Contact: Heather Deaton
Phone: (903) 799-1306
Date: June 3, 2022
The number of people killed in Texas vehicle crashes in 2021 reached a level not seen since 1981, with 34 percent of those deaths involving speed. In an effort to urgently remind motorists to drive a safe speed, TxDOT is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state to enforce speed limits during Operation Slowdown June 7-21.
In 2021, the number of crashes in the Atlanta District that involved speeding totaled 2,142. These crashes resulted in 51 deaths and 150 serious injuries. TxDOT’s Atlanta District includes Bowie, Cass, Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Panola, Titus and Upshur Counties.
In Texarkana in 2021, there were 417 traffic crashes that involved speeding, resulting in 2 fatalities and 11 serious injuries.
“Speed is the number one factor in roadway crashes in our state, causing 1 out of every 3 traffic deaths,” said TxDOT executive director Marc Williams. “When you speed, you increase the risk of death and serious injury in a collision. By observing the speed limit and driving to specific weather and road conditions, Texans can make our roads safer for everyone.”
“We all need to give ourselves enough time to get to our destination, or we can just be late,” said TxDOT Atlanta district engineer Buddy Williams. “Trying to shave a few minutes off a commute isn’t worth a lifetime of regret,” Williams said.
“Speeding increases the risk of you losing control of your vehicle. Speeding also increases the distance you would need to stop to avoid a crash,” said TxDOT Atlanta District Traffic Safety Specialist Kristy Whisenhunt. “Last year, 60 percent of drivers in speed-related crashes in Texas were men, and younger drivers ages 16 to 34 were responsible for more than half of these crashes,” Whisenhunt said.
In 2021, speed was the main reason we saw over 163,000 traffic crashes in Texas, resulting in over 6,000 serious injuries and 1,500 fatalities. That’s why TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign is urgently reminding motorists to slow down and drive a safe speed.
To reinforce that driving too fast can be dangerous and expensive, TxDOT is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the Lone Star State as they step up their efforts to enforce speed limits during Operation Slowdown June 7–21. In addition to writing citations, law enforcement vehicles will spend extra time driving on roads reminding motorists what a safe speed looks like.
Driving a safe speed often means more than following the posted speed limit. TxDOT encourages motorists to match speed to road conditions if there’s bad weather or they're driving through a work zone, slow down and allow for more distance to stop when traffic is heavy, and watch for signs alerting to reduced speed limits ahead.
This month Texas drivers can expect to see the campaign’s speed messages on TV, radio, billboards, gas pumps, and social media. Community events featuring an interactive exhibit of safety quizzes and video displays will be held at Buc-ee’s locations along major travel corridors. TxDOT’s HERO trucks that assist motorists in need and clear minor crashes on state highways will also be enlisted to prompt speeding drivers to slow down.
The “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, maritime, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.