I live in a city of around 200,000 residents. Traveling around town is fairly easy because of our highway system. The city limits are encircled by Highway Loop 335. Amarillo is intersected east/west by I-40 and US 66, and north/south by US 287/I-27. It is sort of like a pie cut into 4 pieces by highways.
If I go anywhere in town I use these highways --- usually multiple highways, multiple times a day. I see a fair amount of billboards, although those are becoming extinct. However, there are some very sobering new signs. Last year Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) started posting the number of deaths on Texas highways on extremely large digital signs along Texas highways.
Every time I drive to my son or daughter's homes I pass a TxDOT sign. Yesterday, in large red lights on a dark background it said:
3,061 deaths on Texas roads this year
and it was wrong. I believe the sign is updated once a week and I know that 4 people died on roads & highways in or around Amarillo just in the past few days. I have no idea how many deaths in the state for this week.
The point of having the signs is that maybe Texas drivers will think before they drink and drive, text and drive, speed, fail to buckle up, or whatever impairs their driving. It does me. It makes me think. I see that sign and I think 3,061 souls left home one morning and didn't ever come back. In a second their family's lives were changed forever. Do I slow down, pay more attention, drive more careful? You betcha.
I don't know about anywhere else, but here in my city it was common to see someone driving and talking on a cell phone until last year's law went into effect. From my observation not too many people are complying with the law as of yet. Is it a stupid thing to do? Yes! I recently heard on the news that Texas is way up there on the list of states with terrible drivers.
As per TxDOT reports, there was not a deathless day on Texas roads in 2012. There was a total of 3,399 deaths on Texas roads last year. On average a person was killed every 2 hours and 35 minutes.There were 63,610 serious injury crashes in Texas last year with 87,087 people sustaining a serious injury.
A young woman ran a red light while looking down at her GPS and hit me last year. While I suffered a concussion, broken bones & a totaled vehicle I realize my wreck would not even be considered a serious injury crash. I have no idea how many less severe wrecks occurred.
If you are driving somewhere for Christmas, please be careful. Make it home in one piece. And before you drive away tell your family you love them.