The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is urging drivers to remain extra vigilant for pedestrians and cyclists as deaths continue to increase.
Pedestrians and “pedalcyclists” were involved in 7,631 car crashes in 2021, according to data from TxDOT. Out of that number, 90 cyclists and 824 pedestrians died from the incident.
These numbers represented a significant increase from 2020, with pedestrian deaths climbing 15.24% and cyclist deaths rising 13.92%. Overall, fatalities from vehicles jumped 15.22%.
Out of 4,489 traffic-related deaths, cyclists and pedestrians accounted for 20.36% of fatalities.
The Lisa Torry Smith Act was passed in 2021 and named after a Texas mother who was killed by a car while walking her son to school. The law made it a crime if a driver hits pedestrians or cyclists who were using a crosswalk.
Additional safety efforts and awareness programs by TxDOT have been aimed at breaking the streak of days that have seen a fatal car crash on Texas roads. Every day since November 7, 2000, someone has passed away due to a car-related accident in Texas.
In 2021, the least deadly day was March 2, with a single death. Inversely, October 22 registered the most accident-related deaths, at 27.
Dallas County experienced 55,634 crashes in 2021, causing 352 deaths. Most of those incidents occurred within city limits, with Dallas itself seeing 35,355 accidents and 227 fatalities.
TxDOT urges drivers to “be courteous, … always buckle up,” and “pay attention, focus on driving when behind the wheel, put the phone away.” The department has also employed human billboards, highlighting the need for pedestrian awareness.