The Texas Department of Transportation is urging drivers and pedestrians to watch out for each other with their “Be Safe. Drive smart. awareness campaign this summer.
On Sunday, TxDOT had street crew members carrying sandwich panels in high-traffic areas as highly visible “walking billboards” to remind drivers and pedestrians of the importance of following the rules of the road. .
The traveling billboards will be outside the McAllen Public Library on 23rd Street until Monday evening.
In 2021, 5,366 traffic accidents involving pedestrians occurred in Texas, resulting in 1,470 serious injuries and 841 fatalities, a 15% increase in pedestrian fatalities from the previous year.
“Only 1% of traffic crashes in Texas involve pedestrians, but pedestrians account for 19% of all traffic fatalities,” TxDOT executive director Marc Williams said in a press release. “That’s because pedestrians don’t have the protective equipment — airbags, seat belts and bumpers — common to vehicles. To ensure the safety of our most vulnerable road users, we urge motorists to always be on the lookout for passers-by. Pedestrians also have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and to follow the rules of the road.
According to TxDOT Pharr District, there were 198 traffic accidents involving pedestrians that resulted in 32 fatalities and 50 serious injuries last year.
In addition to “walking billboards,” the campaign includes billboards, television, radio and digital advertisements and safety messaging in major metropolitan areas across the state with high pedestrian traffic where it is easy for drivers and pedestrians to see them.
According to law enforcement accident reports, major contributors to pedestrian-related accidents include pedestrians not yielding to vehicles, driver inattention, motorists not yielding to pedestrians , the inability to control speed and drivers and pedestrians being under the influence of alcohol.
TxDOT offers several safety reminders to avoid a deadly encounter:
For drivers: stop at crosswalks, yield to pedestrians when turning, use caution when passing buses or other stopped vehicles, be careful and put your phone away, and obey the posted speed limit.
For pedestrians: only cross the street at intersections and crosswalks, look both ways before crossing, make eye contact with drivers, follow all traffic and crosswalk signals, use sidewalks and if there is none, walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight the night.