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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Amid rising pedestrian deaths, TxDOT introduces "Be safe. Drive smart" safety campaign

Nearly 6,000 pedestrian-related traffic accidents occurred in 2019, resulting in a 5% increase in deaths compared to 2018.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Crosswalk on the street for safety with flare light

TEXAS, USA — Over 3,000 pedestrians have been killed in traffic accidents between 2015 and 2019, despite TxDOT having spent $153 million on sidewalk and curbing upgrades. With one in five traffic deaths involving a pedestrian, TxDOT is asking drivers to watch out for each other via its "Be safe. Drive smart" campaign.

“From 2015 to 2019, traffic crashes claimed the lives of 3,150 pedestrians,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “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.”

Local law enforcement reports show that the two main causes of pedestrians deaths are pedestrians not following crossing laws and being struck, and motorists not giving pedestrians the right of way or being distracted at crosswalks.

TxDOT says reaching its goal of zero deaths on Lone Star roadways starts with simply following the rules. For drivers, this means yielding and giving the right of way to pedestrians, stopping at crosswalks, and obeying the posted speed limit.

For pedestrians, only cross the street at designated crossing locations at intersections, look left, then right, then left again before crossing, and do not assume drivers will stop for you. When walking, use the sidewalk. Otherwise, walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

Lastly, it's very important for both drivers and pedestrians to just put the phone down. Whether walking or driving, use of electronic devices is a major problem on Texas roadways, as they take your eyes off the road and the cars and traffic around you.

"Be safe. Drive smart" is part of TxDOT's broader #EndTheStreakTX safety campaign, using social media and word-of-mouth to encourage drivers to use safer driving habits to end the daily streak of Texas roadways deaths that stretches back to November of 2000.