The Texas Department of Transportation is trying a new strategy in its latest campaign to grab the attention of drivers and pedestrians.

It’s called the ‘Be careful. Drive smart.’ country.

The agency is going old school, using sandwiched human billboards to share messages about safe driving.

Chris Bishop, a public information officer for TxDOT, says it’s unusual to see one of these human billboards these days. Because of this, they hope people will stop, read the message, and remember to drive carefully to protect other Texans.

In 2021, there were over 5,000 accidents involving pedestrians. 841 people were killed as a result.

TxDOT attributes these numbers to a few reasons and claims that drivers and pedestrians are about equally at fault.

For example, pedestrians often don’t yield to cars, or they jaywalk instead of waiting at a crosswalk. Drivers do not give priority to pedestrians or they speed up.

For both groups, technological distractions and the influence of drugs and alcohol also contribute to these statistics.

“It goes back a lot to some of the ancient times,” Bishop said. “I remember seeing old movies or cartoons where you see a sandwiched person, a guy with a board in front and back walking down the street. Guess what? That’s where pedestrians are found. You will attract their attention.”

TxDOT adds that while pedestrians are involved in about 1% of crashes, they account for 19% of road fatalities.

You can spot the campaign in a few places around Austin on Friday and Saturday.

  • 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Friday, July 29, Domain Estate, Austin
  • 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, July 29, West University area, Austin
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 30, South Congress, Austin
  • 3-7 p.m., Saturday, July 30, 6th Street, Austin

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