Fatalities caused near work zones increased in Texas last year by a staggering 27 percent.

According to a release from the Texas Department of Transportation, these tragedies resulted in the loss of 181 lives. And of those fatalities, 174 were motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

“People often think work zone crashes result in the deaths of roadside workers, but statistics show the vast majority of these fatalities are drivers like you and me who are passing through as motorists,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We urge you to pay attention and adhere to posted traffic signs when driving through work zones to ensure your safety and the safety of the men and women who are working on our roads. At the end of the day, we want everyone to return home safely to their loved ones.”

In recognition of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 3-7, TxDOT reminds drivers that every single day requires caution when driving through work zones. As the state’s population continues to boom, the price of progress can mean more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones at any given time. The leading causes of fatal work zone crashes statewide – speeding and failure to stay in a single lane – are entirely preventable.

By law, drivers are required to move over or slow down when approaching work crews, emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the roadside or shoulder with flashing blue or amber lights. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.
As part of its ongoing Work Zone Awareness campaign, TxDOT is partnering with Austin-based Texas Mutual Insurance Company to host events around the state. An integral part of Texas Mutual’s mission – helping employers prevent workplace incidents and minimizing their consequences – aligns with TxDOT’s Work Zone Awareness efforts.