Odessa: A Solution in Sight for Reckless Driving - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Odessa: A Solution in Sight for Reckless Driving

Audrey Castoreno
acastoreno@kwes.com

ODESSA: On any given day Odessa Police says they respond to about 17 accidents.

Reckless driving has seemed to be on the rise in Odessa, which has lead to  more accidents. Many of those fatal.

 According to Texas Department of Transportation, in 2013 there were a total of 59 fatalities in Ector County. As for 2014, so far the number stands at about 28 deaths. 

TxDOT tells us at least three of those fatalities recorded this year have been single vehicle crashes, five of those have been motorcycle crashes, and eight of those have been car pedestrian accidents. They tell us this is an alarming number because Ector County has gone some years without a single pedestrian fatality.

Police say they see reckless driving daily and that many times it leads to those fatalities.

"I would say running red lights is pretty bad, but speeding is the most common." Odessa Police Officer, Andrew Garris said.

NewsWest 9 got to ride along with two officers to see just how frequently people speed, or ran red lights and stop signs.

"I think everyone is in a rush for no reason. They're just going home from work. You know, I understand you want to get home and relax but it's not worth going to jail for or hurting somebody for or even killing them," said Garris.

Odessa Police showed us some of the worst intersections for major accidents... Those being John Ben Shepard and 42nd Street, Grandview and 42nd, various intersections on West County Road, as well as University and John Ben Shepard.

As for fatalities, the most common areas they have responded to are Highway 80 as well as the service roads of I-20.

However, Mayor David Turner is stepping in to try to help police get a handle on reckless driving.

Although it's only in the discussion phase, the Mayor has proposed a law that  would have officers arresting anyone who is driving 25 miles over the posted speed limit. Landing you with a class B misdemeanor, 90 days in jail, or up to a $200 fine. Speeding under 25 will get you a ticket

This is something that's always been an option for officers.

 But here's the change, the Mayor wants to write the law so that  if you are caught going  25 miles over the posted speed limit you could not get the tickets removed from your driving record by taking defensive driving. It would instead be a permanent strike on your record.

 If passed by the city council Mayor Turner hopes it will make people feel safer behind the wheel.

"When our citizens drive down the streets they need to be safe. They need to know this is being addressed," Mayor David Turner said.

Police say  so far this year they've made 80 arrests for reckless driving, but that number could jump of this proposed law is passed.

"If you're driving that fast it's a choice, and choices come with consequences, said Turner.

Officials though are  hoping if something like this were to be put in place within the city limits it would only mean better choices among drivers and safer roads.

"Our biggest advice to people is to wear your seat belt, slow down...If you're a pedestrian use a crosswalk. If you are on a motorcycle please us a helmet...The main thing here is a lot of these [accidents] could have been prevented," Odessa Police, Corporal Steve LeSueur said.

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