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Texans are dying on state highways every day — especially in rural “dead zones”

Fatal crashes in rural areas accounted for 51% of Texas’ 4,489 traffic fatalities in 2021, even though only about 10% of the state’s population lives in a rural area, according to data from the state’s department of transportation.

EMT Ronnie Robison calls the Woodland Heights Medical Center to tell them to prepare for an opioid overdose patient  at the Lufkin facility Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Robison has to call on a certain street of highway before a “dead zone” of no cell service or they will not be able to warn the trauma team to prepare for their patients.
Tall pine trees line the sides of Highway 94 outside of Groveton, TX, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.

High speeds, low seatbelt usage 

David Robison outlines the 535 square miles his emergency ambulance service serves in his office in Groveton, TX, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Robison says approximately 80% of the area is national forest land and he is the only paramedic and ambulance service for the 5500 residents.

EMS response times  

EMT in training Joe Bordner cleans out an ambulance after transporting a patient on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.

State funding 

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Health care State government Transportation East Texas