Traffic fatalities in Austin are up for 2019, police say

30 people have died on Austin roads so far this year

May 17, 2019 - 1:56 pm

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Austin Police are taking notice of a significant increase in traffic fatalities this year, and are urging the public to do their part to drive safer.

Police Chief Brian Manley addressed the media at police headquarters Friday morning. So far, 30 people have died on Austin roads in 2019; that's compared to 23 at this time in 2018 - a 30 percent increase, Manley said, with just over half of those fatalities coming in just the last six weeks.

With summer coming, an entirely preventable problem will only get worse, Manley said. He noted the upcoming ROT Rally in June, which will bring a significant amount of motorcycle traffic to the city, as well as WalletHub's ranking of Austin earlier this week as the second-best vacation destination in the country.

Pedestrian fatalities are also a concern. Manley said 12 pedestrians have been killed so far this year, 11 of which were attempting to cross roadways in a spot not meant for crossing. 6 of those were on Interstate 35 or its frontage roads. "There are other ways to cross I-35. There is just simply no reason for trying to do that on foot," Manley said.

Another concern is Austin's homeless population. Manley said 11 of the pedestrian fatalities were members of the homeless community, and the department is working to provide education to that segment of Austin's population.

Manley said APD will continue many of its enforcement programs over the summer, including No Refusal efforts for drivers suspected of driving under the influence, as well as distracted driving, seatbelt enforcement, and other traffic laws. Serious injury DWI crashes are up 180 percent, according to Manley, with 14 so far this year.

Last, but not least, Manley noted with school about to let out for the summer, children will be in neighborhoods - in areas where they may not normally be during the school year. Drivers should be aware, but parents also need to take the time to educate their children about traffic safety.

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