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(NEXSTAR) – Pedestrian fatalities continue to rise in Texas, accounting for 1 in 5 of road fatalities.

To combat the problem, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will launch the “Be Safe, Drive Smart” safety initiative.

In 2019, of the 5,975 traffic crashes involving pedestrians that occurred in Texas, 669 resulted in fatalities, leading to a 5% increase in fatalities from a year ago.

And 1,317 others were seriously injured.

The goal of the campaign launch is to achieve a total of zero road fatalities in Texas.

It features eye-catching graphics, public service announcements, and highly visible ‘walking boards’ at socially distant outreach events to send reminder messages such as’ pedestrians don’t come with airbags’ and’ you can’t fix a pedestrian in a body shop ”, to remind drivers and walkers of the importance of obeying the highway code.

“From 2015 to 2019, traffic accidents claimed the lives of 3,150 pedestrians,” said James Bass, executive director of TxDOT. “To achieve our goal of zero fatalities on Texas roads, we need all drivers to obey the traffic laws, stay alert and take responsibility for monitoring pedestrians and that pedestrians follow safety advice.”

TxDOT offers these safety tips to avoid a fatal encounter:

For drivers
· When turning, give way to pedestrians.
· Pedestrian stop at pedestrian crossings.
· Be careful when passing buses or other stationary vehicles.
· Be careful and put your phone away, pedestrians may suddenly come in your way.
· Obey the speed limit and drive under the conditions.


For pedestrians
· Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks. Look left, right, then left again before crossing.
· Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Don’t assume that drivers see you.
· Obey all traffic and crosswalk signals.
· Use the sidewalk. If there is none, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
· When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears away from the road.
Wear bright clothes during the day and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night

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