group Texas Fair Defense Project, the clinic is aimed at helping people whose driver’s licenses have been suspended solely because they can’t pay traffic tickets.

“It’s rough because it’s a constant thing in my life that I still haven’t been able to really repair in so many years,” she said. “Everything else I’ve worked really hard at getting in order, and this has just been there, and there’s just no way I can afford this right now. Even though I want to.” [Read more…]

Texas banned texting and driving a year ago. Why won’t we stop doing it? (Star-Telegram)

In Texas, a law banning texting while driving went into effect one year ago, on Sept. 1, 2017.

Since then, law enforcers have been watching for violators — and issuing tickets.

Police ticketed 80 violators in Fort Worth, three in Arlington and one in North Richland Hills, according to data obtained by the Star-Telegram after filing public information requests with those cities. [Read more…]

AAA Texas: Fatal distracted driving crashes up in some major metro areas (Everything Lubbock)

As millions of Texans prepare for end of summer road trips, newly released statistics highlight the rising danger of distracted driving in some Texas counties. In particular, Dallas and Harris Counties experienced year-to-year increases in the number of people killed due to distracted driving crashes, according to 2017 statistics released by the Texas Department of Transportation.

AAA Texas encourages families to have a conversation about the dangers of distracted driving. This is especially crucial for families with young teen drivers, whose risk of being involved in a crash is already increased due to lack of experience behind the wheel. [Read more…]

Texas drivers tied for 5th worst in the country (ABC 13)

Texas has some of the worst drivers in the country. A new study ranks Texas tied for the fifth worst state.

Mississippi took the top spot, followed by Tennessee, California, Missouri and New Mexico. [Read more…]

Rules for school zones every Texas driver should know (Click 2 Houston)

Look out for those bright yellow school zone signs. Drivers are required to follow the speed limit instructions posted on these signs.

Some signs have flashing yellow lights that tell you when the speed limit is in effect, and others have times listed on the sign.

Either way, slow down or expect a ticket.

Maj. Chad Norvell, a spokesman for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies and officers aren’t inclined to show leniency in these zones. [Read more…]

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