Deadly Crash Streak in Texas Stretches More Than 17 Years

Every day for the last 17 years — since Nov. 7, 2000 — at least one person has died on Texas roadways.

It's a sobering streak, which has taken the lives of more than 59,000 people during that time.

Now, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching a social media campaign, #EndTheStreakTX, to encourage safe driving.

"In emergency medical services, we don't refer to these as accidents," said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky. "They are not accidents, they're crashes."

"They happen because someone was doing something that they shouldn't have been, or doing something differently than they could have to avoid that crash," Zavadsky said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 9 out of every 10 crashes are caused by driver error, like speeding, drinking or distracted driving.

MedStar supervisor Brian White says it's impossible to count how many fatalities he's seen, but estimates he responds to at least one fatal crash each week.

He says he's affected by each one.

"You go home, you hug your wife harder, hug your kids and kiss them more, and just appreciate life," White said

White says first responders have to find their way of dealing with the difficult task of working at fatal crashes.

"What I like to do is while the paramedics are taking care of the other patients that are usually involved, I will kind of go back and deal with the family or other bystanders that may have some emotional damage," White said.

To decrease the chances of roadway crashes and fatalities, TxDOT is reminding drivers to buckle their seatbelts, put phone away and avoid distractions, never drink and drive, and drive the speed limit.

"Life is definitely is something that is precious, and whenever we get behind the wheels of automobiles, it becomes even more precious, because it's so easy for these automobiles to end life very quickly," White added. "So I always urge people, pay attention when you're driving. It can be fatal."

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