AUSTIN (KXAN) — For more than two decades, the Texas Department of Transportation has reported at least one death every single day on state roadways.
Tuesday marked the 23rd anniversary of the last day Texas went without any traffic fatalities, with the last death-free day marked on Nov. 7, 2000. TxDOT officials said that streak nearly ended this year in February, when one death was reported compared to the average 12 traffic fatalities that happen on state roads each day.
In the 23 years of continuous roadway deaths, more than 83,000 people have died as a result of a Texas-based crash.
“Each life lost means a family, neighborhood and community are impacted for a lifetime, and we take safety very seriously as we work to end this horrible streak,” TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams said in a release. “But it’s going to take all of us working together to get this done.”
Officials added TxDOT’s latest 10-year plan allocates $17 billion toward safety efforts on state roads. Those include:
- Increasing pavement striping size from four inches to six inches, which officials said improves visibility and can inadvertently encourage drivers to slow down
- Creating wider centerline buffer separating double yellow stripes, as well as adding rumble strips/raised pavement markers on undivided highways to notify drivers when they veer over the centerline
- Constructing innovative intersections like roundabouts, as possible, to try and minimize intersection fatalities
Officials said nearly half of traffic deaths are due, in part, to people not wearing their seatbelt. Some measures TxDOT encouraged people to take include:
- Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Adhere to traffic laws
- Always wear seatbelts while in a vehicle
More details on Texas’ “End the Streak” safety campaign are available online.