For the first six months of 2020, Texas ranked second in the nation for pedestrian fatalities with 335 lost lives, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. To help address the worsening problem, a new law in Texas went into affect on Sept. 1 that makes hitting a pedestrian a felony, reports Spectrum News.
Specifically, if the pedestrian is seriously injured, drivers may be found guilty of a state jail felony, reports NBC 5. The new law also requires drivers to stop and yield to pedestrians or cyclists who are properly in an intersection.
The law is intended to address the inattentiveness of motorists, which appears to be the primary culprit in pedestrian deaths in the Lone Star State. For example, the second half of the year clearly did not get any better in terms of pedestrian fatalities — rather, it got worse.
There were a total of 731 pedestrian fatalities in 2020 — a 9% increase from 2019, notes the Spectrum report.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says distracted driving is the second leading cause of crashes that involve pedestrians. In fact, TxDOT points out that there has been at least one fatality on Texas roads every day for over 20 years.
From 2016 to 2020, pedestrian fatalities resulting from traffic crashes increased 5%, according to TxDOT.