Human billboards part of TxDOT's 'Be Safe. Drive Smart' campaign

The Texas Department of Transportation is trying a new strategy in its latest campaign to grab the attention of drivers and pedestrians.

It's called the 'Be Safe. Drive Smart.' campaign.

The agency is going old school, using sandwich human billboards to share messages about safe driving. 

Chris Bishop, a public information officer for TxDOT says seeing one of these human billboards nowadays is unusual. For that reason, they're hoping people will stop, read the message and remember to drive safely to protect other Texans.

In 2021, there were over 5,000 crashes involving pedestrians. 841 people were killed as a result.

TxDOT attributes these numbers to a few reasons and says drivers and pedestrians are somewhat equally at fault. 

For example, pedestrians are not often yielding to cars, or they're jaywalking instead of waiting at a crosswalk. Drivers are failing to give the right of way to pedestrians or they're speeding.

For both groups, technological distractions and the influence of drugs and alcohol are also contributing to these statistics.

"It goes back a lot to some of the old times," Bishop said. "I remember seeing old movies or cartoons where you'd see a sandwich person a guy with a board on the front and the back walking down the street. Guess what? That's where the pedestrians are. You're going to get their attention."

TxDOT adds that while pedestrians are involved in about one percent of crashes they make up 19% of traffic fatalities.

You can spot the campaign in a few places around Austin on Friday and Saturday.

  • 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Fri., July 29, Domain area, Austin
  • 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Fri., July 29, West University area, Austin
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat.,  July 30, South Congress, Austin
  • 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sat., July 30, 6th Street, Austin