NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), work zone fatalities across the state increased 9 percent in 2017 — resulting in nearly 100 deaths and more than 800 serious injuries.
As the population of Texas continues to grow, there could more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones operating across the state at any given time. While 96 percent of the deaths last year claimed the lives of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists — road crew workers comprised 4 percent of the fatalities.READ MORE: LGBT Veterans Discharged Under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" To Get Full Benefits
“Roadside crews often work only a few feet from fast-moving traffic,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass.READ MORE: Ramped Up Deportations Leave Haitian Migrants At Texas-Mexico Border With Few Options
Statistics show the leading causes of work zone crashes in Texas are speeding and driver inattention — both of which are preventable. “We urge anyone driving through a work zone to minimize distractions, give their full attention to the road and be prepared to slow down or stop on short notice,” said Bass.
As it stands, fines in work zones are double when workers are present and can cost drivers up to $2,000.MORE NEWS: 2-Year-Old Fort Worth Girl Dies After Drowning In Her Family's Backyard Swimming Pool
Now officials with TxDOT are reminding those behind the wheel about the Move Over/Slow Down law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching TxDOT crews, law enforcement, emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the roadside or shoulder.