Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


An anniversary of 18 years is normally a reason to celebrate. But not this anniversary.

Since Nov. 7, 2000, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

Monday added another day to the ‘streak.’

In an effort to end this deadly 18-year milestone, the Texas Department of Transportation, through its #EndTheStreakTX  campaign, reminds drivers it’s a shared responsibility among roadway users and engineers to keep our roads safe.  

“We all have the power to end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways,” said Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan. “Don’t drink and drive; put away the cell phone; buckle up; and obey traffic laws. Be the driver you would want next to you, in front of you or behind you. Together, we can end the streak.”

“It’s heartbreaking to know that every day for the past 18 years someone has lost a spouse, child, friend or neighbor on our state’s roadways,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Ending this deadly daily streak is a shared responsibility. We will continue to engineer our roads to be more forgiving of drivers’ errors, but we all must work toward ending such preventable contributing factors as distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving. Let’s make it a priority to be safe, focused and responsible behind the wheel. Let’s end the streak.”

To help raise awareness of this tragic, daily statistic, TxDOT is asking people to share personal stories of loved ones lost in car crashes on their social media pages using photo and video testimonials with the hashtag, #EndTheStreakTX. The agency also will be posting startling statistics for the public to repost on social media outlets to help share this important message.

Since Nov. 7, 2000, fatalities resulting from vehicle crashes on Texas roadways have numbered more than 66,000. The leading causes of fatalities continue to be a failure to stay in one lane, alcohol and speed. To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT reminds drivers to:

  • Buckle seatbelts – all passengers need to be buckled
  • Pay attention – put the phone away and avoid distractions
  • Never drink and drive – drunk driving kills; get a sober ride home
  • Drive the speed limit – obey speed limits and drive slower when weather conditions warrant

In Orange County, wrecks are a daily occurrence. Many of the wrecks have lead to a fatality. In front of Whataburger, on MacArthur Drive, is memorial for the death of a child. Further down the street is another memorial for a mother and child also lost due to a wreck. The white crosses, often adorned with a stuffed animal, are becoming more numerous each year.

At a young age, I witnessed my younger brother as a car struck him. It is not something anyone should have to see.

Do your part to end the streak of needless fatalities. Watch your speed limit, stay in your lane, and do not drink and drive.

As the holidays grow near, people will be distracted and rushed to accomplish more while trying to create the perfect day, or memories, for their families. But in the hustle and bustle, what if a life is lost because you could not wait for one more second to try to cross three lanes of traffic? Or just had to check to see who sent you a text? What memories are you creating then as your family has to celebrate without you?


Dawn Burleigh is editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com