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HOUSTON (CW39) — Last year there were more than 22,000 work zone crashes on Texas roadways.

Out of those, 186 accidents were fatal. That’s why TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” campaign is spending National Work Zone Awareness Week giving advice to drivers on passing construction sites or work zones safely.  

Work zone areas are challenging due to narrow or closed lanes, concrete barricades, dangerous work equipment and vehicles that make sudden stops. So to keep workers and you safe CW39’s Shannon LaNier got these tips from TxDOT.

Here is a little more info on what TxDOT has to say…

Even with less traffic during the pandemic, Texas work zone fatalities increased 9% in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Drivers and their passengers account for the majority of those who have died in work zone crashes. Of the 186 people killed in Texas work zones in 2020, 147 were motorists and vehicle passengers, 35 were pedestrians and bicyclists and four were road workers.  

 That’s why TxDOT is calling on drivers to make safety their number one priority at all times and especially when passing through active construction and maintenance work zones on the roadway.

The “Be Safe. Drive Smart” campaign outlines five key steps drivers can take 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.

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.  

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