Texas is known for the motto "drive friendly," but this month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says that won't be enough.
In unveiling the new "Drive Friendly. Drive Safe." campaign, TxDOT hopes the updated message will reach drivers and reduce the thousands of crashes and deaths on Texas roads every year. The campaign highlights some of the driving behaviors that continue to cause issues on our roadways: the need for drivers to pay attention to pedestrians, bicyclists and work zones, while also remembering to adjust their speed to the road conditions.
Each year, Texas sees high numbers of crashes and fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists; in fact, in 2011, vehicles struck thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists resulting in 418 pedestrian fatalities and 45 bicyclist fatalities. These statistics, combined with 14,617 work zone crashes resulting in 115 deaths, has prompted TxDOT's effort.
"As students return to school and throughout the year, remember to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. There's no better time to remind drivers to get back-to-basics when it comes to safety on our roads," Carol Rawson, director, Traffic Operations Division of TxDOT said. "We also want to remind our fellow Texans that TxDOT works year round to improve roads with upgrades and repairs; this work results in changing conditions on roadways, which is why it's extremely important for drivers to remain alert at all times."
Nationally, traffic safety issues continue to cause injuries and fatalities as well. In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 123 minutes and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. At the same time, 68 bicyclists were killed in the U.S. and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.
"The best way to drive friendly—the Texas way—is to drive safe and consider others on the road," Rawson said.
Drivers who fail to follow traffic laws will face significant consequences. These risks not only include possibly injuring or killing themselves or others but also fines and even jail time.