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Austin Traffic Fatalities 20 Percent Lower This Year

flickr user mirsasha
MoPac as seen from the Far West bridge/overpass. Traffic fatalities in Austin are 20 percent lower compared to this time last year, APD says.

The Austin Police Department just announced the 47th and 48th traffic fatalities of the year.  This time last year, there had been 58 traffic deaths reported in Austin. It's a decrease of about 20 percent.

The 47th fatality was a 76-year-old man who crossed the center line while driving down Anderson Mill Road and smashed into another vehicle just after 4 pm yesterday. Police don't believe alcohol or speed was a factor.

The 48th fatality was a 28-year-old man who crashed into another car and then a utility pole at 2:30 this morning on East Ben White. The driver wasn't wearing a seatbelt and police suspect he may have been drinking.   

Last year, traffic fatalities declined by 9 percent across the state, according to the AP.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes the decline to safer vehicles, safer roads and motorists driving less. Officials also cite public safety campaigns about seat belt usage, drunk driving and distracted driving.

But we still have a lot of room for improvement, according to Austin's police chief. APD top cop Art Acevedo says Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths, a claim that PolitiFact Texas reported as "mostly true". When you measure traffic fatalities on a per capita basis, however, Texas is 16th worst in the country.

You can get the latest information on traffic accidents in Austin Travis County on this incident report page.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.