NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is hoping a sobering new message on highway digital message boards will help save lives in the state.
The advisory flashing on the boards lets drivers know that 1785 people have died on Texas roads this year, and it reminds us all to slow down and be safe.
TxDOT officials say the effort is meant to remind drivers that driving deserves their full attention every time they get behind the wheel.
“We want to just point out that there are this many people that have died and it’s a result of many things, from drinking and driving, to texting, to not wearing your seatbelt. And anything that we can do to raise that awareness we’re gonna do,” TxDOT spokesman Mark Pettit explained.
While the number of people killed in Texas crashes has declined some 21-percent since 2003, in 2011 there were still 3015 people killed on Texas roads.
“When you’ve got 25 million people in the state it might not seem so bad,” Pettit said. “When you’re losing as many as 250 people a month we just find it ridiculous and we want to make sure we do everything we can to raise awareness.”
TxDOT officials say new and updated year-to-date traffic death numbers will be displayed for one week, every month.
“We think that pointing out the number of deaths that have occurred so far this year will make somebody think twice maybe about whether they should pick up that cell phone and text somebody, or whether they should buckle that seatbelt,” Pettit said.
In addition to the 3000+ traffic fatalities, more than 79,000 people were seriously injured in Texas crashes in 2011. For the entire year there were no deathless days on Texas roadways.
Referring to the traffic deaths campaign Pettit said, “It’s meant to raise awareness in the public about driver safety. We want to make sure that people get from point A to point B safely.”
TxDOT has more than 700 digital message boards along state highways.
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