Landscape, development, technology and drivers: The geography of drownings associated with automobiles in Texas floods, 1950-2004.

TitleLandscape, development, technology and drivers: The geography of drownings associated with automobiles in Texas floods, 1950-2004.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMaples LZ,, JP, T
JournalApplied Geography
Abstract

More than 200 people have died in automobiles that have encountered flooded roadways in Texas from 1950 to 2004. This study examines the geographical processes that create flood hazards associated with automobile travel to discern the most important factors in their genesis. A database of drowning cases caused by motorists’ interactions with flooded roadways in Texas was compiled for the study period. We examine the circumstances and spatial patterns of these events by addressing the following questions: where have motorists drowned? How did rates and spatial patterns of accidents change over the study period? To the extent that we can determine, what were the characteristics of the roads, the drivers, and the landscapes when and where deaths occurred? What factors appear to explain the temporal and spatial distributions of hazard? We conclude that roadway familiarity might have emboldened drivers to attempt to surmount water rushing across a road, that time of day was clearly an important characteristic of the accidents, and that roadway characteristics and sex and age of the drivers seem not to be key contributing factors. The most important factors, however, are associated with growth: increases in population and increased automobile registrations drive the propensity for increased automobile-flood hazards.

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01436228