State officials warn that pedestrian deaths are continuing to rise in Texas, and now account for 1 in 5 of all traffic fatalities.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in 2019 alone, 5,975 traffic crashes involving pedestrians occurred in Texas, resulting in 669 deaths, a 5% increase in fatalities over the previous year. Another 1,317 people were seriously injured.
“From 2015 to 2019, traffic crashes claimed the lives of 3,150 pedestrians,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in a statement. “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.”
Since 2015, TxDOT has spent $153 million in federal and state funding to upgrade sidewalks, curbs, and striping for pedestrian accessibility, safety, and mobility. In addition, during that same time, TxDOT awarded $116 million in grant funding to support more than 120 locally sponsored projects that provide safe routes to schools, multiuse pathways, sidewalks, and bike paths in rural and small urban areas.
Crash reports from law enforcement indicate the two leading causes for pedestrian fatalities are: 1) pedestrians failing to follow traffic safety laws and being struck when crossing streets and roadways, and 2) motorists failing to yield the right of way, driving distracted, or driving too fast. Alcohol also is a factor in pedestrian-related crashes, deaths, and injuries.
TxDOT says pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users because they are not equipped with protective equipment, such as airbags, seat belts and bumpers. This month TxDOT is launching a unique, socially distanced outreach campaign near intersections and high traffic areas in the state’s major cities to call attention to this reality and deliver messages where people most need to see them—at street level.
More information can be found on TxDOT's website.
SOURCE: Texas DOT