A recent review of four TxDOT districts shows the success of more than 130 miles of new cable barriers.
The cable barriers were installed in Lufkin, Pharr, Waco and Fort Worth using part of the $600 million Road To Zero funds allocated by the Texas Transportation Commission in 2019. Since being installed, the barriers have been hit and repaired 242 times.
“I’m going to assume that each of those 242 strikes was a potential fatality had that cable barrier not been there,” Commissioner Laura Ryan said.
As part of its Road to Zero safety initiative, TxDOT has completed 88 projects throughout the state, and more than 120 additional projects are currently under construction.
The work includes widening some roads and adding rumble strips that alert drivers if they are veering out of their lane or off the road. In addition, TxDOT is adding reinforced shoulders and select turn lanes, and deploying new technology that will increase safety on the entire system of roads.
State transportation departments received encouraging news earlier this month, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released projections showing the first quarterly decline in crash deaths since the earliest days of the pandemic.
In Texas, from January to August of this year there were 84 fewer fatalities compared to the same time in 2021. The state saw a 9-percent drop in distracted driving deaths and an 18-perecent decrease in work zone fatalities.
The new numbers offer a glimmer of hope after record increases in the number of people killed on roads in recent years. But still, officials say, the picture remains alarming.
“The numbers are hopeful news,” Ryan said. “But we have seen a record number of loved ones killed on our roads in recent years, and so the picture remains grim, and we must continue to be diligent in what we’re doing.”
Of the fatal crash categories TxDOT measures, the agency saw reductions in all but two—people killed not wearing a seat belt and bicyclist deaths.