Texas by far had the most work zone crash fatalities of any state last year and the state’s transportation department is urging drivers to slow down and pay attention.
Work zone crash fatalities in Texas rose to 146 last year, representing a more than 20 percent increase from 2013. Florida had the next highest number of work zone fatalities — 69, according to the publication, Equipment World.
Contrary to common assumptions, drivers were most often killed in work zone crashes in Texas, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported.
“People often think work zone crashes result in the deaths of roadside workers, but last year, 87 percent of work zone fatalities were motorists,” TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton said in an agency release. “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.”
The transportation department said around 400,000 people are moving to Texas each year and there are more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones in the state at any given time.
The total number of work zone crashes in the state rose to 19,393 in Texas, marking a 12 percent increase over 2013.
By comparison, in neighboring Oklahoma, preliminary 2014 data shows 10 people were killed, including one highway worker, and 600 hurt in more than 1,100 accidents inside the state’s work zones. In 2013, Oklahoma reported 19 work zone fatalities.
Louisiana has yet to release work zone fatality statistics for 2014 but the state Department of Transportation and Development reported that eight deaths occurred in work zones in 2013.
Arkansas had 14 work zone fatalities in 2013, according to www.workzonesafety.org.
The top two factors of work zone crashes are failure to control speed and driver inattention, TxDOT said.
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