Texas Highways Haven’t Seen a Deathless Day in 20 Years
The Lone Star State is poised to hit a grim milestone early next month.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), November 7, 2000, marked the last deathless day on the state’s roads and highways. Since then, accidents involving cars, trucks, 18-wheelers, and other motor vehicles have claimed more than 70,000 lives across Texas, with at least one person dying each day.
Texas Averages 10 Traffic Fatalities Per Day
Currently, the state averages 10 traffic fatalities per day and 3,487 deaths per year. The majority of deadly crashes are the result of poor driver behaviors.
For example, in 2019 alone:
- 719 people died in speeding-related crashes.
- 370 people were killed because of distracted driving.
- A quarter of traffic deaths involved intoxicated drivers.
During the Texas coronavirus shutdown, officials had hoped the associated reduction in traffic volume would finally bring the state’s deadly streak to an end. But while the number of vehicles on the road dropped nearly 44% in some parts of Texas, the death rate remained unchanged.
The Houston Metro Region has long led the nation in traffic-related deaths. Although fatal traffic accidents were down nearly 20% across the region during the coronavirus lockdown, the number of deadly crashes linked to speed rose 13% compared to the same period in 2019.
“Last year, 20 Texas counties actually had zero deaths on their roadways – that tells me we can end the streak of daily deaths in Texas,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan. “This is why in 2019 the Texas Transportation Commission adopted a new goal of having zero deaths on our roadways by 2050, and to cut the number of fatalities in half by 2035. We will do our part; and we need drivers to do theirs.”
As part of the #EndTheStreakTX campaign, the Commission is reminding drivers to:
- Buckle up whenever you get behind the wheel.
- Avoid using cell phones and other distractions while driving.
- Drive the speed limit.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Always drive to the conditions around you.
Because #EndTheStreakTX is a grass-roots, social media, and word-of-mouth effort, Texans are also being asked to:
- Post pictures on social media with this downloadable sign displaying the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
- Use one of the Commission’s Social Media Profile Filters,
- Join the #TexasTag10 challenge on social media and tag ten family members or friends and encourage them to say what they will do differently to avoid a fatal crash on Texas roads.
“The effort to end the streak of daily deaths in Texas is a shared responsibility, and we are committed to including safety enhancements in every project we build or maintain,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “It’s going to take education, engineering, and enforcement to get this done, and that’s why this call to action to every Texan is so imperative.”
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