Texas Reports Deaths in Road Construction Areas Up One Third in 2021

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Move over and slow down in Texas!

A report from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) out of Austin, TX, showed that people killed in accidents in road construction zones increased by 33% over 2020.

Overall, 26,000 traffic accidents occurred in road construction zones in 2021, with 244 fatalities. Passengers and drivers totaled 195 of the victims. Thirty-eight pedestrians, four bicyclists, and three construction workers also died.

According to TxDOT, speeding and distracted driving caused most of the accidents.

This report shows that 4,480 fatalities occurred nationwide in 2021, the second-deadliest year for auto.

“It’s cause for tremendous concern that the number of people killed on our roadways reached a 40-year high last year and fatalities in our work zones rose dramatically,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “It’s important for drivers to remember that driving conditions in work zones can be especially challenging because of extra congestion, slow-moving heavy equipment, temporary barriers, and vehicles that make sudden stops.”

Texas has a “Move Over/Slow Down” law requiring drivers to shift over a lane and reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit when approaching law enforcement, emergency vehicles, TxDOT vehicles, tow trucks, or other utility vehicles. In addition, the state doubles traffic fines; they can go as high as $2000.

Tips for staying safe

TxDOT released the following reminder with the announcement:

• Slow down and follow the posted speed limit.

• Pay attention, keep your eyes on the road, and don’t use cell phones.

• Also, watch out for road crews. Their only protective gear is reflective clothing, a hardhat, and safety boots.

• Don’t tailgate to give yourself extra room to stop if needed. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of work zone crash.

• Allow extra time to make it to your destination.

TxDOT hopes to reduce traffic fatalities in construction areas by increasing awareness and enforcing laws that reduce fatalities.

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