TxDOT: Traffic deaths in work zones rising, drivers urged to slow down

A press conference was held Thursday morning outside the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) District Headquarters in downtown Austin.

The Texas Department of Transportation was joined by law enforcement and safety advocates, who urged motorists to stay alert and slow down when driving through work zones on Texas roadways. 

The press conference was held against the backdrop of 244 orange traffic cones and 244 pairs of white shoes, which represent the men, women and young people killed in work zone traffic crashes in 2021.

According to TxDOT, work zone traffic fatalities in Texas increased 33% in 2021, and the overall number of crashes in highway construction and maintenance areas also rose significantly to more than 26,000.

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) runs April 11–15.

It is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. The key message is for drivers to use extra caution in work zones. 

With road crews often working only feet away from fast-moving vehicles, TxDOT is reminding drivers in work zones to watch for temporary signage and flaggers directing traffic.

As part of its ongoing work zone safety awareness efforts, TxDOT is also calling attention to the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law, which requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted limit when they approach a TxDOT vehicle, emergency vehicle, tow truck or utility vehicle stopped with flashing lights activated on the roadside. Traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000, according to TxDOT.

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