RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral)- With recent auto-pedestrian accidents happening across our community, officials are emphasizing the importance of road safety. 

“Last year over 5,000 traffic crashes involved pedestrians and as a result 841 people were killed, that’s a 15% increase,” said Ray Pedraza, Public Information Officer for Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

TxDOT is reminding residents about their “Drive Smart” campaign. Pedraza said pedestrian deaths continue to rise, but adds those accidents can be prevented. 

“The leading factors or pedestrian traffic crashes include pedestrians failing to yield the right away, driver inattention, motorist failing to yield the right away,” said Pedraza.

The Brownsville Police Department adding that while they have not seen an increase in these crashes, they do happen. Which is why they are reminding residents of the traffic laws. 

“The majority of the times it is figured out through our investigations that either the pedestrian or the person on the bike were the ones at fault on the accident because they did not follow the traffic laws,” said Martin Sandoval, Public Information Officer for the Brownsville Police Department.

Officer Sandoval said those caught violating traffic laws can face a fine of $350. Sandoval adds drivers also have a big responsibility in preventing these accidents. 

“Drivers need to be attentive whenever they’re driving. They have to be focused on the road and that’s it not on their phones, not on the radio, not on anything. When you’re driving your responsibility is the road,” said Sandoval.

TxDOT will be visiting cities across Texas including here in the valley this weekend to bring awareness to pedestrian safety.