Last year was the second-deadliest on Texas roads, according to new data on traffic fatalities released this week by the Texas Department of Transportation.
There was a total of 4,480 people killed on Texas roads in 2021, making it the second deadliest year since TxDOT began tracking fatalities in 1940.
1981 was the deadliest year with 4,701 fatalities.
The increase in fatalities in Texas last year is consistent with nationwide trends which show an uptick in road deaths. Nationwide, an estimated 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021, up 18.4% over 2020, TxDOT said.
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Texas traffic fatalities in 2021 were up 15% from the previous year.
In 2021, a total of 1,522 people were killed because of speed while 1,219 people were killed because they were not wearing a seat belt, Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said.
"Driver behavior is one of the causes, but also one of the most important solutions," Ryan said. "This is not blame. These are facts. We all have a role...These were decisions made by people that could have potentially saved 2,741 lives."
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Traffic safety campaigns, grant funds to law enforcement and safer road designs are among the strategies TxDOT is using to make Texas roads safer.