AUSTIN — With 84 percent of 2013 work zone fatalities being motorists rather than workers, the Texas Department of Transportation kicks off its Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11. The campaign reminds drivers to slow down, stay alert and obey traffic signs to protect themselves and roadside workers.
"We do everything in our power to make work zones as safe as possible, but ultimately each driver must be responsible for his or her safety and the safety of others," said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. "If you don't give work zones your undivided attention, you could face increased fines and potential injury or death."
In Texas, there can be more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones at any given time. Last year, 17,266 work zone crashes resulted in 3,522 serious injuries and 115 fatalities. As roadway maintenance and construction efforts continue to address a state population that grows by about 1,000 people per day, drivers should expect to encounter a work zone at any time.
In many work zones, posted signs warn drivers that traffic fines can increase if they disobey posted speed limits and other warning signs. Since 1938, TxDOT has lost 103 employees to a third-party vehicle crash on or near a roadway.
Outside of TxDOT work zones, drivers also are reminded to move over or slow down when approaching work crews, vehicles and other equipment performing maintenance and clean-up along roadways. Failure to do so can result in a fine up to $2,000.
During National Work Zone Awareness Week, TxDOT's permanent dynamic message signs along state highways and roadways will remind drivers to use caution, be safe and drive smart in work zones.
About the Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 11,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at txdot.gov.
Road conditions and traffic updates are available on the drivetexas.org website, on Facebook at facebook.com/txdot and Twitter at twitter.com/txdot or twitter.com/txdotdallaspio.
Motorists also can call TxDOT's toll-free highway condition line at 1-800-452-9292 for roadway information. For non-emergency roadside assistance, motorists can call the Texas Department of Public Safety at 1-800-525-5555.