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TxDOT continues to urge safe driving in work zones

While many people might not have realized it, the first week of April was actually National Work Zone Awareness Week, a time set aside each year to remind the public of the daily dangers facing highway road crews and the accompanying need to drive safely while navigating construction zones.

In case anyone questions the need for such an endeavor, consider that statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation reveal that the number of work zone fatalities in the state increased by an astounding 27 percent over the last 12 months.

Specifically, TxDOT found that there were 143 such fatalities in 2015 and that this number jumped to 181 in 2016. What makes all this even more astounding, however, is that 174 of these fatalities were not road crew workers, but rather motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

As to why this number was so high, officials indicate that as far as motorists are concerned, it typically has to do with the fact that they are striking heavy equipment or concrete barriers, or colliding with stopped cars or cars traveling in the opposite direction at a high rate of speed.

It's important to note that even though the number of road workers killed in 2016 was relatively low, chances are still very good that a far higher number were injured in accidents or near misses.

Given all of the foregoing, questions naturally arise as to what motorists must do to help ensure they pass through active work zones, of which TxDOT indicates there are more than 2,500 on average at any given time, without incident.

Experts indicate safe work zone driving always means the following:

  • Obey the posted speed limit for the area
  • Remain alert by minimizing all distractions
  • Do not follow too closely (i.e., tailgate)
  • Follow the direction of road crew flaggers

If you've been seriously injured while working as part of a road crew or any other team, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about all of your options.

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