Harris County Alcohol Fatality Rate Highest in State
by: Laurie Johnson, August 29, 2005 5:08:00 am
Over a period of several months, Harris County Sheriff's Deputies reported an unusually high number of alcohol related fatalities along two corridors. Over the past five years, 14 percent of Harris County fatalies from drunk-driving accidents were documented on FM 1960 between Highway 249 and I-45 and on Highway 249 between Beltway 8 and I-45. That's 45 deaths along those seven-mile corridors. TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist Garry Rand says part of the problem is that area is saturated with business that sell alcohol.
There's also a shortage of law enforcement manpower along those corridors, although the Houston Police Department is targeting the area looking for drunk drivers. The Cy-Fair business community is also starting a public awareness campaign, asking area drivers to commit to drive sober, be a designated driver and stop friends from driving drunk. HPD Sergeant David Thomas says it's called the HERO campaign.
TxDOT also installed signage along the corridors reporting the number of deaths in the area. Darcy Mingoia is the president of the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce and says they are seeking support from the business community in reducing the number of drunk drivers.
Harris County has the highest rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the state, and Texas also leads the nation.