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As the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities continue to rise each year in the Lone Star State, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is running its “Be Safe. Drive smart. Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Campaign, which runs through September 15 and urges all Texans to know and obey state traffic laws to drive, walk and cycle safely.

TxDOT reminds Texans of Senate Bill 1055, dubbed the “Lisa Torry Smith Act,” which is named after a Texas mother who was killed at a Missouri crosswalk in October 2017 while walking with her 6 year old son at school. At the time of the accident that claimed Smith’s life, hitting a pedestrian, cyclist or other vulnerable road user in a crosswalk had virtually no consequences for Texas drivers. After his death, the 87th Texas Legislature signed into law the law, which went into effect September 1, 2021.

Senate Bill 1055 requires drivers to stop and yield to people in crosswalks. Motorists in Texas who fail to stop and yield and cause serious injury or death to someone in a crosswalk can face criminal penalties ranging from a fine, misdemeanor or a crime depending on the seriousness of the injury.

In 2021, 841 people died in pedestrian-related traffic accidents, an increase of 15% compared to 2020. Accidents involving cyclists claimed the lives of 92 people in 2021. These 933 deaths represent 20% of 4,490 deaths on Texas roads last year.

“Year after year we see deaths from traffic accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists climbing,” said TxDOT executive director Marc Williams. “Each of us has a shared responsibility to help reverse this trend. Whether you’re driving, walking or biking, we ask all Texans to be safe and smart, and that starts with obeying the rules of the road.

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