Earlier this month, we marked 21 years of daily deaths on Texas roadways, a period during which more than 75,000 lives were lost to preventable crashes.
Let that sink in: there hasn’t been a single day since November 7, 2000, — the day we went to the polls to cast our votes for George W. Bush and Al Gore, — without at least one Texan killed in a traffic crash. In the last year alone, traffic crashes have claimed the lives of more than 4,200 Texans, an average of about 12 people every day.
The carnage on Texas roads is an emergency and should be treated like one, but TxDOT, which two years ago signaled its commitment to “end the streak” of daily deaths by signing on to a National Safety Council-sponsored effort known as Road to Zero, and setting targets to cut traffic deaths in half by 2035, and altogether eliminate traffic deaths in Texas by 2050.
Since then, however, TxDOT slashed the funding for this commitment: The program had a budget of $600 million for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, but in their 2022 Unified Transportation Program, it no longer has a dime.
TxDOT is a powerful agency with the ability to set the tone on safety across the state. People are going to die on Texas roads in the months and years to come. How TxDOT decides to approach safety will determine how many. We urge TxDOT to recommit to the goals outlined by their Road to Zero commitment, and to fully fund the initiatives that will achieve those goals.