HARLINGEN — Holiday season usually means get-togethers, sometimes traveling and occasionally, drinking. Because of the latter, car accidents can occur and have been happening even before the holiday season.
According to Public Information Officer Octavio Saenz of TxDOT, even with COVID-19 people have still gotten into car accidents throughout 2020.
An average of 10 people die every day in crashes in the state, based on data presented by TxDOT. However, TxDOT promotes several campaigns to ensure safety.
“During the holidays we have a campaign where we promote having a sober ride. Whether it is a taxi, or a person who can drive for you. We want people to avoid a DUI, this year is a little different because we encourage people to stay home, nevertheless accidents are still up there,” Saenz said.
In 2016, there were 130 fatalities in the Rio Grande Valley and in 2017, 110, in 2019 there were 75 and currently, there have been 68 fatalities, Saenz said.
“There are four main things that contribute to accidents, driver attention mainly. That includes, cell phones, eating, anything that distracts you from your main task,” he said.
“Another one is your seatbelt, we have to educate ourselves in properly restraining children and going above the speed limit increases chances of being part of a fatality. Other than that driving sober and well rested,” Saenz said.
For travelers, Saenz encouraged people to follow CDC guidelines and mentioned resting areas in Texas are also enforcing those guidelines by requiring people to wear a face mask and social distance. If traveling must be made, he said maintaining a vehicle and making sure everything works properly is also a way to reduce accident chances.
“We have at least one death every day since 2000 and those things could be avoided and can be preventable,” he said.
Saenz mentioned he has been experiencing incidents where other drivers have bumped into him or tried to get on his lane. Both could have been worse he said, had he not been paying attention.
“That is not the case for a lot of individuals. People have died or faced serious injuries, it is because of not looking at blind spots or being distracted. Cars are a tool but it can be a double edged sword,” Saenz said.
“We encourage people to watch out for each other. Take the keys away if someone is tipsy and nothing beats politeness on the road,” he said.