The Texas Department of Transportation is launching a safety campaign to remind drivers and pedestrians to slow down, be alert, and obey traffic laws.
It’s an addition to their Be Safe, Drive Smart campaign with a push for pedestrian safety.
Although walking may seem inherently safe, the number of accidents this past year involving pedestrians shows that walking also can be deadly.
The goal of this campaign is to remind pedestrians and drivers of the shared responsibility to keep themselves and others safe while on the road.
“The simple way to achieve safety from motorists and pedestrians is to slow down, be alert, and follow all traffic signs,” said TxDOT Public Information Officer Rickey Dailey.
Last year there were 152 traffic crashes involving pedestrians in Corpus Christi, which resulted in 22 fatalities and 33 serious injuries.
“Pedestrian deaths in Texas are still a serious problem," Dailey said. "Last year there were almost 6,000 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, and that resulted in 632 deaths and 1,205 serious injuries."
The top factors that cause many of these crashes are drivers' inattention, and pedestrians failing to yield the right of away to vehicles.
“The best thing to do is use a sidewalk if it’s available," Dailey said. "If the sidewalk is not available, walk on the left-hand side of the road facing traffic. This may be the most important tip for pedestrians to stay safe: always cross the street at an intersection or at a marked crosswalk."
Another factor that plays into pedestrian accidents is not paying attention while using electronic devices.
“Drivers should not be texting or talking on the phone; pedestrians, the same rule applies to you," he said. "If you need to take a call, if you need to send a text, stop and move away from the road and take your text or make your call."
Last year in Texas, the greatest number of traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian fatalities occurred during the 9 p.m. hour.
“So if you are walking at that time wear light clothing, not dark clothing so the motorists can see you," Dailey said. "For drivers, what can you do? When you are at an intersection, give the pedestrian the right of way."
Remember, as a pedestrian your eyes and ears are your best tools for staying safe.
TxDOT offers the following tips to help keep pedestrians safe.
If you are driving:
• Reduce your speed when approaching crosswalks, and stop for pedestrians.
• Yield the right of way to pedestrians when turning.
• Be careful when passing buses or stopped vehicles.
• Stay alert and put your phone away — pedestrians may enter your path suddenly.
• Obey the speed limit and drive to conditions.
If you are walking:
• Use sidewalks whenever they’re available. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
• Always cross at intersections or marked crosswalks. Look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.
• Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Never assume a driver sees you.
• Be visible. Wear something light or reflective after dark.
• Don’t be distracted by devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
• As a passenger, get in or out of a vehicle on the curbside of the street.
Whether you are driving or walking, alcohol can impair your judgment, coordination and reaction times.