TXDOT urges motorists to drive smart as pedestrian deaths rise in East Texas

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ATLANTA, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) says that pedestrian deaths are on the rise in Texas, and motorists need to watch out for pedestrians, and visa versa.

Across the state in 2021, over 5,366 traffic crashes involving pedestrians occurred, and as a result, 841 people were killed, a 15% increase in pedestrian fatalities over the previous year. Another 1,470 people were seriously injured.

In the Atlanta district last year, there were 48 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 9 fatalities and 19 serious injuries.

“Every single death leaves a family and a community devastated,” Atlanta district Engineer Buddy Williams said. “We must watch for pedestrians at all times. That includes constantly scanning your surroundings, eliminating distractions and driving to conditions. A large portion, 86% of pedestrian deaths in Texas, did not occur at an intersection.”

TXDOT executive director Marc Williams says that while one percent of traffic crashes involve pedestrians, 19% of all roadway fatalities involve pedestrians.

“That’s because pedestrians lack the protective equipment—airbags, seat belts and bumpers—common to vehicles,” Williams said. “To keep our most vulnerable road users safe, we urge motorists to always be on the lookout for people walking. Pedestrians also have the responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and follow the rules of the road.”

Crash reports from law enforcement indicate the leading factors of pedestrian-related traffic crashes include 1) pedestrians failing to yield the right of way to vehicles, 2) driver inattention, 3) motorists failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, 4) failure to control speed, and 5) drivers and/or pedestrians being under the influence of alcohol.

Red Sox Holds Off

Here are some tips from TXDOT drivers should keep in mind:

  • Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
  • Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles.
  • Pay attention and put your phone away, so you’re always prepared if pedestrians enter your path.
  • Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions.

Here are some tips for pedestrians:

  • 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 drivers see you.
  • Follow all traffic and crosswalk signals.
  • Use the sidewalk. If there isn’t one, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
  • When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.