Texans love their cars and trucks, but data continues to roll in that it’s become increasingly dangerous to drive and be a pedestrian here in the Lone Star State. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users. So much so that pedestrians now make up 20% of all traffic fatalities. The state had 669 pedestrian deaths in 2019, the most recent year with final data, and there were 5,975 traffic crashes involving pedestrians. There were also 1,317 victims seriously injured.
According to TxDOT’s Executive Director:
“From 2015 to 2019, traffic crashes claimed the lives of 3,150 pedestrians. To reach our goal of zero deaths on Texas roadways, we need all drivers to obey the rules of the road, stay alert and take responsibility for looking out for pedestrians, and for pedestrians to follow safety tips.”
Why so many deaths and injuries?
TxDOT cited a few reasons for the crashes:
- Motorists failing to yield right of way to pedestrians
- Motorists failing to follow traffic safety laws
- Motorists driving while distracted
- Motorists driving too fast
- Motorists driving under the influence
Making roads safer is a start
TxDOT also has invested $153 million in state and federal money to make roads safer for pedestrians trying to use crosswalks or sidewalks alongside roadways. This includes:
- Upgrading sidewalks
- Upgrading curbs
- Improve striping on the road to alert drivers
- Support of safe routes to schools
- Support multiuse pathways
- Other actions in urban, small-town and rural settings
Drivers need to be more careful
Drivers need to avoid reckless driving and behavior behind the wheel because they are operating dangerous equipment. They should obey all traffic regulations, keeping eyes on the road and take other sensible precautions. The ramifications of reckless actions can change the lives of drivers, pedestrians and family members in a split second.