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Texas DOT launches 'Be Safe, Drive Smart' campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 20:34:13-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas —  Texas Department of Transportation launched their Be Safe, Drive Smart campaign Thursday morning, urging drivers to watch out for pedestrians as they saw numbers rise in traffic crashes involving pedestrians.

“TxDOT Be Safe, Drive Smart campaign urges drivers and pedestrians to watch out for each other as pedestrian deaths continue to rise,” said Bob Colwell, public information officer, TxDOT-Bryan District.

Colwell says it’s important for drivers and pedestrians to look out for one another.

“To keep our most vulnerable road users safe, we are urging motorists to always be on the lookout for people walking,” said Colwell. “Pedestrians also have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and follow the rules of the road.”

Daniel and Miguel Tavarez are students at Texas A&M University and say they are always watching their surroundings.

“If I’m staying late at Zachary’s, I usually walk at night or get my bike or something like that,” said Daniel and Miguel Tavarez. “There’s usually not a lot of cars here, but sometimes, if I have to go to a friend’s house over here late at night, usually it’s important to make sure that there’s light everywhere and make sure they see you.”

TxDOT says pedestrians account for one in five traffic fatalities in Texas and share how many of those crashes happened here in the Bryan/College Station area just last year.

Going into their sophomore year at Texas A&M, the Tavarez brothers say it’s important to be careful as the campus sits in a busy part of town.

“Watch out, especially on these busy roads like University or Texas Avenue,” they said. “People are on their phones. They don’t pay attention sometimes and you have to make sure before you cross, stop, look both ways [and] make sure everyone’s paying attention. Make sure you look at the driver and make sure they see you.”

Colwell says in Texas, over 5,300 traffic crashes involving pedestrians occurred last year, killing over 840 people.

“Only one percent of the traffic crashes in Texas involve pedestrians, yet pedestrians account for 19 percent of all roadway deaths,” said Colwell.

The Tavarez brothers say you can do your part by being visible at all times.

“It’s important to have reflectors on your bike,” said Tavarez. “If you’re walking, maybe don’t wear black at night. Try to wear like white or bright colors so they can see you.”

Colwell says in the Brazos County district, there were over 80 traffic crashes last year.

“There were 31 traffic crashes involving pedestrians resulting in three fatalities and 12 serious injuries,” said Colwell. “As you can see, in our heavily involved area, we had 31 out of the 82 that were in Bryan/College Station.

Colwell urges Texans to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities.

“Every life we can save, is one more,” said Colwell. “Our goal is to get to mission zero, no deaths on our Texas roadways.”

With seeing a 15 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities, TxDOT is hopeful this campaign will remind drivers and pedestrians to be safe and look out for one another.

To read more on the Be Safe, Drive Smart campaign, visit here: Pedestrian Safety (txdot.gov)