After a suspected 157 mph crash in Fort Worth, TxDOT reminds drivers to slow down
Fort Worth police have arrested a man who they say crashed into an SUV while driving 157 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone – killing one person and injuring two others.
The crash took place on I-20 near McCart Avenue on March 15, according to police. The suspect, 22-year-old Bryce Abernathy, faces two charges of aggravated assault and one charge of manslaughter.
Speeding is the No. 1 cause of death on Texas roadways, said Kendall Kirkham Sloan, a spokesperson for TxDOT’s Dallas district. That’s true for people who aren’t driving over double the speed limit, too.
"Even when you go 5, 10 miles over the speed limit, you are decreasing your reaction time. And if you hit something, someone, we know you're going to hit them harder," Kirkham Sloan said.
Even small bumps in speed increase the driver’s likelihood of getting hurt or dying in a crash, according to crash tests from various automotive safety groups. Even speed limits themselves can be a problem, as they’ve trended upwards over the decades.
Speed is “the No. 1 determinant of the severity of a crash,” said Robert Wunderlich, director of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute's Center for Transportation Safety in an interview with KUT in 2021.
"In other words, a 10% increase in speed actually increases your chance of a fatality by about 50%," he said
One of TxDOT’s biggest recommendations to stay safe is to slow down, said Kirkham Sloan.
“We all have really busy lives, but give yourself a little more time to get to where you need to go to account for the traffic, to account for anything that may come up on the roadway so that you don't have to speed to your destination,” she said.
Last year was Texas’ second-deadliest year on the roads since TxDOT started keeping track in 1940. The whole country saw traffic deaths trend upward during the pandemic, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and while the reason isn’t clear, preliminary research suggests it’s because people took more risks while driving, like speeding and ignoring their seatbelts.
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