New data released by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has highlighted a troubling trend on state roads.
There were 25,713 crashes in work zones last year that resulted in 181 deaths, representing a 27% spike in fatal work-zone crashes from 2015—a stark increase that TxDOT officials are now trying to reverse.
Of the 181 fatalities, 96% of them were motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
According to TxDOT figures, there are as many as 2,500 active work zones on the 80,000 miles of road the department maintains across the state.
While some cities, including Austin, have banned texting while driving, it's not illegal statewide. TxDOT officials believe cracking down on distracted driving can help prevent crashes.
Outside of the safety consequences surrounding work-zone crashes, there are also legal ones. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present, while penalties can cost drivers up to $2,000.
TxDOT is set to hold events across the state to promote their Work-Zone Awareness campaign, where they will be working with Texas Mutual Insurance company.