Work Zone Safety Awareness Week Begins with a Special Event
SAN ANGELO, TX — Today, at Reece Albert Inc., located at 3001 Foster Road, a Work Zone Safety Awareness event was held to promote awareness about staying vigilant and have less distractions when driving through work zones.
Alvin New, the new Texas Transportation Commissioner, gave statistics during the presentation. “There were 199 fatalities and 813 serious injuries in work zones across this state in 2017. 164 of those fatalities were motorists and the others were pedestrians, cyclists, and our workers,” he said.
“These statistics should make people realize how important it is to stay aware while behind the wheel,” New added.
“We have six active TxDOT jobs in the San Angelo district and most of those jobs are overlay, which means our guys are really close to traffic,” said Dale Thompson, the Director of Safety with Reece Albert Inc. During his 20 years with the company, Thompson says there were three fatalities and two of those three fatalities were in a work zone. Those accidents involved distracted drivers. “Just get in your vehicle and drive. Pay attention and don’t be distracted,” he said.
Ron Sanders, First Sergeant with the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office; Cade Solsbery, with the San Angelo Police Department; and Sergeant Justin Baker, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, were at the event and sharing the perspective of law enforcement when it comes to safety in work zones.
Sergeant Sanders said, “Traffic fines are doubled in work zones, especially when closer to the workers within the work zone. Often there are patrol cars close to the work zones so we can watch and hopefully help keep people safe.”
“In 2017, SAPD worked 70 crashes in work zones, and most of them were when workers were present.”
“No workers were injured, thankfully,” added Solsbery, while he explained that people should still be careful and vigilant while traveling in these working areas.
Steve Olasquaga, who is a crew chief with the San Angelo Maintenance said, “There are so many signs and warnings before entering a work zone, but you have to be aware to see these signs.”
“We all have families we want to return home to at the end of our day,” ended Olasquaga.
The event was concluded with DPS Trooper Justin Baker explaining the Move Over Laws here. “At any time, on any roadway, if you see flashing blue or amber lights of any type of emergency vehicles, like maintenance trucks, law enforcement vehicles, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, you must move out of the lane closest to that vehicle. If it is not possible to move, you must slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.”
The ceremony stressed these following steps to take so that everyone gets home safe:
- Slow down. Be patient.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions.
- Never drive drunk or under the influence.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Obey road crew flaggers.
- Expect the unexpected, especially in work zones.
- Plan ahead and find an alternative route.