TxDOT's push to end 23 years of daily deaths on Texas roads
Roadway crashes have claimed at least one life every day for more than two decades
AUSTIN – It almost happened. The long and heartbreaking 23-year streak of daily deaths on Texas highways almost ended. Almost.
On one day in February, Texas experienced a single traffic fatality – well below the average of 12 roadway deaths that occur daily on roadways statewide.
While fewer fatalities is worth noting, the sad fact remains that the streak of daily deaths has continued since Nov. 7, 2000. But that momentary improvement illustrates that the push for engineering safety enhancements and public education can produce positive results. The harsh reality remains, however, that the deadly streak continues and more than 83,000 people have lost their lives on roadways since the streak began.
“Each life lost means a family, neighborhood and community are impacted for a lifetime, and we take safety very seriously as we work to end this horrible streak,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “But it’s going to take all of us working together to get this done.”
TxDOT has committed to enhancing safety on Texas roads, investing $17 billion in safety improvements through the state’s 10-year plan. TxDOT has also developed new changes that may seem small, but could have a major impact:
- Increasing the size of pavement striping from 4 inches to 6 inches. This enhances the visibility of striping on the roadways and encourages drivers to slow down.
- Providing a wider centerline buffer between double yellow stripes with rumble strips or raised pavement markers on undivided highways to alert drivers when they cross the centerline.
- Building innovative intersections like roundabouts, where appropriate, can decrease fatalities at intersections by 90%.
- Implementing a “Safer by Design” program to give roadway designers a way to model safety performance from most of the key design elements used in projects.
Engineering, education and enforcement will always be the key components of traffic safety programs.
While TxDOT builds engineering improvements, drivers can help keep themselves safe on the road. For example, 48% of deaths on Texas roads are from people not wearing their seatbelt inside a vehicle. That one click can have a major impact on fatalities. We all have a shared responsibility to keep our roads and fellow drivers safe.
TxDOT is asking all Texans to do any or all the following to raise awareness:
- Make the best and safest decisions behind the wheel, don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; always obey traffic laws; always wear your seatbelt.
- Post pictures on social media with this downloadable sign displaying the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
- Share personal stories on social media of loved ones who have been lost in a crash and use the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
- Follow @txdot social media pages and share the content we post.
Together, we can save lives and end this streak of daily deaths.
Downloadable videos for media
- An interview between TxDOT Deputy Executive Director Brandye Hendrickson and Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New.
- An interview with two men who lost a friend in a crash west of Amarillo.
- An interview with a firefighter whose firetruck was hit on the side of the road and was caught on dashcam.
- B-roll video.
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.