Recently, a local task force was formed in response to a 2017 article in the Houston Chronicle which found that Houston is home to the nation's most dangerous roads. According to the article, more than 600 motorists, passengers, and pedestrians are killed every year in traffic collisions. The majority of these fatal accidents involved driver inattention, driving while intoxicated, and speeding. The Chronicle's investigation found that a lack of a comprehensive strategy to address the issue may be partly to blame. In response, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez called for the formation of a regional task force to better patrol roads. The task force was designed to crack down on traffic violations and unsafe driving practices, with the goal of promoting safe driving and reducing the number of serious motor vehicle accidents that occur on Houston area roads each year.
Earlier this month, a California appeals court held that Apple Inc. was not liable for a fatal automobile accident involving a driver who was using the FaceTime application on his iPhone at the time of the crash. The accident occurred on December 24, 2014 on Interstate 35W in Denton County, Texas. Bethany and James Modisette along with their two daughters were stopped on the highway due to police activity when Garret Wilhelm crashed into the Modisette's vehicle at a high rate of speed. Wilhelm reportedly told police that he was using the FaceTime application on his Apple iPhone 6 Plus at the time of the collision. The entire Modisette family sustained injuries and one of the daughters, aged five, subsequently died in the hospital.
In 2017, Gabriela Torga, then 23 years old, was driving just after 5:00 in the morning when she veered from the left lane to the right shoulder. She overcorrected, slid counter-clockwise, hit the median and then slammed into a tree. She did not survive the crash. No one can definitively say whether Ms. Torga's cell phone was connected to the crash, but police say when the accident occurred, her phone was on and open to SnapChat and she was driving 55 mph in a 45 zone.
Pedestrian fatalities have risen 46 percent since 2009 while overall traffic fatalities are up only 11 percent. Many experts agree that distraction is a factor in pedestrian crashes and that combating both distracted driving and walking would help reduce the number of incidents, injuries, and deaths.
On Saturday, June 2, 2018, a man was attempting to find parking in a crowded parking lot in Northwest Houston. As the man pulled a U-Turn in the Bear Creek Islamic Center parking lot, he inadvertently ran over a child. It appears as though the child was sitting in the parking lot just outside the playground area.
When it came to the number of vehicle related fatalities in the United States, there was a slight improvement in the year 2017. However, 2017 was the second year in a row in which there were 40,000 or more fatalities on our roads. This staggering number is highlighting the fact that additional measures must still be implemented to keep our roads as safe as possible. It is well known that automotive manufacturers have done their part to keep passengers safe, introducing advanced safety features that drivers of the past could've only dreamt of. These features include collision warning systems, multiple airbags, and blind spot monitoring. With these improvements within the automobiles that we use, we should surely see a drastic improvement in the number of roadway fatalities, right? Well as mentioned previously, that is simply not the case.
On December 19, 2017, around 5:45 a.m. all westbound main lanes of the 610 North Loop between I-45 and Airline were shut down after two early morning crashes involving five vehicles. One of those crashes, left one person dead.