Citizens driving down Texas highways are about to come face to face with the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) newest effort to improve highway safety. TxDOT will display the number of deaths on Texas roads this year on electronic billboards on the side of highways.
For now, the billboards will read "1785 deaths this year on Texas roads." The statistics will be updated as more fatalities occur on Texas roads. The billboard will display the updated statistics for one week each month. There are currently more than 700 electronic billboards on Texas highways.
Officials hope that the signs will remind drivers to be safe on the roads by raising public awareness of the risks. They believe the message will make drivers think twice before engaging in unsafe behaviors such as texting while driving, speeding, drinking, or riding without a seat belt. These behaviors can put everyone on the road at risk of injury or death.
Many Texans were glad to see the signs going up. Some said seeing the fatality statistics will remind them to be more careful drivers. Others expressed concerns that it was shocking and scary to see the number. Overall, drivers seemed to think the signs could do a lot to fix the problem.
The number of fatal crashes in Texas has declined in recent years by 21 percent. Still, the number remains high overall. In 2011, there were 3,015 fatalities on Texas roads. There was at least one death per day that year. Texas has lost as many as 250 people in a single month in traffic accidents.
Source: CBSNews, "Now Read This: Texas traffic death figures to be display on highway billboards," Barry Leibowitz, August 24, 2012
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