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Austin's Vision Zero and Community Efforts to Reduce Car Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents remain one of the top causes of unintentional injury death in America. Every year, Texas is one of the highest states in terms of car accident fatalities. In the City of Austin, a project known as Vision Zero pursues the community’s goal of reducing the number of people injured and killed in car accidents to zero.

Austin Car Accident Statistics

Texas is regularly one of the top three states in the country in terms of the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2022, there were 4,481 motor vehicle traffic fatalities and 18,880 serious injuries. Approximately 1 person was killed in a Texas car accident every 1 hour 57 minutes, and 1 person was injured every 2 minutes 9 seconds.

Citywide crash statistics reported 111 fatal accidents, 116 fatalities, and 532 suspected serious injuries in Austin in 2022. This placed Austin in fifth place among cities with the highest numbers of fatal auto accidents behind Houston (308), Dallas (212), San Antonio (186), and Fort Worth (114). Preliminary data for 2023 shows 89 fatal traffic accidents in Austin that resulted in 93 people killed.

What Is Austin’s Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is a project orchestrated by Austin Transportation Public Works in an effort to bring the number of people hurt and killed in automobile accidents to zero. It focuses on education, awareness, street improvements, policy changes, and enforcement to enhance the safety of Austin’s streets. The Transportation and Public Works Department collaborates with city and community partners to reach this goal.

Vision Zero is described as a “holistic strategy to end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all.” Communities that adopt Vision Zero believe that car accident deaths and injuries are preventable public health issues – not “accidents” at all – that can be stopped with the right policies. Austin’s City Council adopted Vision Zero in 2015 as part of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.

The key components of Vision Zero are outlined in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. This plan goes into detail about how the city intends to reduce the risk of car accidents through measures such as designing safer streets, focusing on Austin’s transportation infrastructure, protecting public health and the environment, and collaborating with the community to achieve its goal of zero transportation accidents.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Austin?

One aspect of Vision Zero is identifying and addressing common causes of motor vehicle accidents in Austin. The City of Austin aims to deploy initiatives that proactively improve road safety from all angles, including human errors, systemic problems, and issues that put vulnerable road users (bicyclists and pedestrians) at risk. Many of these accident causes can be entirely prevented by adopting appropriate safety measures.

Common reasons for car accidents in Austin include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Speeding
  • Breaking traffic laws
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper turns
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Following too closely
  • Dangerous road conditions

Drunk driving is one of the main factors involved in car accidents in Austin and throughout Texas. Texas ranks number three among the worst states for drunk driving, which accounted for around 42 percent of traffic deaths in 2022. Despite high numbers of collisions being attributed to driver intoxication, a Vision Zero report found that the state underreports the prevalence of drug and alcohol use in Austin traffic deaths compared to toxicology reports.

High-Injury Roadways in Austin

Another area of focus in the Vision Zero program is enhancing the safety of public roads. Improvements in road construction and design can help prevent car accidents caused by dangerous infrastructures. Recommended engineering improvements include new roadway signage, traffic signal upgrades, refreshed road and crosswalk markings, new pedestrian crossing opportunities, and improved street lighting.

Austin has created a High-Injury Network that identifies local streets with the highest numbers of serious injuries and fatal car accidents. This tool is used by the city to identify locations where engineering, education, or enforcement actions should be prioritized to enhance road safety. Using this tool, 13 sections have been identified as top priorities to receive safety improvements.

Over 350 people in Austin were seriously injured or killed in these 13 sections in the last five years. The sections are Airport Boulevard, Riverside Drive, Burnet Road, South Congress Avenue, Cameron Road, South Pleasant Valley Road, East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, South First Street, two sections of North Lamar Boulevard, Slaughter Lane, William Cannon Drive and Parmer Lane.

What Is the Community Doing to Reduce Car Accidents in Austin?

Austin’s Vision Zero plan relies on the participation of the community. Community members are identified as important partners in the overall transportation network. As a member of Austin’s community, you can take part in the effort to achieve zero motor vehicle accidents with the following actions:

  • Reduce your speed. Driving even 5 miles per hour slower than usual can save lives.
  • Check twice at intersections for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles.
  • Put your phone away while driving to avoid dangerous distractions.
  • If you plan on drinking alcohol, use alternative transportation options for a safe ride home.
  • Encourage safe driving in your community by requesting a Vision Zero Yard Sign.

Austin’s Vision Zero program has had promising results since it started in 2015. The latest statistics available for 2024 show that Austin’s crash data in all four categories (Fatalities, Years of Life Lost, Serious Injuries and Total Crashes) is lower than the same time last year. January 2024 reported 30 fatalities and serious injuries in Austin compared to a five-year average of 49.6.

Despite Vision Zero, Car Accidents Still Occur in Austin

With continued efforts by the Austin Transportation Public Works, the Texas Department of Public Safety task force, and the community as a whole, Austin may someday achieve its goal of having zero traffic accident injuries and deaths. Today, however, motor vehicle collisions still remain a part of life in Austin.

If you get into an auto accident in Austin, the car accident lawyers at FVF Law can help you file a car insurance claim and negotiate a fair settlement. Our trial attorneys are prepared to go to court, if necessary, to hold someone accountable for your medical bills and vehicle repairs. We also represent families in wrongful death claims in Austin if you sadly lost a loved one in a fatal car accident. Call (512) 865-4817 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation.


Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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