As Texas marks a grim, 13-year string of daily roadway fatalities today, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to stay alert and obey traffic laws in an effort to break the consecutive streak of carnage. To date, more than 45,000 people have been killed on Texas roadways since Nov. 7, 2000.
“Having at least one person killed on a Texas road every single day for 13 years is a sobering reminder that we must drive carefully and do everything in our power to stay focused behind the wheel,” said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “These people are our spouses, children, friends and neighbors, and losing them to traffic deaths has a profound and permanent impact on their families. This staggering number of fatalities needs to stop increasing every 24 hours, and taking personal responsibility for our driving habits is the first step.”
Texas has not had a fatality-free day since Nov. 7, 2000. Since then, 45,032 motor vehicle traffic deaths have occurred on Texas roadways. Despite a steady decline in traffic fatalities in recent years, Texas saw an 11-percent increase in fatalities from 2011 to 2012.
A leading cause of traffic fatalities continues to be alcohol. To date, 13,544 alcohol-related fatalities have been recorded since Nov. 7, 2000. Distracted driving also is a leading cause of roadway deaths. Since Jan. 1, 2008, there have been 2,719 fatalities caused by distracted driving. There also have been 5,469 unrestrained vehicle occupants killed since Jan. 1, 2008.
To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT reminds drivers to:
· Pay attention – put phone down and avoid distractions
· Buckle seatbelt – all passengers need to be buckled
· Drive speed limit – always follow speed limits and drive safer speeds when weather or conditions are present
· Never drink and drive – drunk driving kills; get a sober ride home