AUSTIN – With 146 people killed in Texas work zone crashes last year – an increase of more than 20 percent from 2013 – the Texas Department of Transportation urges drivers to slow down, pay attention and be extra cautious when driving through work zones and construction areas. TxDOT’s call-to-action, “Drive Safe in Work Zones So We All Get Home,” coincides with National Work Zone Awareness Week, March 23-27.
“People often think work zone crashes result in the deaths of roadside workers, but last year, 87 percent of work zone fatalities were motorists,” said TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton. “Our TxDOT employees and contractors are obviously at risk, but so too are drivers and their passengers. We urge everyone to be careful and responsible in work zones so our roadside workers and passing motorists, alike, can arrive safely at home to their loved ones.”
With approximately 400,000 people moving to Texas each year, the price of progress can mean more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones at any given time. Last year, 19,393 work zone crashes marked a 12-percent increase over 2013.
The top two factors of work zone crashes are failure to control speed and driver inattention. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.
By law, drivers are required to move over or slow down when approaching work crews, emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the roadside or shoulder with flashing blue or amber lights.
During National Work Zone Awareness Week, TxDOT’s permanent message signs along state highways and roadways will remind drivers to use caution in work zones.