The Department of Transportation has released statistics about driving while intoxicated. In the Houston area, there was an increase from the year 2016 to 2017 in wrecks involving motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated. Thankfully, there was a decline in Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, and Montgomery counties. Nevertheless, the data remain alarming.
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On January 10, 2018, a street racing crash killed two children and severely injured a woman in Cedar Park, Texas. The two drivers held responsible-21-year-old Blake Kirkpatrick and 18-year-old Hayden Hammer-were drag racing on the westbound lanes of West Whitestone Boulevard prior to crashing into the unfortunate family. Police said the two children, 1-year-old Daniel Chaudhary and 8-year-old Elijah Chaudhary, were pronounced dead on the scene. The biological mother to Daniel and stepmother to Elijah, Zara Salman, was severely injured and left with a life-altering brain injury. The collision occurred between a black 2008 Dodge Ram truck driven by Hammer and a 2016 Nissan Rogue driven by Salman.
In 2016, there were 3,400 fatal crashes on Texas highways and 175,000 injury accidents.
Texting has been the contributing factor to far too many wrecks all over the country, and Texas is no different. In 2008 alone, 5,000 deaths were attributed to texting while driving, while in the year 2013 94,000 accidents were caused by distraction-related actions, many of which could be linked to texting. While these numbers are high, HPD's Traffic Liaison Don Egdorf claims these numbers are underreported. While steps have been taken, such as Austin's "Hands Free Ordinance" which can cost violators up to $500, Houston has had a hands-off stance on the issue aside from phone use in school zones. Former Governor Rick Perry was at the forefront of this position, claiming the government had no place mandating how adults chose to drive, unless they drove too recklessly or parked where they shouldn't.