KEMPNER, Texas (FOX 44) – A Kempner woman is helping the Texas Department of Transportation with its latest campaign.

TxDOT says the month of May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and that as more and more motorcyclists take to the road to enjoy the Texas scenery and warmer weather, it is crucial to remain alert and look out for them.

519 motorcyclists died on Texas roadways in 2021 – which is up seven percent from the year before. 2,318 Texas motorcyclists were also seriously injured in crashes last year.

TxDOT’s “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign is in effect for this week, and is calling attention to the safety precautions motorists must take to protect motorcyclists.

One of the campaign’s spokespeople is Amy Jo Miller, a Kempner woman who had a near-fatal crash 14 years ago when the motorcycle she was riding on (as a passenger) was struck. Amy Jo was run over by an inattentive driver, who then left the scene and has never been caught. She had a traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash. Her injuries also included a stroke and a torn femur, which went all the way through her leg.

Amy has turned her crash and years-long rehabilitation into advocacy work.

TxDOT is also sharing the following tips for drivers to protect motorcyclists and prevent crashes:

•          Take extra care when making a left turn. Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle. 

•          Pay special attention at intersections. A third of motorcycle fatalities happen at roadway intersections.

•          Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.

•          Look twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, check blind spots, and always use turn signals.

•          Give motorcyclists room when passing them. Move over to the passing lane and don’t crowd the motorcyclist’s full lane.

•          Stay back. If you’re behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe following distance. When a motorcyclist downshifts instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal reduced speed.

•          Slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive to conditions.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to reflect Amy Jo Miller’s town of residence.