AUSTIN, Texas — “Traditionally, October through January, those are what we call the darker months,” Glynda Chu, spokesperson for Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), said.
TxDOT tracks wrecks involving pedestrians. State data shows more pedestrians are hit in October than any other month.
“That's when people can't see pedestrians as easily because it gets darker early,” Chu said.
Chu said it’s why TxDOT launched its “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign in October.
In addition to traditional advertisement, more than 30 teams will hold display signs in areas prone for pedestrian-related wrecks.
“Pedestrian traffic fatalities increased by 15% in Texas in 2021. The State saw 5,366 traffic crashes involving pedestrians last year, resulting in 841 fatalities and 1,470 serious injuries,” a press release to KVUE news showed.
In Travis County, the data shows most minor injuries happened because the vehicle didn’t give the pedestrian the right-of-way, such as in a crosswalk.
Serious and fatal injuries were usually because the pedestrian didn’t legally cross.
In 2017, in our investigation, Dangerous by Design, the KVUE Defenders pointed out intersections where design made it more dangerous for pedestrians.
Austin made some changes to intersections and road designs throughout the city. Those changes helped decrease pedestrian-involved wrecks, especially in targeted areas such as North Lamar between US 183 and Braker Lane.
“Most of these are happening not at intersections. They're not at a crosswalk. We've seen several recently on I-35. People are crossing the streets and crossing busy streets,” Chu said.
State data shows 207 wrecks involving pedestrians along Interstate 35 in Travis County in the past five years. Both 2019 and 2021 had the most, with more than 40 wrecks.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign is part of the #EndTheStreakTX program, which aims to reduce overall fatal wrecks.
According to TxDOT, Nov. 7, 2000, was the last day where the State had zero fatalities on Texas roadways.
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