Roadway Work Zone Fatalities Increased by 9% in Texas in 2020

April 27, 2021

The number of Texas work zone fatalities increased by 9% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to state transportation officials.

Drivers and their passengers account for the majority of those who have died in work zone crashes. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says that in 2020, there were more than 22,000 traffic crashes in Texas work zones with 186 people killed, including four road workers.

Those killed in work zones included 147 motorists and vehicle passengers, along with 35 pedestrians and bicyclists and four road workers.

TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign is marking National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 26–30, with safety tips to reduce work zone fatalities.

“We know driving through work zones can be challenging,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in a media release. “There can be extra congestion, slow-moving heavy equipment, temporary barriers, and vehicles that make sudden stops. We can’t stress enough how important it is to give driving your full attention and slow down — for your own safety and that of the people who work alongside the road.”

The Texas Mutual Insurance Co., which helps employers prevent workplace incidents and their consequences, is partnering with TxDOT to promote safe driving. The “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign outlines five key steps drivers can take to safely navigate a work zone:

  1. Slow down. Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions. Unsafe speed is one of the main causes of crashes in work zones.
  2. Pay attention. Avoid distractions, keep your mind on the road and put your phone away.
  3. Watch out for road crews. The only protective gear they wear is a vest, a hardhat and safety boots. Remember, they want to get home safe, too.
  4. Don’t tailgate. Give yourself room to stop in a hurry if you need to. Rear-end collisions are the most common kind of work zone crashes.
  5. Allow extra time. Road construction can slow things down. Count on it, and plan for it.

Traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000. Failure to heed the Move Over/Slow Down law can also result in a $2,000 fine.

State law requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching a TxDOT vehicle, emergency vehicle, law enforcement, tow truck or utility vehicle stopped with flashing lights activated on the roadside.

Source: TxDOT

Topics Trends Texas

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