HARLINGEN — Since Nov. 7, 2000, there has been at least one death happening daily on Texas roadways.
An average of 10 deaths occur every day, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
That’s why TxDOT has begun a campaign to remind drivers to stay focused. The hashtag #EndTheStreak was created to be used as a tool on social media platforms and TxDOT is challenging people to share it with at least 10 people they know.
“The whole thing is about ending the trend. We mention the streak because we want to end the daily death streak,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Octavio Saenz said.
As part of the campaign, TxDOT will dedicate an additional $600 million for more safety improvements along Texas roadways over the next two years. The effort includes widening some roads and adding rumble strips that alert drivers if they are veering out of their lane or off the road.
“The rumble strips serve as an auditory warning and safety measure for people falling asleep or not paying attention and as soon as they hear it, they get their eyes on the road. That has been a huge help,” Saenz said.
In an effort to end the deaths caused by traffic crashes, in May the Texas Transportation Commission approved a goal aimed at ending all fatalities on Texas roads by 2050, with an interim goal of reducing them by half by 2035.
“It is a very ambitious goal but in reality it is something that is very doable. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of all traffic crashes are actually preventable. They happen because of mistakes like speeding, texting and driving or even road rage,” Saenz said.
“The hashtag is a word-of-mouth effort to encourage drivers to make safe choices. We ask people to share it with 10 other people to create a domino effect and have more people exposed to this public challenge,” he said.
Saenz said paying attention is the most useful tool to eliminate the majority of accidents caused by distractions.
“Even just driving under the speed limit helps. When you are driving a vehicle you are putting people in jeopardy. We want people to see it is not just law enforcement agencies or community agencies that have the power to keep us safe. It is all of us,” he said.
What You Should Know
The leading causes of fatalities continue to be failure to stay in one lane, alcohol and speed. To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT reminds drivers to:
– Buckle seatbelts — All passengers need to be buckled
– Pay attention — Put phones away and avoid distractions
– Never drink and drive or do drugs and drive — Get a sober ride home
– Drive the speed limit — Obey speed limits and drive slower when weather conditions warrant