HOUSTON – TxDOT launched a statewide “Be Safe. Drive Smart” outreach campaign that will offer tips to keep everyone safe on Texas roadways.
According to a statewide report, pedestrian fatalities from traffic crashes increased to 15% in 2021. In the Houston area, there were 1,466 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 204 fatalities and 383 serious injuries in 2021.
TxDOT will send its street team to wear “walking billboards” to caution driver to slow down and stop pedestrians in crosswalks and remind pedestrians of ways they can “be safe and walk smart.”
“Only 1% of traffic crashes in Texas involve pedestrians, yet pedestrians account for 19% of all roadway deaths,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “That’s because pedestrians lack the protective equipment—airbags, seat belts and bumpers—common to vehicles. To keep our most vulnerable road users safe, we urge motorists to always be on the lookout for people walking. Pedestrians also have the responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and follow the rules of the road.”
Crash reports from law enforcement indicate the leading factors of pedestrian-related traffic crashes:
1. pedestrians failing to yield the right of way to vehicles
2. driver inattention
3. motorists failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians
4. failure to control speed,
5. drivers and/or pedestrians being under the influence of alcohol.
The campaign will include TV, radio, billboards and digital advertising, according to a release. In addition, TxDOT’s “walking billboards” will deliver safety messages in the state’s major metro areas with a high volume of pedestrian traffic where it’s easy for drivers and people on foot to see them.
TxDOT offers the following safety reminders to prevent a deadly encounter:
• Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
• When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
• Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles.
• Pay attention and put your phone away, so you’re always prepared if pedestrians enter your path.
• Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions.
• Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks. Look left, right, then left again before crossing.
• Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Don’t assume drivers see you.
• Follow all traffic and crosswalk signals.
• Use the sidewalk. If there isn’t one, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
• When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
• Wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.