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What’s to blame for the increase in Texas traffic-related deaths?

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Ryan Loyd

Last year was Texas’ second deadliest ever for roadway fatalities, with more than 4,400 people dying on its roads.

The last time this many people were killed on Texas roads was 1980, before modern-day vehicle safety improvements and seatbelt laws.

The rise in Texas roadway deaths during the pandemic comes despite hundreds of millions of dollars worth of efforts by transportation officials to reduce the body count.

From January to September 2021, an estimated 31,720 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Recent reporting from The New York Times attributes the surge to “a nationwide flare-up in reckless driving,” and cites possible factors including “the rise in anxiety levels and pandemic drinking to the fraying of social norms.”

What’s to blame for the spike in U.S. vehicle-related deaths? Are drivers more aggressive, distracted or otherwise impaired? How often are pedestrians or bicycles involved?

What can be done to prevent more pedestrian deaths and motor vehicle crash fatalities? What are some potential improvements or solutions? What’s worked elsewhere?

What changes need to be made to make the roads safer throughout the U.S., across Texas, and in San Antonio?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, February 23.

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