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Texas Roads: Study Finds Certain Messages on Electronic Freeway Signs May Increase Risk of Fatal Accidents

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Are the large electronic signs on the freeway designed to help you actually cause accidents?

A study suggests that when a specific message is displayed, the answer is yes, according to a report we published Media Partner at the Houston Chronicle.

You’ve known these signs for years, and most of the time they’re very helpful when it comes to detours and other information. But when they display information about highway fatalities, the signs can increase the number of accidents on Texas roads.

“Unfortunately, we’ve found that accidents increase immediately after these reports when they show death reports, and obviously not what policymakers were hoping for,” said Joshua Madsen of the University of Minnesota.

Madsen and co-author Jonathan Hall wanted to know if the large electronic highway signs work when it comes to showing the number of road deaths. They found that the number of accidents increased when it came to fatalities.

Their study looked specifically at the Texas accidents from 2010 to 2017 and suggests that the signs during that time caused an additional 2,600 accidents with 16 fatal wrecks.

The greatest increase occurs when signs are in congested areas, as opposed to long straight stretches of highway.

“Showing drivers these sobering messages when they’re about to do something complicated is probably not a good idea,” Madsen said.

We have contacted TxDOT but we have not received any response. The agency told the Chronicle’s partners that the real issues surrounding Texas traffic fatalities are speed, distracted driving, impaired driving and people not wearing seat belts.

To learn more about this story, follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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https://abc13.com/houston-traffic-texas-roads-freeway-deaths-deadly-wrecks/11811351/ Texas Roads: Study Finds Certain Messages on Electronic Freeway Signs May Increase Risk of Fatal Accidents

Dais Johnston

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