In an effort to address traffic crashes and roadway conditions in the increasingly busy energy sectors of the state, the Texas Department of Transportation is continuing its ongoing “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” safety awareness campaign while also allocating more resources to these heavily impacted areas.
“Energy exploration and production continue to boost the state’s economy, but it’s imperative that safety remains a top priority in these regions,” said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (Ret). “This year, in addition to our traditional funding for roadway repairs and upkeep, we will have additional money to put forth an even greater effort.”
In November, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1, which redirects a portion of oil and gas tax revenues into the State Highway Fund. Portions of that $1.74 billion will be disbursed to the state’s energy impacted areas to allow for road resurfacing, the building of passing lanes, ongoing maintenance and other roadway improvements.
Additionally, TxDOT’s “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” driver education campaign uses billboards, gas pumps and other avenues to remind drivers to be safe when sharing the road with increased traffic, work crews and heavy, commercial trucks. “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” reminds drivers to:
- Always buckle up.
- Pay attention. Minimize distractions, including talking or texting on cell phones.
- Give trucks space.
- Drive a safe speed that takes traffic, road conditions and weather into account.
- Stop for all stop signs and red lights.
- Pass carefully.
Energy Sector Improvements
In September, TxDOT began a “surge” effort to combat road deterioration in energy-production areas. The effort focused on combining and rapidly deploying resources from around the state to address significant maintenance issues caused by heavy truck traffic in energy sector areas of the state. Recent improvements and work include:
- Road repairs on US 190 in Crockett County; RM 2469 in Irion County; and RM 2401 in Glasscock County where San Angelo crews were assisted by Lubbock, Childress, Brownwood, Tyler, Fort Worth and Houston crews.
- FM 652 in Loving County from the Pecos River to the New Mexico State Line. This 11-mile project incorporated daily work zones of shorter distances designed to ensure the safety of drivers. A TxDOT crew from Wichita Falls and Abilene assisted the local Odessa crew to repair the roadway’s damaged edges.
- FM 1334 in Wilson and Atascosa counties. A crew from TxDOT’s Austin district assisted crews from San Antonio in repairing this damaged stretch of road while other San Antonio crews focused on additional road repairs in Atascosa County.
- FM 1916 in Dimmitt County just south of Carrizo Springs. Crews from Corpus Christi and Waco spent two weeks assisting local Laredo crews with the widening and repair of this road, which was damaged from heavy energy sector activity.
In 2013 there were 148,612 crashes and 1,338 traffic deaths in the state’s five energy sectors. The number of crashes represents an increase of 7 percent from 2012 while the number of fatalities was up 4 percent. Preliminary 2014 data shows an increase in both fatalities and crashes in the energy sectors.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 12,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at TxDOT.gov.