As reported by the Houston Chronicle earlier this year, Houston has the deadliest roads and drivers of any major metropolitan area in America. It is no secret that Houston's streets are particularly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Hit-and-run accidents involving pedestrians are significantly more common in Houston than the national average, and we have reported a number of hit-and-run fatalities involving pedestrians in these pages.
Last week, two Florida teens were killed and another was injured when their Tesla Model S vehicle went off the roadway, struck a concrete wall and burst into flames. The single-vehicle crash happened in a residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Both the driver and the front passenger, who was ejected from the vehicle, died at the scene. The rear passenger was also ejected from the vehicle and transported to the hospital following the crash. Although the incident is still under investigation, early reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Tesla indicate that the vehicle's speed, rather than the partial self-driving Autopilot system, was the key factor in the crash. According to Tesla, if the Autopilot system had been engaged, the vehicle's speed would have been limited to 35 mph or less in the residential neighborhood, which is inconsistent with eyewitness statements. Following the crash, the NTSB announced that they were sending four officials to investigate the fire that broke out after the vehicle hit the concrete wall.
On Tuesday, Houston, like most of the South, experienced a winter storm that left ice on roads throughout the area. Area residents were warned to stay off the roads but some, either due to need or due to recklessness, braved the roads anyway. The result was hundreds of wrecks reported on Houston area roads on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has confirmed a fatal car accident involving a train in Iowa Park, Texas. The collision occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m. on Friday, October 13, 2017. The collision occurred near the intersection of West Smith Avenue and Johnson Road. The railroad track crosses Johnson Road approximately 25 yards before the intersection with West Smith Avenue. There are retractable railroad gates near the tracks, but it is unknown at this point whether they were activated as the train approached. There is a residential property located near where the collision occurred, but there is no report yet that there were any witnesses. Iowa Park Police and Fire, Wichita County Sheriff's Deputies, Department of Public Safety Troopers, and railroad officials were all called to the scene to investigate. The driver was reportedly operating a Dodge SUV. Unfortunately, the driver of the vehicle has perished.
Earlier this week, three separate accidents involving Houston-area school buses were reported. The first accident occurred on Monday when an Alvin ISD school bus rear-ended a vehicle stopped at a red light at the intersection of State Highway 6 and County Road 99 in Brazoria County, resulting in two fatalities. No students were on board the bus at the time of the accident. The second accident occurred on Tuesday on Highway 288 at Southmore near the Medical Center. Two vehicles reportedly ran into the back of a Houston ISD school bus, causing the bus to leave the roadway. The school bus driver suffered was transported to the hospital, but is expected to make a full recovery. Houston ISD confirmed that there were no students on the bus at the time of the accident. The third accident involving a Crosby ISD school bus occurred on Wednesday. According to Crosby ISD officials, 15 students were on the bus at the time of the accident, but no injuries were reported.
Once again, tragedy strikes on our local roadways. And, once again, alcohol is suspected.
Last Friday evening, a speeding white Dodge Durango caused a deadly 3-car pile-up at a toll booth stand on the Sam Houston Tollway. Video surveillance shows a brown Buick sedan waiting in line to pay the toll fare at the drive-up toll booth stand moments before impact. Unfortunately, as a result of the violent collision, it was determined that the driver of the Buick sedan was killed when the driver of the Durango smashed into the back of the Buick, forcing the Buick into a trailer attached to the truck ahead of it.
This past weekend, two fatal crashes claimed the lives of two women, and intoxication is suspected in both.
A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has shown an increase in fatal car accidents, emphasizing the number of accidents related to sleep deprivation observed from about 4,571 crashes. A staggering 21 percent of all crashes involve at least one driver without the recommended 7 hours of sleep. About 35 percent of people get less than 7 hours of sleep, with each hour less contributing to the raised likelihood of a crash. For example, the study showed that there was a spike of 11.5 percent for anyone who had gotten less than 4 hours of sleep. It is speculated that about 4 hours of sleep or less is equivalent to a blood alcohol content level of about .12-.15. The legal driving limit is .08.
Houston's Dangerous Intersections