There have been at least 41 traffic fatalities so far this year in Austin, which is nearly double the number during the same period last year. And, in many of these crashes, alcohol and impaired driving are factors. A new analysis of DWI data is providing a better picture of where the problem spots are.
Over the last decade, there have been nearly 200 deaths in Austin due to drunk driving. A new analysis by Civic Analytics shows suspects in 724 of the 6,033 DWI arrests live in District 3, which includes East Austin and parts of South Austin.
“So the majority of the arrests, for the home addresses, happened on the East Side,” says Nathan Brigmon of the research firm Civic Analytics, which conducted the analysis. “And the district that has the most is District 3. District 3, for example, is 17 percent of all DWIs. District 2 is 14 percent. District 4 is 13 percent.”
So, nearly half of the people arrested for driving under the influence in Austin live in the districts with the lowest incomes and highest levels of poverty and unemployment.
The arrests themselves are mostly happening downtown, on East Riverside and in North Austin. The analysis was conducted as part of Mobility ATX, a new initiative aimed at making transportation in Austin more efficient and safe.
The analysis suggests the DWI-prone corridors shown on the heat map above could be a product of frequent drunken driving, or that police officers frequent "corridors where drunk driving has been an issue."
With the new analysis, authorities could now choose to focus on those problem areas, with a greater focus on outreach, education and enforcement.