By Kathy Sokolic
In September of 2016, my family suffered a tragic car crash here in Mueller that altered our lives forever, as well as the lives of those who witnessed it, and led me down the path of advocating for street safety. It’s kind of a weird use of your time – often no one seems to care about those who have been injured in a car crash because everyone knows someone who has. We’ve normalized this sort of trauma.
In Texas, at least ten people are killed every day on our roads and another 50 critically injured. Every day, 60 families are going through what my family went through. Sixty communities around those families, in pain, every day. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
The City of Austin adopted Vision Zero in October 2015, which is a holistic strategy to end traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. I joined other advocates in the fall of 2016 and pushed for more changes to our streets.
Since then, the City has done amazing work – increasing the number of sidewalks, lowering speed limits city-wide on busy corridors, and making engineering changes to some of the most dangerous intersections in the city. There is still much to do, but meaningful change takes time.
Mueller is now the proud owner of 25 mile per hour speed limits along its neighborhood streets. While not a panacea for everything that is wrong with our car-centric city, it’s a piece of the puzzle to help prevent other crashes like what happened to my family.
I cannot change what happened to our family, but together we can prevent this from happening to yours. Driving a bit slower may at times seem inconvenient, but it could save a life.
If you or a loved one has been affected by traffic violence, we are here – Central Texas Families for Safe Streets at ctfss.org.