TxDOT officials address Liberty County commissioners court about high number of fatality accidents

Martin Gonzalez and Sarah Dupre (right) address the Liberty County Commissioners Court on Aug. 23, 2023, about the End the Streak campaign.

The last time Texas experienced a deathless day on its roads was nearly 23 years ago. That’s right, it’s been more than two decades since the last deathless day on Texas roads – Nov. 7, 2000. It’s a sad and sobering statistic, one that speaks volumes about the challenges the Texas Department of Transportation faces when it comes to improving road safety.

According to Martin Gonzalez, area engineer for the Liberty County TxDOT office, the agency tasked with overseeing and improving Texas roads, there is at least one fatality accident every day in Texas, and since the COVID pandemic, that number has spiked up to 12 fatalities a day, despite many people still working from home. It’s a startling reminder that the pandemic wasn’t the only public health crisis for Texans.

“At TxDOT, we try our best to improve the engineering aspect of it … but there is only so much we can do from an engineering standpoint,” Gonzalez said at the Aug. 22 meeting of the Liberty County Commissioners Court. Gonzalez, along with TxDOT spokesperson Sarah Dupre, appeared before commissioners court to share public awareness of TxDOT’s End the Streak Campaign.

Liberty County is the second-highest populated county of the eight Southeast Texas counties that make up TxDOT’s Beaumont District, so it is no surprise that it also had the second-highest number of fatalities in the Beaumont District in 2022. Jefferson County, the highest-populated county in the District, had 33 percent (47 people) of all fatalities in 2022, followed by Liberty County with 24 percent (34), Orange County with 14 percent (20), Chambers County with 9 percent (13), Newton County with 6 percent (9), Jasper with 6 percent (8), Tyler County with 5 percent (7) and Hardin County with 3 percent (5).

The top three crash factors were speed, alcohol and distraction. Of the 142 people killed in 2022 in the Beaumont District, nearly half were not wearing a seatbelt. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol contributed to 32 percent of the fatalities, followed by single vehicles running off the road and crashing (33 percent), Bike/Pedestrian accidents (15 percent), Motorcyclists (13 percent), Intersections (14 percent) and Head-on Collisions (22 percent).

State highways and US highways saw the most accidents in 2022.

“When people say to TxDOT to build better roads (to mitigate crashes), what we are finding is it is a behavioral issue. We need to change people’s habits. We all tend to look at our phones when they ring. In that couple of seconds, you could be distracted and drive off the road,” he said.

Gonzalez and Dupre shared statistics that show the ages of fatal traffic accidents in most concentrated in the 21 to 30-year-old age group, with that group making up 21 percent of all fatal accidents in Texas. The second-highest is ages 61 to 75 and older, which accounts for 18 percent.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Wilson, a former state trooper, said he believes it would help greatly if the Texas Department of Public Safety had more of a presence on local highways.

“Our state troopers are having to be transferred out to the border or the state capitol. I wish there was some way to negate that and get our troopers back on the road and doing what they are supposed to be doing,” Wilson said.

With the approach of the holiday season, Texas drivers should use even more caution as these periods are known to be deadly times to drive.

“The closer we get to the holiday season, we will see an uptick,” said Dupre.

Gonzalez and Dupre said they plan to spread information on the End the Streak campaign in hopes that it makes a difference. They plan to speak at schools and community meetings.

“Our goal is to spread the word as much as we can in an effort to change people’s behavior,” Gonzalez said, adding that TxDOT is also working to mitigate any safety hazards on Texas roads, Gonzalez said.


  1. They blame it on phones, but our population has exploded in those 20 years. The comments about LEO are accurate. I drive 146 everyday to work in Mont Belvieu, and let me tell you, they should rename it to Interstate 146. Set the cruise on 70 (5mph) over limit and your getting passed like your setting still. Know how many LEOs I see in the normal week, 1. And they are only in Dayton itself. Between the towns I see maybe 2-3 a month and they don’t even bother stopping the people doing 80 plus constantly. Yeah I’d say we need more patrolling.

    • Saying we need more DPS when I thought we had a lot of City, and a lot of Constables that could b doing traffic control.

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