You know what happened on Nov. 7, 2000, that’s only happened once since that day? We elected a president who got the second-most votes.

You know what happened on Nov. 7, 2000, that hasn’t happened on any day since that day? Nobody got killed on a Texas roadway.

Kind of amazing, right? Since then, despite the best efforts by some of us, at least one person has died on Texas roads every day since then. Efforts to end that streak — those by big state agencies and one by a little kid — have failed.

We had an ambitious small effort this year. It was mounted by Dallas-area 10-year-old Cooper McGough for a science project. At a January presentation to a supportive Texas Highway Commission, young Cooper said he believed that if he led a public awareness campaign and everybody cooperated, we could go a day without a highway death. 

“My hypothesis is if we pick an actual date and raise enough awareness, can we reduce the number of deaths or actually end the streak,” Cooper told the commission. “I believe we can.”

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

He picked Wednesday, Feb. 20, for the day the streak would end. Predictably, it did not. The Texas Department of Transportation says there were at least nine traffic deaths that day. I hope that didn’t hurt Cooper’s science project or dampen his admirable belief in what one kid can accomplish.

On a larger scale, the TxDOT weighed in recently with an ambitious (unrealistic?) “End the Streak” campaign with an ultimate goal of ending all Texas traffic fatalities by 2050. There’s an intermediate goal of cutting fatal crashes by half by 2035, which would mean about 1,800 annual traffic deaths.

“While we are committed to invest in the best engineering practices to make our roads safe, we also need drivers and passengers to act more responsibly and help us end the streak of daily deaths on our roads to reach our goal of zero deaths,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan said in announcing the long-range goal.

Drivers and passengers (AKA, “people”), of course, are the weak link in all of this, as are cellphones, alcohol and the other factors that increase the degree of difficulty of safe driving.

A deathless day anytime soon on Texas roads? Seems so unlikely. Too big a state. Too many vehicles. Too many distracted drivers.

Too bad.

RELATED: Austin traffic deaths up 30%, police say

It’s quite possible that someday self-driving cars will make our roads safer. And this comes from a Texan who likes driving and lives by the credo that they’ll take my hands off the steering wheel when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. (Hey, I heard you just say it would be appropriate if that happens as a result of a traffic wreck.)

Back in olden times (roughly defined as anything pre-2010), the Texas Department of Public Safety had an odd program called “Operation Motorcide.” Like lots of things in olden times, it didn’t seem odd at the time. (Also in that category: “Hogan’s Heroes,” a 1960s sitcom featuring cute Nazis.)

I thought about Operation Motorcide prior to the recent Fourth of July holiday weekend. Under the now-defunct program, the DPS, as part of a public safety campaign aimed at encouraging driving safety, would predict how many people would die on Texas roads during holiday periods. I told you it was odd.

But DPS was oddly close to correct many times. I often asked DPS folks to look deeper into their crystal ball to see if they could give us the names of the people they expected to die so we could give them a helpful, lifesaving heads-up.

Operation Motorcide eventually went away about 20 years ago. Last year, just prior to Christmas, former DPS spokeswoman Tela Goodwin Mange wrote about the death of Operation Motorcide and why it needed to die. She put a great headline on it: "Have You Met Your Quota? Or, Why I’m Glad We Stopped Counting Dead People For Christmas."

“We would try to scare the bejabbers out of motorists,” Mange wrote, “asking them to imagine themselves as one of the statistics.”

(Brief pause: I’m not medical expert enough to know what’s worse, having the bejabbers scared out of you or having the bejeebers scared out of you. Both seem best avoided.)

“But instead of listening to the intended safety message,” Mange wrote about Operation Motorcide, “they seemed to take the number as a challenge.”

“I don’t think that OM was particularly effective,” she wrote. “I mean, think about it — can you imagine someone thinking about the estimated number of deaths and deciding, ‘Hey, this could be me, better slow down!’ Seriously? But it was a program that lasted more than 50 years, until I helped to kill it in Texas.”

RELATED: Austin traffic deaths slipping but pedestrians still at risk

Here’s how Mange not so fondly remembers what Operation Motorcide meant in her life:

“Every Christmas Day, as a public information officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, I would leave my family and head into work to count dead people. It was incredibly sad. All those lives, representing even more lives irreparably changed. And every year, I would think to myself, ‘We’ve got to stop doing this.’”

“And then one Christmas, it finally happened at a time when I could actually do something about it.”

It was triggered by this question from a reporter: “Did you meet your quota? … You know, did you meet your quota of dead people?”

“’IT’S NOT A QUOTA,’ I huffed, and then I decided that Motorcide would have to die.”

“Sadly,” she wrote, “the fatalities keep on coming, whether we’re estimating how many there will be or not. It’s been almost 20 years since Texas had a day — holiday or not — without a traffic fatality.”

Sad, indeed. Operation Motorcide is long gone, but the effort to save lives continues. TxDOT recently announced summertime driving safety reminders, including “stay alert and avoid drowsy or aggressive driving while behind the wheel this summer.”

There’s a longer list of dos and don’ts. All are good advice. And if any of them are new to you, it’s probably best for the rest of us if you just turn in your driver’s license.

This also might be useful advice. It was No. 3 on young Cooper's five tips for getting there alive: "Yield and pray."