AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — During the pandemic, Texas work zone fatalities increased 9 percent in 2020 from 2019, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), is asking drivers to make safety a priority when passing through construction and maintenance zones.
This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week and TxDOT stated that their, “Be Safe. Drive Smart,” is providing safety tips to reduce work zone fatalities.
“We know driving through work zones can be challenging, TxDOT Executive Director, James Bass, said. “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 Insurance Mutual Company is partnering with TxDOT to promote safe driving, and according to the “Be Safe. Drive Smart” campaign, there are five important steps drivers can use to safely navigate a work zone:
- Slow down – Follow the posted speed limit and drive to conditions. Unsafe speed is one of the main causes of crashes in work zones.
- Pay attention – Avoid distractions, keep your mind on the road and put your phone away.
- 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.
- 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.
- Allow extra time – Road construction can slow things down. Count on it, and plan for it.
According to TxDOT, traffic fines double in a work zone and can cost up to $2,000, with the state law requiring drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the shown speed limit when approaching a work zone vehicle with their flashing lights on.
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