The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) El Paso District is partnering with El Paso Police Department (EPPD), El Paso Electric (EPE) and El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank for the annual pedestrian safety campaign, just as daylight savings time ends.
The campaign consists of bilingual educational messages posted via social media, the release of bilingual public service announcements and the distribution of thousands of reflective “Be Safe, Be Seen” slap bands.
“While the pandemic has decreased traffic and there are fewer pedestrian deaths this year compared to last year, one death on our roadways is one too many,” said TxDOT El Paso District Engineer Tomas Treviño. “Citywide we have had 12 pedestrian deaths so far this year; half of those deaths have occurred on state roadways including I-10 and Loop 375. Those aren’t places for walking or crossing.”
Pedestrians should always use crosswalks and sidewalks. It is illegal to walk in the road if a sidewalk is nearby. If there isn’t a sidewalk, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road facing traffic, as far away from traffic as possible.
“We believe education and awareness can reduce or eliminate future fatalities,” said EPPD Assistant Chief Victor Zarur. While the driver has been at fault in a few cases, most of our pedestrian deaths this year continue to be a result of pedestrians not crossing at appropriate locations.”
Many people may not be aware there are fines attached to not following pedestrian rules from $30 for a pedestrian failing to walk on the left side of the road up to $245 for failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian within a crosswalk.
“’Safety comes first’ is a common phrase and a daily practice at El Paso Electric,” said EPE Vice President of Strategic Communications, Customer and Community Engagement Eddie Gutierrez.
“As our core value, it is our priority to ensure the safety of our employees and those we serve, and we are proud to partner with TxDOT and EPPD once again in sharing this important message. Everyone always needs to be alert and pay attention, eliminate distractions like cell phones and listening devices and take extra precautions at night.”
The partner campaign involves social media messaging, public service announcements and safety reflective bands highlighting an important message, “Be Safe, Be Seen.”
Starting Friday, November 6, reflective slap bands will be included in food boxes distributed at five main El Pasoans Fighting Hunger locations.
“From the onset of the pandemic, we have worked incredibly hard to help provide our most vulnerable families with the basic necessities like food and toiletries seeing about 1,000 cars a day at each site,” says Susan E. Goodell, CEO for El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank.
“This special partnership with TxDOT, El Paso Police and El Paso Electric for our community’s annual pedestrian safety campaign only accentuates our mission further as access to items that will help increase the safety of our families is both a necessity and a right. So, we are proud to serve as a partner this year and help distribute the over 12,000 reflective slap bands across our five main distribution sites covering all the major areas for our region.”
Drivers involved in a crash or who experience their vehicle stalling should remember to get their ride to the side, if possible; turn on their hazard lights, and call for help. If drivers are stalled on a main lane, they should turn on their hazard lights, stay buckled in their vehicle and call 9-1-1. Drivers now also have the assistance of TxDOT HEROES who can assist motorists.
Drivers and pedestrians alike should also remember the very simple takeaway message from this pedestrian safety campaign: “Be Safe, Be Seen.”