Texas Work Zone Traffic Deaths Reach 40-Year High
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is working to raise awareness around traffic deaths in work zones after 2021 sees a 33% increase in work zone traffic deaths.
Texas Work Zone Traffic Deaths Up 33% in 2021
According to KVUE, TxDOT reported 26,000 work zone crashes which resulted in 244 deaths. This marked a 40-year high for work zone traffic deaths, according to TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams.
Among those killed were 195 occupants of motor vehicles, 38 pedestrians, four bicyclists, and three roadside construction workers.
TxDOT noted speeding and driver inattention were among the leading causes of work zone crashes.
TxDOT is reminding Texas drivers that the state does have a “Move Over/Slow Down” law. This law requires drivers to move over a lane and slow down 20 mph below the posted limit when approaching a TxDOT vehicle, emergency vehicle, tow truck, or utility vehicle with flashing lights.
TxDOT is also reminding drivers that traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present.
Drivers should also pay attention when in work zones and prepare for extra congestions, temporary barriers, changes in normal routes, and sudden stops.
Quick Tips for Work Zone Driving
When traveling through a work zone, keep these following tips in mind.
- Pay Attention. While you should always keep your eyes on the road, this is especially true in work zones. Observe posted signage and keep an eye out for lane changes and obstacles. Avoid distractions like your phone, eating, drinking, and the radio as well as GPS and talking with passengers.
- Slow Down. Most work zones in Texas will have posted signage calling on you to reduce speed. Even if not posted, you should slow down to 20 mph below the normal speed limit. This allows for a safer area as well as for drivers to navigate shifts in typical traffic patterns.
- Move Into the Open Lane. As you approach lane closures, you should move into the open lane as soon as possible. Check for other vehicles and your blind spots as you do so.
- Allow for Greater Following Distance. Rear-end crashes are very common in work zones. Allowing a bit more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you grants you more reaction time for sudden stops.
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