In an effort to curb pedestrian accidents, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has launched its annual “Be Safe. Drive Smart” safety campaign, coinciding with National Pedestrian Safety Month this October. According to a TxDOT release, the state witnessed the highest number of pedestrian-related accidents during the same month in the previous year. This spike is attributed in part to the diminishing daylight hours as fall and winter descend, making it more challenging for both drivers and pedestrians to navigate the roads safely.
TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams emphasized the shared responsibility of drivers and pedestrians in ensuring road safety. He urged motorists to remain vigilant, especially during reduced visibility periods, and called on pedestrians to adopt precautionary measures to enhance their visibility to drivers.
Highlighting the importance of pedestrian safety, 19-year-old Misael Rico shared his harrowing experience when he was just 6 years old.
In January 2011, Misael was walking to Farine Elementary School in Irving with his mom when a distracted driver crashed into them, dragging him underneath the car. Witnesses saw the driver was texting while driving through the school zone.
The incident left him in a coma for six months, facing uncertain prospects of walking or talking again. Despite the odds, Misael persevered, eventually starting college in 2023 and becoming an advocate for pedestrian safety. His nonprofit organization, ‘United Voice Alive,’ collaborates with renowned groups like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers to raise awareness about road safety. Misael stressed the constant danger on the roads, emphasizing the need for collective vigilance.
Misael’s story resonates deeply with his mother, Paola Rico, who expressed her pride in her son’s advocacy work. She called for a united effort from everyone to pledge to drive responsibly and share the road, envisioning a safer world for all.
Misael Rico knows the consequences of texting while driving. At age 6, he was run over by a distracted driver. Now, the survivor is using his voice to urge drivers to stay focused behind the wheel. This Great Big Story was made by @att and @itcanwait. pic.twitter.com/nqKlR7WTT2— Great Big Story (@greatbigstory) September 17, 2019
To tackle the alarming rise in pedestrian accidents, TxDOT shared essential safety tips for both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers are advised to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, especially when turning, and to exercise caution around stopped buses and vehicles that might obscure pedestrians from view. Motorists are also reminded to put away their phones, adhere to speed limits, and drive according to prevailing conditions.
Pedestrians, on the other hand, are encouraged to cross streets only at designated intersections and crosswalks after checking for oncoming traffic. Making eye contact with drivers before crossing, obeying traffic signals, avoiding distractions from electronic devices, and ensuring visibility through reflective materials or flashlights, especially at night, are crucial precautions to take.
November 7, 2000, marked the last day without a death on Texas roadways.