The Texas Department of Transportation launched a pedestrian safety campaign titled “Be Safe. Drive Smart” to remind drivers and pedestrians to slow down, be alert and obey traffic laws.

“Last year, there were 5,694 traffic crashes involving pedestrians in Texas, resulting in 632 deaths and 1,205 serious injuries,” Jeff Salzgeber, public relations representative for TxDOT, said via email. “In the Rio Grande Valley in 2018, there were 219 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 23 fatalities and 46 serious injuries.”

The tips for drivers to help keep pedestrians safe are:

>>reduce your speed when approaching crosswalks and stop for pedestrians

>>yield the right of way to pedestrians when turning

>> be careful when passing buses or stopped vehicles

>> stay alert and put your phone away because pedestrians may enter your path suddenly

>>and obey the speed limit and driving conditions.

“The top factors contributing to these crashes were pedestrians failing to yield the right of way to vehicles, drivers failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, driver inattention and failure to control speed,” Salzgeber said.

The tips for pedestrians are:

>>use sidewalks whenever they’re available

>>If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic

>>always cross at intersections or marked crosswalks

>>Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding

>>make eye contact with the drivers before crossing the street

>>never assume the driver sees you; be visible

>>wear something light or reflective after dark

>>don’t be distracted by devices that take your eyes and ears off the road

>>as a passenger get in or out of a vehicle on the curb side of the street.

“Whether you’re driving or walking, alcohol can impair your judgment, coordination and reaction times,” the statement from the TxDOT reads.

The TxDOT official website gives additional tips for drivers to do their part and practice patience while driving. They include remain alert at all times; be courteous to others on the road; drive a safe speed to traffic; pay attention to road conditions and weather; put your phone away and focus 100 percent on driving, to name a few.

For more information about safety tips, visit