Pedestrian Deaths Continue to Rise in Texas
Transportation officials warn that pedestrian deaths are continuing to increase in Texas, and now account for 1 in 5 of all traffic fatalities.
Traffic crashes took the lives of 3,150 pedestrians in Texas from 2015 to 2019, according to the Texas Department of Texas. In 2019 alone, 5,975 traffic crashes involving pedestrians occurred in Texas, resulting in 669 deaths, a 5% increase in fatalities over the previous year. Another 1,317 people were seriously injured.
Crash reports from law enforcement indicate the two leading causes for pedestrian fatalities are: 1) pedestrians failing to follow traffic safety laws and being struck when crossing streets and roadways, and 2) motorists failing to yield the right of way, driving distracted or driving too fast. Alcohol also is a factor in pedestrian-related crashes, deaths and injuries.
Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users because they aren’t equipped with protective equipment, such as airbags, seat belts and bumpers.
Since 2015, TxDOT has spent $153 million in federal and state funding to upgrade sidewalks, curbs and striping for pedestrian accessibility, safety and mobility. In addition, during that same time, TxDOT awarded $116 million in grant funding to support more than 120 locally sponsored projects that provide safe routes to schools, multiuse pathways, sidewalks and bike paths in rural and small urban areas.
TxDOT is launching a unique, socially distanced outreach campaign near intersections and high traffic areas in the state’s major cities to call attention to this reality and deliver messages where people most need to see them — at street level. This “walking billboard” public education effort will use stark, attention-grabbing visuals reminding motorists and pedestrians that “pedestrians don’t come with airbags” and “you can’t fix a pedestrian at a body shop.”
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