Special to The Messenger
EAST TEXAS – Nov. 7 marked the 23rd anniversary of a day none of us want to celebrate. Roadway crashes have claimed at least one life every day for more than two decades. That totals more than 83,600 people who have lost their lives on roadways since 2000. End The Streak is a statewide safety campaign that was created by TxDOT in an effort to raise awareness about the long streak of traffic deaths in Texas.
Statewide in 2022, there were 4.406 lives lost in 555,566 traffic crashes. As of mid-October 2023, lives lost in traffic crashes are more than 3,100.
In the nine-county Lufkin District in 2022, there were 5,127 total traffic crashes, with 76 fatalities and many more injuries. In 2023, there have been 73 lives lost in traffic crashes in the Lufkin District.
Reasons for each crash vary across the state, but failure to drive in a single lane tops the reasons for crashes in the Lufkin District and the state. Other top reasons for crashes include unsafe speed, pedestrian failure to yield right of way, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, not wearing a seat belt, and faulty evasive actions. Other reasons for fatality crashes include failure to control speed, unsafe lane changes, passing in a no passing lane, turning improperly, disregarding a signal, and distracted driving.
“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 percent.
- 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.
TxDOT is asking all Texans to do the following to raise awareness and to help End The Streak of daily deaths:
- 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.
For more information, contact [email protected] or call (936) 633-4395.