Fatal crashes in Austin increase in 2019

This year there have been more fatal crashes in Austin than there have been since 2015. 

Over the last 19 years, there has not been a single day without a traffic death in Texas. 

“The day George W. Bush got elected president is the last time no one was killed on a Texas street,” said Jay Blazek Crossley, director of Vision Zero Texas.  

The numbers for 2019 in Austin aren't encouraging. From January first to October 29th of this year, there have been 70 fatal wrecks. During that same time in 2018, there were 60. 

“What's the value of a life? We're talking about an 18 percent increase this year over last year in terms of fatalities, and we were slowly working it down, and now it's turned around and gone the other way,” public safety commissioner Preston Tyree. 

Several factors can increase the likelihood of a crash turning deadly according to the Austin Transportation Department. That includes speed, mass of the vehicle, velocity, and angle of impact. 

“The biggest thing in Texas is speed and we designed most of our roadways, we've made mistakes for 50 years trying to optimize how fast you can drive from a to b and that was a mistake,” Crossley said.  

Vision Zero Texas, an organization advocating for zero deaths on Texas streets, said an average of ten people are killed in crashes in Texas every day and another 50 suffer life-altering injuries. 

“Every day in Texas, 60 families have their lives completely changed, horribly and unexpectedly, and we have to fix that,” said Crossley.  

Sunday night in East Travis County, Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a crash that took the lives of two men. Two women and a young girl were also injured in the wreck on Colfax Drive near Decker Lake Road.

Around the same time, Round Rock police said a crash on FM 1431 killed three people and injured four others. 

“People dying on our streets isn't acceptable,” Crossley said.