As fall brings less daylight, TxDOT urges drivers to be extra vigilant about protecting pedestrians
AUSTIN — Fall and winter months bring shorter days and less light, making it harder for drivers to see and safely avoid pedestrians. October saw the highest number of pedestrian crashes in 2022. That’s why TxDOT is using National Pedestrian Safety Month to continue its “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign and remind Texans that pedestrians are our most vulnerable road users.
When he was six years old, Misael Rico was walking to school with his mother when a distracted driver crashed into them, dragging him underneath the car. That night, doctors told his parents he might never walk or talk again. After countless surgeries and years of physical therapy, Rico started college this year and joined TxDOT to urge drivers to pay attention and watch for people walking.
Only one percent of crashes in Texas involve pedestrians, yet they make up 19% of all traffic deaths. In the last five years, pedestrian traffic fatalities in Texas increased 29.6%, reflecting nationwide trends. In 2022, 5,764 traffic crashes involving pedestrians occurred in Texas, resulting in 829 deaths and 1,526 serious injuries.
“As we shift to fewer daylight hours, it’s up to drivers and pedestrians to adapt and help keep our roads safe,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “Motorists need to stay alert and look for people walking, and pedestrians can take measures to be seen by drivers who may be inattentive behind the wheel.”
TxDOT’s campaign includes TV and radio spots, billboards, and digital advertising. TxDOT will also bring more than 30 walking billboards—street teams wearing sandwich boards—to towns with the highest fatalities from pedestrian-related traffic crashes. TxDOT will deploy street teams to put pedestrian safety messages front and center in places where vehicles and pedestrians share the road.
TxDOT encourages everyone to follow these safety tips to prevent a deadly encounter: For drivers:
- Stop and yield for pedestrians in crosswalks.
- When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles that can block your view of pedestrians.
- Pay attention and put your phone away if pedestrians enter your path.
- Follow the posted speed limit and drive to the conditions.
For people walking:
- Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks. Look left, right, then left again before crossing.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Don’t assume traffic will stop for you.
- Follow all traffic and crosswalk signals.
- Put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road when walking.
- Stay visible. Wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” pedestrian safety campaign is a critical component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. Contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@TxDOT.gov or (512) 463-8700 for media inquiries.
The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). The department received and processed this information as of July 26, 2023. To view additional traffic safety data, visit TxDOT’s Traffic Safety Data Portal online.