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Lawmakers Introduce Bills that Target Annual Traffic Fatality Rates

Last April, the Texas Department of Transportation released a report analyzing specific “crash facts” from 2017. According to their research, at least one Texan is killed in a traffic collision every 2 hours and 21 minutes. Sadly – but unsurprisingly, our state consistently leads the nation in having the highest number of traffic fatalities each year – in 2017, that number surpassed 3,700 accident victims.

To toss away this terrible crown, lawmakers and members of the Texas Department of Transportation have been working together to enact new legislation and develop awareness campaigns that target negligent, distracted, and intoxicated drivers.

Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation’s director of engineering and safety operations announced the agency’s goal of having zero traffic fatalities in Texas by the year 2050. Part of their strategy involves Austin’s Vision Zero plan, which aims to address the epidemic by improving roads, enforcing laws, and developing education programs. However, the Vision Zero plan, like many other awareness campaigns, is ultimately failing to gain traction in our communities.

Fortunately, lawmakers are aggressively pushing new bills that can help make the streets safer for all motorists in Texas:

  • House Bill 1287, which was filed by state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, will reduce the default speed limit in neighborhoods and urban areas down to 25 miles per hour. This bill is currently waiting to get on the agenda for a vote in the full House of Representatives.
  • House Bill 1289 was also proposed by state Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin. This bill would require a driver to “stop and yield,” and not just “yield,” for a pedestrian that is legally present in a crosswalk. While the proposal isn’t suffering open opposition, it remains stalled until a committee hearing can be scheduled.
  • Senate Bill 43 was recently filed by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. If passed, this bill will ban the use of all handheld electronic devices while driving. Currently, only texting while driving is illegal in Texas. All other dangerous cell phone habits are technically legal unless you’re reading, writing, or sending an electronic message.
  • House Bill 4243 is the most interesting bill on this list. If approved, it will change every instance of “accident” in the Texas Transportation Code to “crash,” solidifying the notion that collisions are fixable problems, not tragic coincidences.

Injured by a Negligent Driver? Schedule a Consultation Today

Contact the Austin car accident lawyer at The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC if you’ve been injured by the actions and choices of a negligent driver. Our legal team is renowned for providing personalized legal services, compassionate guidance, and fierce courtroom representation to the residents of Texas. With our guidance, you can secure a beneficial settlement or verdict that accounts for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, and more.

We’re available 24/7! Contact The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 to schedule a consultation.

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