ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With 23 deaths on Abilene roads so far, 2022 is now the deadliest year on record for traffic-related deaths within Abilene city limits. Abilene Police Department’s (APD) Sergeant John Ramirez says the department is doing all they can to fight against this concerning streak.

“These are citizens, these are people with families and we want to do our job to the best of our ability. Not only after the accidents happen, but to help prevent these from happening in the future,” said Sgt. Ramirez.

APD initiatives, like Operation: Slow Down helped by increasing police presence through the streets of Abilene over the summer, though Ramirez said Abilene drivers have the greatest ability to end this streak and make the roads a safer place.

“[For the] majority of these accidents, the contributing factor is going to be irresponsible driving,” Sgt. Ramirez advised.

Residents like Caitlyn Beard, who lives along Buffalo Gap Road, have had a roadside view of these dangerous conditions – many of which they can hear and see right from their living rooms.

“It doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately, because I’m on one of the busiest roads in Abilene. So I see it, I hear it… People come head-on all the time and I’ve swerved so many times having to go away from somebody who’s got into the middle,” Beard reported.

Near misses like Beard’s can just as easily turn dire when drivers aren’t paying attention. She said she’s seen them play out in real time.

“I walked outside and literally 30 yards that way,” Beard illustrated, “was an 18-wheeler that could have crashed into my house, you know?”

It’s an unpleasant reality that has potential to increase as Abilene continues to grow.

“We have to be a little bit more cautious because, you know, you put more people in a small room, you’re gonna start bumping elbows. Same thing with the streets,” explained Beard.

No matter how much the population may grow, 23 lives lost in Abilene is 23 too many.

“Be aware of your surroundings and ensure that no matter what, safety is your number one priority,” added Sgt. Ramirez.