WACO, TX — Texas hasn't had a deathless day on the roadways in the past 20 years.
It's certainly not something to celebrate, but something for daily drivers to be aware of.
It's so important to stay alert, wear a seat belt, stay off the phone and be cautious of other drivers and construction sites. In 20 years, there have been more an 70,000 deaths. Most all of them were preventable.
One thousand of those deaths were due to someone not wearing their seat belt.
Central Texas has had its share of roadway deaths. In Sept. of 2019, Falls County Deputy Matt Jones was killed in a crash while helping another vehicle on the side of the road.
Trooper Thomas Nipper with Texas DPS was also killed during a traffic stop in early Nov. 2017.
Debbie and Ronnie Jones, Matt's parents, wish their son were alive today. Now, they have only memories of his bright personality.
"He would do anything for anybody, regardless if he had a badge or not," Debbie Jones said.
Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan believes ending this streak is possible, but will require every Texan’s commitment.
“Last year, 20 Texas counties actually had zero deaths on their roadways – that tells me we can end the streak of daily deaths in Texas,” Ryan said. “This is why in 2019, the Texas Transportation Commission adopted a new goal of having zero deaths on our roadways by 2050, and to cut the number of fatalities in half by 2035. We will do our part; and we need drivers to do theirs.”
TxDot is launching a new campaign called #EndTheStreakTX to hopefully have one day where not a single person dies from a Texas roadway accident.
It was raining the day Deputy Jones died and with slick roads comes more room for accidents.
"We think about Matt so much, and how we wish he was here. We think about sometimes to the accident," Debbie Jones said.
"That how needless it was because people can't slow down on a bad road," Ronnie Jones said.
An average of 10 people die every day in crashes in the state.
Keeping their son's memory alive, Debbie and Ronnie Jones are advocates of being aware when sitting behind the wheel. They are raising money for organizations and preaching the importance of driver safety.
"They have a hard job, they put their lives on the line everyday," Debbie Jones said.
TxDOT asks that when you get behind the wheel buckle up; pay attention and avoid all distractions like phones, never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, watch your speed, and always drive to the conditions around you.
"Just use common sense, common sense when you're driving," Debbie Jones said.