AUSTIN (KXAN) — Yellow signs with phrases like “Braking News” and “Wait for the Signal” will be strapped to the backs of Texas Department of Transportation employees this Friday and Saturday in some of Austin’s most popular areas.
The department’s human billboards campaign kicks off in the state’s capital in hopes of lowering pedestrian fatalities.
Last year in the Austin area, there were 453 traffic crashes involving pedestrians, resulting in 61 fatalities and 108 serious injuries, according to TxDOT.
In those fatal crashes involving a pedestrian, pedestrians make up 71% of the deaths, whereas drivers account for 29%.
“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable,” said TxDOT spokesperson Chris Bishop. “They’re the least protected, and the ones that we really want to get people’s focus on right now.”
Statewide pedestrians account for one in five traffic fatalities in Texas, according to TxDOT.
In 2021, 5,366 traffic crashes involving pedestrians occurred in Texas. As a result, 841 people were killed, a 15% increase in pedestrian fatalities over the previous year, TxDOT said.
Leading factors contributing to pedestrian deaths include pedestrians not stopping for cars, drivers not paying attention, motorists failing to stop for pedestrians, drivers going too fast and both drivers and pedestrians being under the influence of alcohol.
TxDOT plans to deploy its human billboards at the Domain and in the West University area on Friday and on Sixth Street and South Congress on Saturday.