TxDOT is urging drivers to exercise caution when driving through construction areas after statistics revealed that work zone fatalities in Texas increased 27 percent last year, resulting in 181 lost lives. Of those fatalities, 174 (96 percent) were motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
“People often think work zone crashes result in the deaths of roadside workers, but statistics show the vast majority of these fatalities are drivers like you and me who are passing through as motorists,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We urge you to pay attention and adhere to posted traffic signs when driving through work zones to ensure your safety and the safety of the men and women who are working on our roads. At the end of the day, we want everyone to return home safely to their loved ones.”
As the population of Texas continues to boom, the price of progress can mean more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones at any given time. In 2016, there were 25,713 work zone crashes in Texas. The leading causes of fatal work zone crashes statewide – speeding and failure to stay in a single lane – are entirely preventable.
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. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.
The statistics on work zone fatalities were taken from reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3), received and processed by the department as of March 6, 2017.