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Austin Council Members Want To Analyze Traffic Fatality Causes
For several years Austin experienced a downward trend in traffic fatalities from 73 to 54 between 2004 and 2011.
But in 2012, that number jumped to 78, an increase of 44 percent from the previous year.
The deadly trend has city council members concerned and looking for ways to stop it.
Council Member Laura Morrison and Bill Spelman are sponsoring a resolution that will be voted in Council Thursday. They are asking for the City Manager to work with the Austin Police Department, the Transportation Department, the Public Works Department and other local or state agencies to perform an analysis of the causes.
"We need to look at the numbers from 2011, look at how they went down in 2011 and see where the big jumps were," said Council Member Laura Morrison.
According to the resolution, theories suggested for the accidents could be drunk driving, distracted driving and warmer weather resulting in pedestrian activity.
KEYE TV asked the tough question, how much would the analysis cost taxpayers? Morrison tells us it could be done internally without any extra dollars.
"Having our folks, our staff look at that I think is very doable," Morrison said.
If passed, city officials would get to work immediately with the first report due by Feb. 28.
APD says it has already been looking at the data.
"A lot of them were pedestrians crossing major roadways, major highways at night time not using intersections," said Senior Police Officer Veneza Bremner.
The end goal, Morrison explains, would be to take the results and provide solutions.
The resolution reads that effective countermeasure have been developed by the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Safety Administration such as relocating bus stops, improving nighttime lighting, providing curb extensions, installing barriers or signs and enforcing crosswalk laws.
Councilman Chris Riley has his own solution to reduce traffic fatalities. He wants to start a one-year pilot program, which would keep the hike and bike trail open 24 hours. Council will vote on the agenda item Thursday as well.
By Christie Post