"Our efforts are paying off," Steve Simmons, Texas Department of Transportation deputy executive director, said Tuesday. "More people are wearing seat belts, and there are public campaigns to discourage drinking and driving. But there's no doubt that safer highways have contributed to a decline in fatalities across Texas."
Despite the good news, the carnage on Texas highways is still staggering. In 2009, 3,089 people were killed in crashes in the Lone Star State -- but that's 388 fewer than the year before. In 2008, 3,477 people died on the roads.
Here's how the state transportation department is spending the bulk of its $1.2 billion in safety funds:
* Upgrading 2,200 miles of narrow two-lane roads.
* Installing 1,030 miles of concrete and cable barrier.
* Adding 272 left-turn lanes.
* Building 38 highway interchanges.
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796