HOUSTON — In spite of a decrease in work zone crashes in Texas last year, 161 people still lost their lives and another 684 were seriously injured, with the vast majority of those killed—84 percent—being motorists and/or their passengers. As National Work Zone Awareness Week gets underway today, the Texas Department of Transportation highlights its Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign, reminding motorists to stay alert and exercise caution when driving through work zones.
“Work zones present a different environment for drivers to navigate with concrete barriers, slow-moving heavy equipment and vehicles that may make sudden stops,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “That’s why we’re urging drivers to pay special attention in work zones on Texas roadways—for their protection and the safety of highway work crews."
In 2018, a total of 25,162 work zone traffic crashes were reported, an average of nearly 70 crashes per day, resulting in deaths that fell by 20 percent between 2017 and 2018 in construction zones in Texas.
At any given time, Texas has as many as 3,000 active work zones across the 80,000 miles of road TxDOT maintains. Since the leading causes of work zone crashes in Texas are speeding and driver inattention, TxDOT asks motorists to avoid distractions and put their phones away, obey road crew flaggers, slow down and follow posted work zone speed limits. Traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present, and fines can cost up to $2,000.
To safeguard roadside crews and first responders, the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law also requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted limit when they see flashing blue or amber lights on a TxDOT vehicle, emergency vehicle, tow truck, or law enforcement stopped on the roadside or shoulder. Not doing so can result in a fine of up to $2,000.
The Texas Mutual Insurance Company is joining TxDOT to promote work zone safety through sharing of campaign materials and providing speakers for safety-related events. Part of Texas Mutual’s mission is to help employers prevent workplace incidents and minimize their consequences, which aligns with TxDOT’s work zone awareness safety efforts.
Also, as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, TxDOT Houston District is teaming up with the City of Houston to highlight the importance of being aware in all work zones. The programmable LED lights that decorate multiple bridges above the mainlanes of I-69 Southwest Freeway in the Montrose area will be lit up in orange and white starting Monday, April 8.
The City of Houston and TxDOT are also working together to promote work zone awareness during a Facebook Live presentation on Wednesday, April 10th at 1 p.m. The discussion will focus on ways motorists can keep safe in work zones including not texting and driving, obeying the posted speed limit, and to always expect the unexpected. Catch the event at www.facebook.com/txdothouston .
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Houston District Public Information Office at (713) 802-5076.
Be Safe. Drive Smart. is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a larger grassroots effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while on the road. Since Nov. 7, 2000, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every single day, and that’s why #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to helping end the streak of daily deaths on our roadways.
The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report (CR-3). This information was received and processed by the department as of February 28, 2019.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 12,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at txdot.gov. “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter/TxDOTHoustonPIO.