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Austin’s traffic deaths are up so far this year while serious injuries from wrecks have declined

The City of Austin has launched a new website that keeps track of serious injuries and deaths from traffic wrecks via an interactive map.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some encouraging and discouraging news from the City’s of Austin’s traffic department: Since the first of the year, the number of serious injuries from traffic crashes has seen a sharp decline, but the number of deaths has increased over previous years.

The data is included in a new website launched Tuesday as part of the City’s Vision Zero project, a citywide effort to reduce and eventually eliminate deaths and serious injuries from wrecks. The website tracks serious injuries and deaths from motor vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle and pedestrian police incidents.

According to the website, serious injuries appear to be on pace for the lowest yearly total since 2015. But death totals this year are higher than the five-year average, with 42 killed so far. The website also reports that “pedestrian and motorcycle severe injury crashes are on pace to be significantly lower than in recent years.”

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Although not cited in the data, the drop in serious injuries is likely due to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has meant more people are staying home and driving less.

A KVUE analysis of the data showed that most serious wrecks happen on Interstate 35, both north and south of the river; along Ben White Boulevard and Highway 71 near the airport; and along a relatively small stretch of highway, Research Boulevard/East Anderson Lane between Mopac and I-35.

The data also revealed that most serious wrecks happened between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and that they were more likely to occur on Saturdays.

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