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Traffic Safety Information
Talk, Text, Crash:
In 2019, there were 561,582 traffic crashes on our Texas road. From that figure, drivers were distracted in 97,853 of those accidents or 17.4%. In addition, these distracted drivers resulted in 378 deaths and 2,500 serious injuries in Texas. Effective September 1, 2017, state law prohibits drivers from reading, writing, or sending electronic message(s) on mobile phones while driving. TxDOT is asking all drivers to always keep their eyes and attention on the road and avoid distractions of any kind. While cell phone usage is the most recognizable driving distraction, TxDOT also urges drivers to avoid these high-risk behind-the-wheel activities:
- Programming a Navigation System
- Checking Email
- Posting on Social Media
- Adjusting Music or Podcasts
Safety Belts Save Lives:
Buckle Up! The number of people who don't buckle up doubles to 16 percent at night, when more fatalities occur. Wearing a safety belt improves survival by 50 percent for front seat passengers during a crash. Wearing lap and shoulder belts (combined with air bags) is the most effective way to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in traffic collisions. Texas law now requires drivers and all passengers in vehicles to be secured in a safety belt.
Safety Belts are most effective when used properly:
- Lap belts should sit snugly across the hips, not over the stomach.
- Shoulder belts go over the shoulder and across the center of the chest.
- Never tuck a shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.
Guidelines for buckling up from birth to 8 years of age.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. As a bicyclist, you should obey all traffic laws, including the following:
- Stop at red lights and stop signs
- Pay attention to lane markers
- Ride near the curb, traveling in the same direction as traffic
- Use a light on the front and a red reflector or red light on the back of your bike while riding at night.
Remember to use proper signals when you want to stop or turn. For a left turn, stretch your arm to the left; for a right turn, stretch your arm to the right. For a stop, hold your left arm downward.
Tips for Bicyclists:
- Wear a properly fitted helmet to reduce the chances of head injury and death. (Some cities and counties require cyclists to wear helmets. Contact local law enforcement for more information.)
- Also check brakes and tires before riding.
- Make it easier for drivers to see you by wearing light colors or reflective clothing.
Tips for Drivers:
- Be on the lookout for cyclists on the highway, especially at intersections.
- If you're passing a bicyclist, move to another lane if possible and give them plenty of room.
- Watch for riders who may need to maneuver around potholes and debris.
Share the Road - Look Twice for Motorcycles:
TxDOT's motorcycle safety and public awareness campaign urges motorist to look twice for motorcycles especially at intersections and when changing lanes, the two places where serious motorcycle collisions commonly occur.
On average, a motorcyclist dies in a crash on Texas roads every day. In 2019, 412 riders lost their lives and 1,812 were seriously injured in motorcycle crashes. More than half of all fatal motorcycle crashes result from a car or truck colliding with it, often because drivers simply didn't see it or misjudge how close it is and how fast it's traveling. The small size of motorcycles compared to other vehicles on the road means they can appear to be farther away than they are, and it's easy to misjudge their speed. The combination of congested roadways, distracted driving, and the difficulty of seeing motorcycles in traffic has led to far too many preventable fatalities each year.
Tips for Safely Sharing the Road with Motorcycles:
- Look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections
- Obey posted speed limits
- Use your turn signals and check your blind spot(s) before changing lanes
- Don't follow a motorcycle too closely.
- Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear to be
- Give motorcyclists a full lane
Move Over or Slow Down:
The state's Move Over/Slow Down law, which traditionally has required drivers to yield to police, fire and emergency vehicles, has been expanded to provide the same protection for TxDOT workers. Effective September 1, 2013, drivers must move over or slow down when approaching TxDOT workers and vehicles that are stopped with overhead flashing blue or amber lights.
The new addition to the Move Over law required motorists to move out of the lane closest to a TxDOT vehicle when possible OR reduce their speed to 20 miles below the posted limit. If the road does not offer multiple lanes, the driver must slow down. On roadways with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduced their speed to 5 miles per hour.
Resources: Public Service Announcements (txdot.gov)