LUFKIN – It will be more challenging to see pedestrians as days get shorter during the fall and winter months. That’s why TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” pedestrian safety campaign is kicking off National Pedestrian Safety Month today, reminding drivers and pedestrians to stay alert and watch out for each other.
Pedestrian traffic fatalities increased by 15% in Texas in 2021. The state saw 5,366 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 841 fatalities and 1,470 serious injuries.
“The fall season means not only a shift to cooler temperatures but also fewer hours of daylight, and visibility becomes an issue,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “It’s important for motorists to pay attention and look out for people walking, and for pedestrians to make sure they take steps to be seen.”
TxDOT’s pedestrian safety campaign includes TV and radio spots, billboards and digital advertising. TxDOT will also be hitting the streets and bringing its walking billboards—street teams wearing sandwich boards—to the 10 districts that saw the highest numbers of fatalities from pedestrian-related traffic crashes. To address the high number of pedestrian-related crashes and fatalities in these areas, TxDOT is deploying more than 30 street teams to display pedestrian safety messages in places where vehicles and pedestrians share the road.
“In the Lufkin District in 2021, there were 49 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 18 fatalities and 17 serious injuries,” said Rhonda Oaks, public information officer. “That number continues to rise this year. We urge motorists to stay alert and pedestrians to observe all safety protocol for walkers, especially as the days get shorter.”
TxDOT encourages everyone to follow these safety tips to prevent a deadly encounter:
Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles.
Pay attention and put your phone away, so you’re always prepared if pedestrians enter your path.
Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions.
For people walking:
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 drivers see you.
Follow all traffic and crosswalk signals.
Use the sidewalk. If there isn’t one, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
Wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” pedestrian safety campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.
The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report (CR-3). This information was received and processed by the department as of May 4, 2022