EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – While driving along Montana Avenue in the Far Eastside, you may have noticed a prehistoric creature or friendly character near the Spaghetti Bowl / Interstate 10 in downtown El Paso warning drivers to stay safe while driving.

Safe-T-Rex and Work Zone Willy are “sculptures” made by maintenance personnel from previously impacted orange work zone barrels to remind drivers to drive carefully, especially around work areas, slowing down and driving. leaving the phone alone. There were more than 789 traffic accidents in work areas in El Paso District in 2020, which left four dead and three seriously injured.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the number of fatalities in Texas work areas increased 9% in 2020, despite the decrease in traffic due to the pandemic.

Willy work area. Photo courtesy of TXDOT El Paso.

“We know that traversing construction zones can be difficult,” said James Bass, executive director of TxDOT. “There can be additional traffic jams, slow heavy equipment, temporary barriers and vehicles stopping suddenly. We cannot stress enough the importance of giving your full attention to driving and slowing down, for your own safety and the safety of those working along the road.

Texas Mutual Insurance Company, which helps employers prevent workplace incidents and their consequences, partners with TxDOT to promote safe driving. The “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” Campaign outlines five key steps that drivers can take to navigate safely in a work area:

  1. To slow down. Follow the posted speed limit and drive up to the conditions. Dangerous speed is one of the main causes of accidents in work areas.
  2. Pay attention. Avoid distractions, keep your mind on the road, and put your phone away.
  3. Beware of road crews. The only protective gear they wear is a safety vest, helmet and boots.
  4. Do not tailgate. Give yourself room to stop quickly if you need to. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of workplace accident.
  5. Allow extra time. Road building can slow things down.

Traffic fines double in work zones when workers are present and can cost up to $ 2,000. Failure to follow the Move Over / Slow Down law can also result in a fine of $ 2,000. State law requires drivers to enter a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching a TxDOT vehicle, emergency vehicle, d ” a law enforcement vehicle, tow truck or utility vehicle stopped with flashing lights activated on the side of the road.

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TxDOT says' Be safe. Drive smart. '


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