AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – As Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, full of opportunities for travel and recreation, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reminded community members not only of safe traveling habits, but also of multiple ongoing safety initiatives.
TxDOT advised that travelers take frequent breaks on long-distance trips, and suggested using one of the safety rest areas and Travel Information Centers across the state.
Further, TxDOT reviewed a number of its safety initiatives, including:
Click It or Ticket
TxDOT noted that it recently kicked off the 20th anniversary of its Click It or Ticket campaign, alongside other local law enforcement and community agencies. TxDOT District Engineer Blair Johnson, P.E., said that since its launch in 2002, the campaign has saved nearly 7,000 lives: however, an average of one in 10 people have continued not to buckle their seat belts.
“In 2021, that translated into 1,226 traffic deaths in which the occupants failed to wear seatbelts,” Johnson said, “These tragedies are preventable – it’s a simple step that only takes a few seconds but could easily save a life.”
Law enforcement agencies, according to TxDOT, are expected to increase patrols during the Memorial Day holiday weekend to ticket drivers and passengers who are not using their seat belts.
Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles
TxDOT described its annual “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign as intended to raise awareness to the safety precautions motorists need to take to protect motorcyclists.
According to TxDOT, there were 2,318 serious injuries among motorcyclists in Texas in 2021, and 519 deaths. With that in mind, officials offered tips for drivers aimed at preventing crashing and protecting motorcyclists:
- Take extra care when making a left turn
- Pay special attention at intersections
- Give driving your full attention
- Look twice when changing lanes
- Give motorcyclists room when passing them
- Stay back
- Slow down
“Texas posts speed limits so you know how fast you should drive under normal conditions,” said TxDOT officials, “Speed limit signs encourage you to travel at safe speeds to get you to your destination safely in the shortest possible time. Texas speed limits are the law, and they are strictly enforced across the state.”
TxDOT noted that observing speed limits means more than driving faster or slower than a posted speed. Whether a driver meets with rain, fog, congestion, or construction zones, officials suggested tips including:
- Slow down and allow for more distance to stop
- Look out for flashing beacons warning of intersections
- Look for pavement markings to guide you
- Watch for signs alerting you of reduced speed limits ahead
Plan While You Can
TxDOT also reminded that drivers under the influence of alcohol not only risk killing or seriously injuring themselves or others, but also face up to $17,000 in fines and fees, jail time, and the loss of their license. Officials suggested alternatives to drinking alcohol and driving, including:
- Designating a sober driver or calling someone for a sober ride home
- Contacting a cab or ride-share service
- Using mass transit
- Spending the night
While those listed were just a few of TxDOT’s active safety initiatives, officials noted that they all serve as key components of the department-wide effort to end the streak of traffic-related deaths in Texas.