The Texas Department of Transportation has launched its annual campaign to remind Texas drivers to keep their eyes out for work zone crews on the roads after traffic deaths related to construction work have risen.
Part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is ongoing until April 15, marks the beginning of TxDOT’s “Be Safe, Drive Smart” campaign. TxDOT will be sharing safety tips for drivers as they share roads with construction workers improving roads daily.
TxDOT officials in Anthony, located in west Texas, assembled large sculptures such as a giant snake, a T-Rex, and others, made entirely of orange traffic barrels that were hit by drivers. The giant sculpture can be found at Anthony’s Texas Travel Information Center.
According to a news release, traffic deaths related to work zones have increased sharply up to 33%. Last year, close to 200 people died in motor vehicle crashes related to construction zones. Officials believe speeding and driver inattention are the leading causes.
The state currently has a “Move Over, Slow Down” law which requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce speed to 20 mph when approaching emergency vehicles, construction, tow trucks, or utility vehicles with flashing lights activated. Those who fail to comply can face a fine of up to $2,000.
TxDOT provided five tips for driving safely through a work zone:;
- Slow down, follow posted speed limits.
- Pay attention and avoid distractions.
- Watch for road crews wearing protective clothing such as hard hats, reflective clothing, etc.
- Don’t tailgate, give yourself room to stop if needed.
- Allow extra time to your destination if construction exists.