State continues 23-year streak of a death on Texas roads every day

Posted at 3:06 PM, Apr 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-03 21:57:42-04

WACO, Texas — The state of Texas is seeing roads get more and more dangerous every year.

The Texas Department of Transportation said there is a 23-year streak of a death on Texas roads every single day. They say the streak can be broken, but it's going to take everyone working together.

"We can do this, but we have to work together and do these things," said Jake Smith of TxDOT. "We have to buckle up, we have to mind our speed, we have to pay attention, we have to make sure we aren't drinking and driving."

According to the department's most recent data, 4,489 people died in traffic fatalities in 2021, up 15.2 percent from the year prior.

"There are basic action items drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists can do to ensure that we are protecting ourselves and others," Smith said.

TxDOT recommends drivers watch their speed, limit distractions, and follow laws like move over, slow down. The law states drivers must move over when they see construction workers, first responders or emergency vehicles on the side of the road. If you can't move over, you have to slow down 20 miles per hour.

"The law is in place to protect the roadside workers, to ensure they can complete their task and also to protect the traveling public," Smith said.

The city of West lost volunteer firefighter Eddie Hykel last week when he was killed while responding to a crash on I-35.

Former police chief Darryl Barton told 25 News that Hykel did everything right while responding to the crash.

"There was a firetruck blocking the scene, there was patrol cars," he said. "There was no reason to think everything wasn't already in place to protect the personnel that was there."

He went on to say Hykel's death will leave a hole in their community.

"When we lose a first responder, we're not just losing a first responder who stepped up to protect us," Barton said. "We're not just losing that first responder, we're losing a family member."

To prevent anymore loses to families in Texas, TxDOT hopes this will remind people to drive safer every time they're on their road.