AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Texas Department of Transportation Amarillo Division announced that area officials and agencies will join at the Potter County Courthouse on Monday to raise awareness about impaired and distracted driving, as Texas approaches the 23rd anniversary of its last deathless day on state roadways.
According to TxDOT, officials will join representatives from the Potter County and Randall County sheriff’s offices, Amarillo Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies and entities at 2 p.m. on Monday at the Potter County Courthouse, located at 500 S Fillmore St.
The event, said TxDOT, comes just before Nov. 7, which will mark 23 years since the last day that there was not a death on Texas roadways. The event is expected to focus on TxDOT’s ongoing efforts to #EndTheStreakTX, including discussing the impact of driving while distracted or impaired and featuring the story of Amarillo City Councilmember Tom Scherlen.
As previously reported on MyHighPlains.com, Amarillo Police Officer Justin Scherlen – Councilmember Scherlen’s son – was severely injured while on duty in September 2015 when a driver crashed head-on with his vehicle while he was responding to an accident.
Officer Scherlen died from complications caused by his injuries in 2016, as noted by TxDOT, and the person who crashed into his vehicle was charged with intoxicated assault on a police officer and aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.
TxDOT noted that so far in 2023 there had been 51 fatal crashes in the Amarillo District, which have resulted in the deaths of 56 people. In 2022 there were 99 fatalities from motor vehicle traffic crashes in the area. The top five contributing factors for those crashes, said TxDOT, were:
- Failure to control speed;
- Failure to drive in a single lane;
- Alcohol intoxication;
- Wrong side-not passing; and
- Drug intoxication.
TxDOT also noted that since Nov. 7, 2000, the last deathless day on Texas roadways, there have been 83,611 deaths from motor vehicle traffic crashes across the state.