Massive Traffic Growth Leads to Accidents, Injuries, and Fatalities on U.S. Roadways
According to the United States Department of Transportation’s recent studies of traffic on America’s roadways and highways, mileage traveled by drivers and passengers reached three trillion miles this past year, far surpassing the previous record set in 2007 just prior to the major financial crisis that struck later that year. Naturally, experts will insist that the U.S. needs to expand its roadways and invest in mass-transit systems to ease the inevitable congestion that occurs with such expansion, but those solutions alone will not be enough to stem the tide of traffic problems that occur with the increased number of vehicles on the road each and every year.
Texas A&M University started an institute to study traffic, titled the Texas Traffic Institute (fittingly enough) and they have released the findings of a study that was conducted with INRIX, a “big data” company that helps gather and analyze statistics. Overall, they found that congestion on interstates and roads will continue to get worse without drastic changes in policy and infrastructure. Based on the assumption of a healthy economy by 2020, they determined that:
- The total cost of congestion in the U.S. will grow from $162 Billion to $192 Billion dollars
- Delays nationwide, which already total 6.9 Billion hours, will grow to 8.3 Billion hours
- Per commuter, the annual delays will increase from 42 hours to 47 hours
These statistics show the significant issues that will arise if businesses and commuters do not start to rethink the usage of their vehicles and the problems that may be caused by the return to pre-recession level traffic. The most gridlock-plagued cities on their list include: Washington D.C. (with 82 hours of delay per traveler), Los Angeles (with 80 hours), San Francisco (78 hours), New York (74 hours), and surprisingly, San Jose (67 hours). Drivers in Dallas, Texas sat for about 60 hours on average according to a story in the Dallas News (powered by the Dallas Morning News), which equates to about 2.5 days for each commuter total. This put Dallas at number 16 on the most congested cities in the world.
Fortunately, public officials have taken notice as congestion, accidents, personal injury claims, and wrongful death claims have increased due to congestion on Dallas highways. Injury lawyers like the Benton Law Firm have helped individuals who have lost loved ones in accidents in Dallas traffic, but they are hoping that new initiatives will decrease the number of deaths on the cities’ roadways.
Per Governor Greg Abbott’s Clear Lanes Initiative, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has set aside $786 million dollars in funds for Dallas alone to improve mobility, ease congestion, and make travel more efficient along I-35 from I-30 to Oak Lawn and I-35 from the Southern Gateway (Hwy-67). Hopefully, these initiatives will be enough to reduce traffic accidents and the time spent by Dallas commuters on the roads to and from work and home and will be an efficient manner of transportation for them moving forward.