Texas Roads Play a Significant Role in Serious Injuries and Fatalities

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Houston Chronicle wrote on November 21, 2021, on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, calling for the leaders of TxDOT to accept responsibility for the death toll on Texas roads, and to renew funding and staffing accordingly.

In 2019 TxDOT launched a program to reduce traffic deaths, called Road To Zero, where they planned to reduce traffic fatalities by 50 percent by 2035 and eliminate them completely by 2050. However, this year they slashed its budget to zero in order to fund massive highway expansions, which will result in more total miles driven. Meanwhile, TxDOT blames drivers for the fatalities.

The article highlights some shocking stats:

  • The UN reports that traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for worldwide individuals between 5 and 19. Pedestrians and bicyclists are especially vulnerable, more so in low-income areas that have less infrastructure.
  • TxDOT reports that for 21 consecutive years Texas has had one or more preventable fatalities on its roads every single day, totaling 75,000 traffic deaths during this period.
  • In the last 12 months 4,200 people have lost their lives on Texas roads, averaging 12 per day. This is equivalent to “30 fully-loaded commercial flights every year.”

There is no question that our state can do better to reduce the carnage on our roads.  We can and must do better.  State officials diverting funds designated to improve safety is no better than companies putting profit ahead of safety.  We must use the funds designated for safety fixes not as a slush fund to expand the next highway; we must use those funds to reduce or eliminate needless injuries and death in our state