November 7, 2000 - it's an important date in Texas history.
No one person did anything fantastic, per se. In fact, it may be the only date we mark by something not happening.
It is the last day we've not seen, as a state, a fatality on Texas roads.
Every single day since, at least one Texas motorist has lost their life. Every day, millions of Texans get into a 2,000-plus pound implement that's proven to be one of the deadliest weapons our society has ever seen. They think nothing of it. Yet, somehow, an average of 10 people don't make it home each day.
Seriously. Let's look at the numbers together. Last year alone we lost 3,577 people statewide - that's right on par (maybe a tick above) our annual average over the last decade-plus. About one-third of these fatalities were due to alcohol-related crashes. Another third were folks not buckled properly. Another 482 of the deaths were because someone wanted to check a text, email, tweet or facebook post.
Locally, we saw 193 people die in Bexar County last year. That's nearly 4 people every week. That's more than twice the number of firearms-related deaths last year. Of those 193 people, 48 percent were killed in alcohol-related crashes.
Forty. Eight. Percent.
That's absolutely inexcusable for our wonderful area - one with such a rich position in Texas' history deserves more than such an ignominious claim.
These are senseless, easily preventable deaths that destroy families and rob too many of loved ones. Together, we can give Texas a fatality free day again. We can End The Streak. Here's what we're doing:
- Implement high engineering standards in building our highway system
- Ask our public partners to spread the word on traffic safety
- Involve every resource we have, from social to traditional media, to engage in educational campaigns regarding safe driving practices
We can build our roads as safe as possible, but if people continue to refuse to use the road safely and responsibly we will continue to have this problem. As drivers and passengers, we're asking you to:
- Make a commitment to ensure all occupants of your vehicle are properly buckled, every single time
- Decide now to never drink and drive; one drink is far too many if you're planning to get behind the wheel of a car
- Pay attention to driving while you're in the drivers' seat; it's not a phone booth or a desk to check emails at, it's a driver's seat
- Obey the posted speed limits and drive at safe speeds when inclement weather requires it
- Help us spread the word by changing your profile pic (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) to all black and share our PSAs via your own social media channels, or share your own story
Remember, when we get into a driver's seat, our full attention needs to be on driving - no exceptions. These cars we drive can quickly become lethal weapons aimed at everything our headlights cast a beam upon. We need to respect them as such, and treat them with greater care when we're driving. Most of these roadway fatalities are completely preventable.
So we'll leave this post with a simple question: what are you doing to make the roads a little safer for your family and the families of those all around you?