The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

November 8, 2012

Motorists urged to boost safety as Texas marks 12 years of daily fatalities on roadways

PALESTINE — The last day Texans were able to enjoy driving without a single fatality on Texas roads was 12 years ago Nov. 7, 2000. Since that date, at least one person has died every single day on a Texas highway or roadway, bringing the total to 41,252 fatalities – almost the size of the population in San Marcos.

“One fatality on a Texas roadway is one too many, and to see as many as eight or 10 in a single day is unacceptable,” TxDOT executive director Phil Wilson said. “As we acknowledge these tragic statistics, we are asking Texans to please help us make our roadways safer.”

In 2011 alone, Texas experienced 3,048 traffic fatalities. The majority of these traffic fatalities resulted from people who did not use seat belts, were drinking and driving and/or driving distracted:

• 28.9 percent of people killed in fatal crashes were not wearing seatbelts

• 34.9 percent were attributed to drinking and driving

• 13.4 percent were associated with people being distracted (i.e. texting and driving)

TxDOT continues to partner with the Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement to protect all drivers on our roadways.

“Texas state troopers are dedicated to protecting the public and they will continue working to identify and remove dangerous drivers from our highways,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “I urge all drivers traveling in our state to do their part by driving responsibly, eliminating distractions, adhering to the posted traffic signs and ensuring everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.

 “Together we can reduce the dangers on our roadways and improve safety for everyone.”

In an effort to educate drivers on the dangers of driving without a seatbelt, drunk driving and distracted driving, TxDOT has begun displaying the number of fatalities to date on dynamic message signs along Texas highways. So far this year there have been 2,545 fatalities on Texas roads.

Each month, this number is updated and drivers can see it along with a message on how to drive safely. Additionally, TxDOT continues to educate drivers through various seasonal campaigns that focus on the following simple steps for safe driving:

• Pay attention.

• Buckle seatbelts.

• Put phone away.

• Left lane for passing only.

• Never drink and drive.

• Obey all traffic laws.

While TxDOT and DPS will continue to work to enhance safety, citizens are asked to step up and do their part to keep Texas roadways safe.

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