Traffic accident data requested from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) by The Karnes Countywide for the first six months of 2012 shows that the number of Karnes County traffic accidents is continuing to rise.
The number of traffic accidents jumped from 122 to 270 between the years 2010 and 2011. For the first six months of 2012, TxDOT data reports that 203 crashes have happened so far this year in Karnes County.
If that pace continues, Karnes County may see a 50 percent increase in the number of traffic accidents between 2011 and 2012.
In terms of fatal crashes, with only six months passed, 2012 has already surpassed 2011 with six fatal crashes this year so far, compared with four fatal crashes for all of 2011.
In 2010, there was just one fatal crash reported in Karnes County.
Other data in the report shows that for the first six months of 2012 there have been 13 incapacitating crashes, 37 non-incapacitating crashes, 34 possible injury crashes, two unknown severity crashes and 111 non-injury crashes in Karnes County.
Karnes County officials have pointed to increased traffic and deteriorating road conditions brought about by the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas boom as reasons why the number of accidents is rising at an alarming pace.
In response to concerns about highway safety, TxDOT announced in June that six new traffic signals would be installed at highway intersections in Karnes County. The news release said that TxDOT would “have solutions in place in 30 to 45 days.”
Three of the intersections are in Karnes City – at US 181 at FM 99, at US 181 and FM 1353 and at Badger Street/SH 123 at SH 80 north of Karnes City High School.
Three of the intersections are in Kenedy – at US 181 at FM 1145, at SH 72 at FM 1145, and at US 181 at Business Park Boulevard in front of the Walmart supercenter. The plans also include installation of advance warning signs, rumble strips and intersection illumination.
Two months have passed since the announcement was made and construction still has not yet begun on any of the six locations within the timeframe specified by TxDOT in the news release the state agency sent to media outlets.
In an effort to find out why none of the six projects have yet begun, The Karnes Countywide contacted TxDOT for comment Monday morning.
TxDOT Public Information Officer Aaron Ames said he forwarded the request for information about the projects to another TxDOT official, but a response to the request has not yet been received.