DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE
Texans have a lot to be proud of — great football, tasty barbecue, a diverse landscape and lots of friendly people — but unfortunately the state also has a streak that state and local officials hope ends very soon.
Today marks 22 years — more than 8,030 days — since the last deathless day on Texas’ roads and highways, according to Jake Smith, a spokesman for TxDOT’s Waco division that includes a large chunk of Central Texas.
Smith said more than 79,000 lives have been lost since 2000 to preventable crashes. In an effort to bring awareness to vehicular safety, TxDOT created the End the Streak campaign.
The Waco district has partnered with various entities to get the word out on how drivers can do their part behind the wheel.
Temple Mayor Tim Davis said today that many local accidents are caused by motorists using cell phones.
“When your eyes are on your phone, they aren’t on the road,” Davis said. “Last year, Temple had 271 distracted driving crashes. Those crashes are 100 percent preventable. Put the phone down, and just drive. It could be a matter of life or death — let’s end the streak.”
Col. Chad Foster, Fort Hood garrison commander, said alcohol is a big culprit when it comes to driving fatalities in Texas.
“Drunk driving kills one person every eight hours in Texas,” Foster said. “If you have one drink, don’t drive.”
Laura Ryan, a TxDOT commissioner, said: “Everyone you know — your family, friends, co-workers — and all of your neighbors and fellow Texans are at risk every time we drive, especially if you choose to drive carelessly.”
“Be responsible,” Ryan said. “Be an example to your kids — be the driver you would want next to you, in front of you or behind you on the roadway. You have the power to help end this daily death streak on our roads.”