Posted on Jul 28, 2013

Rusk County, Texas has endured so many traffic fatalities this year that they held a fatality summit recently in Henderson, Texas. Seventeen people have died in a Rusk County car crash since January 1, while the Texas Department of Public Safety reports that the national average for traffic deaths is five per 100,000 people per year. Rusk County's population is only around 60,000—which means they have already far exceeded the national average.


County officials made the decision to hold the summit because they felt it was important to determine why these wrecks were happening and figure out what can be done about preventing them.


"I think it is going to take time and education to reduce these accidents," said County Judge Joel Hale. "People need to take responsibility and realize that you've got to pay attention when you're driving."


Several different groups attended the summit, including members of the Texas Department of Transportation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Rusk County law enforcement, Department of Public Safety and several school districts.


"You're not going to be able to look at a fatal accident and say it was a certain thing that caused it," said DPS spokeswoman Trooper Jean Dark. "How many of them are dealing with local people versus non-locals? Was there alcohol involved? Changes in speed limit and road condition are also factors."


According to the Texas Department of Transportation's most recent crash statistics, there were 751 total crashes in Rusk County in 2011 and of those 751, 12 were fatalities.

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