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On Thursday, March 30th, the Texas Transportation Commission convened for their monthly meeting in Austin. As part of updates given by the four different commissioners, data related to 2022 fatal crashes were given by Commissioner Alvin New of San Angelo.
In his presentation, Commissioner New said there were 4,481 fatalities on Texas roads in 2022. That number averaged out to around 12.3 average deaths per day.
New also mentioned that the last deathless day on Texas roads was on November 7, 2000. Since then, there have been 81,068 fatalities from car crashes.
"There is a lot of work to be done, but there is a lot of work being done right now. TxDOT has been spending money on every project we initiate towards making our roads safer through the rumble strips program, the cable barriers program, the backlit and intersection ahead work to do a better job of letting people know a stop sign is coming." - Commissioner Alvin New
The Texas Transportation Commission has an "End the Streak" campaign, and there is a goal to have zero deaths by the year 2050 and half of the deaths by the year 2035.
In 2019, there were 3,623 fatalities from car accidents, so in Commissioner New's mind, there is an opportunity to cut traffic deaths down considerably to get closer to that 2019 number of 4,481.
Commissioner New believes that if law enforcement, TxDOT, engineers, and drivers through behavioral changes, that number could go down.
There are three emphasis areas for fatalities:
- DUI - 1,471 (with the number increasing)
- Speed-related - 1,465
- Unrestrained - 1,259
Those numbers roughly correlate with 32.8% of fatalities are DUI related, 32.7% is related to speed, and 28% being unrestrained (no seatbelt).
Sadly, 18% of fatalities involved pedestrians, with 828 fatalities in 2022.
Data also showed that 46% of fatalities come from 10% of people who are not wearing their seat belts.
At the end of this presentation, Commissioner New noted the importance of being a positive influence and working on those in vehicles to understand that not wearing a seatbelt increases the chance of dying in a fatality.
Why this matters: Sadly, there have been way too many traffic-related fatalities over the last 23 years. By working on better driving behavior, that number could go down if everyone who has a stake can work together to end the streak.
Disclosure: Commissioner Alvin New has been a financial supporter and advisor to the writer of this article. sanangelo.news relies on membership donations, subscriptions, ad revenue, and corporate sponsorships. However, financial supporters have no impact on editorial decisions.