The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

November 16, 2013

Traffic fatalities down across state, nation

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

While the number of traffic fatalities are currently on the decline, local and state officials said even one death on Texas' highways is too many.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation's website, www.txdot.gov, Nov. 7, 2000 was the last recorded fatality-free day in the state. Since then, 45,032 people have been killed on Texas roadways.

TxDOT's website reports one of the leading causes of traffic deaths continues to be alcohol.

"To date, 13,544 alcohol-related fatalities have been recorded since Nov. 7, 2000," the site states. "Distracted driving also is a leading cause of roadway deaths. Since Jan. 1, 2008, there have been 2,719 fatalities caused by distracted driving. There also have been 5,469 unrestrained vehicle occupants killed since Jan. 1, 2008."

To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT's website lists these reminders:

"Having at least one person killed on a Texas road every single day for 13 years is a sobering reminder that we must drive carefully and do everything in our power to stay focused behind the wheel,” TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton stated in a release published at TxDOT's website. “These people are our spouses, children, friends and neighbors, and losing them to traffic deaths has a profound and permanent impact on their families.

“This staggering number of fatalities needs to stop increasing every 24 hours, and taking personal responsibility for our driving habits is the first step.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported recently traffic deaths fell by 4.2 percent across the U.S. during the first half of 2013.