FMCSA: Texas Among States with Most Fatal Work Zone Crashes Involving Large Trucks
Despite making up a small percentage of vehicle traffic, 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks are responsible for a disproportionate rate of fatal work zone crashes that occur along the nation’s roads and highways every year.
Three states in particular — Texas, Georgia, and Florida — generate some of the highest rates of trucking-related work zone accidents in the country.
Large Commercial Trucks Responsible for 1/3 of All Fatal Work Zone Crashes
According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (FMCSA), 842 people died tragically in connection with work zone-related accidents in 2019, up from 757 the prior year. The 11.2% increase is the largest percentage jump in highway work zone fatalities this century.
“Fatal crashes occurring in work zones are both tragic and absolutely preventable,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones – 33% – when large trucks comprise roughly 5% of vehicular traffic.”
The increase between 2018 and 2019 also “outpaced the modest 0.3% increase in overall highway construction spending and the 0.8% increase in overall vehicle-miles-traveled nationally,” the FMCSA noted
The number of fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks or buses increased 16% in 2019, while those involving rear-end collision rose 29%, and those involving speed increased by nearly 40%.
This is National Work Zone Awareness Week
The FMCSA has declared April 26th through April 30th National Work Zone Awareness Week.
This years’ campaign will be focused on Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Truckers and other motorists in these states can expect to hear public service announcements and see safety messaging on billboards as they approach work zones.
Authorities in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania – which also report high numbers of fatal crashes in work zones each year – will be conducting special activities such as holding educational workshops for commercial vehicle drivers and placing safety signage at weigh stations.
Preventing Truck Accidents in Work Zones
Large trucks and 18-wheelers have limited maneuverability and big blind spots, both of which make operating in work zones far more challenging. To prevent accidents, commercial truck drivers should:
- Research their route and avoid work zones whenever possible.
- Keep their eyes on the road, especially in work zones. Avoid distractions, including using their cellphone, eating, drinking, tuning the radio, and conversing with other passengers.
- Slow down when entering a work zone and keep an eye out for road workers. Obey the posted work zone speed limit.
- When approaching lane closures, move into the open lane as soon as possible. Be sure to pay close attention to nearby vehicles that could be in their blind spot.
- To avoid rear-end collisions, maintain extra space between their truck and the vehicle in front at all times.
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