Cops

When an insurance-related website released a list of the worst cities in Texas for speeding-related traffic fatalities, the good news locally was Houston was not in the top-five for major cities.

Unfortunately, the list for midsized cities came closer to home, with Baytown ranking in third place.

Baytown Police Department spokesman Lt. Steve Dorris said Baytown had four fatal traffic crashes in 2018 and six so far in 2019 (though speeding was not necessarily a factor)

Of the ones in 2018-2019, the area affected by the construction of Highway 99 is visibly a hot spot for fatal crashes, with Highway 146 being another frequently deadly roadway.

The Baytown Police Department website does not list the number of traffic fatalities, but does report the annual number of vehicle accidents and injuries.

In the five years 2014-2018, the number of accidents was fairly stable with a low of 2,249 in 2018 and a high of 2,649 in 2016. That was up from the 2010-2013 period, which had a range of 1,908-2,003.

Injuries, though, have trended downward, with the 631 reported in 2018 being a notable drop from the previous four years when the counts were 732-798. In the years 1990-2007, the number of injuries never dropped below 850.

In an effort to nudge the number of accidents and fatalities still lower, the Houston-Galveston Area Council recently announced an initiative to tackle the problems of car, bike and pedestrian crashes and fatalities.

Across the region, H-GAC reports there were 762 fatalities and 3,443 serious injuries from motorized and non-motorized crashes, making the region one of the deadliest in the U.S. for drivers.

H-GAC reports that in 2016, impaired driving was the leading cause of motor vehicle crash fatalities, being a factor in 45% of the incidents.

About a quarter—26% —of traffic fatalities in the region were in crashes involving pedestrians or bicycles.

Speeding or aggressive driving was blamed for 30% of the region’s crashes.

Distracted driving was responsible for 10% of the region’s crash fatalities.

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