Work zones, population booms add to massive highway traffic accidents

Motorcycle on Texas highway. Luckily the driver survived. (Michael Bennett)

199 deaths in Texas roadway work zones

813 serious injuries

The Texas Department of Transportation reports that work zone fatalities increased 9 percent in 2017 over the previous year. There were 199 deaths and 813 serious injuries in work zones, with 4 percent of those fatalities being road crew workers, the remaining 96 percent was comprised of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

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For instance, daily traffic counts on IH-10 near Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 1990 was 36,000 vehicles growing to 106,000 by 2010. Today it exceeds 120,000. Less than 10 miles south, at IH-10 and Crossroads Mall, the counts went from 112,000 in 1990 to now over 206,000. It’s not secret the current construction projects are necessary.

“We always urge drivers to exercise great caution and obey traffic laws, especially in work zones,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Doing so helps ensure everyone – motorists and work crews – gets home safely to their loved ones.”

IH10 at Camp Bullis between San Antonio and Boerne, TX (Transguide)

As the state’s population continues to boom, the price of progress can mean more than 2,500 active TxDOT work zones at any given time. In 2017, there were 27,148 work zone crashes in Texas, an increase of 5 percent over 2016. The leading causes of statewide work zone crashes – speeding and driver inattention – are entirely preventable. Fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.

“Roadside crews often work only a few feet from fast-moving traffic,” Bass said. “Driver vigilance is paramount to ensuring the safety of everyone in the work zone. We urge anyone driving through a work zone to minimize distractions, give their full attention to the road and be prepared to slow down or stop on short notice.”

IH 10 at 1604 in Northwest San Antonio. (Transguide)

As part of its ongoing Work Zone Awareness campaign, TxDOT also reminds drivers of the Move Over/Slow Down law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching TxDOT crews, law enforcement, emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the roadside or shoulder with flashing blue or amber lights. Failure to do so can result in fines up to $2,000.



Top 10 Most Congested Roadways in Texas

Rank 1 — IH 610 West between IH 10/US 90 and IH 69/US 59

Region: Houston       County: Harris      Previous Ranking: 1
Annual hours of delay per mile: 1,458,136     Annual Congestion Cost: $105,317,063

Rank 2 — IH 35 between SH 71 and US 290

Region: Austin       County: Travis      Previous Ranking: 2
Annual hours of delay per mile: 1,307,719     Annual Congestion Cost: $218,128,087

Rank 3 — IH 69/US 59 between IH 610 West and SH 288

Region: Houston       County: Harris      Previous Ranking: 11
Annual hours of delay per mile: 1,276,548     Annual Congestion Cost: $137,929,823

Rank 4 — SS 366 between US 75 and N. Beckley Avenue

Region: Dallas       County: Dallas      Previous Ranking: 4
Annual hours of delay per mile: 1,087,612     Annual Congestion Cost: $29,762,768

Rank 5 — Eastex Freeway between IH 10/US 90 and SH 288

Region: Houston       County: Harris      Previous Ranking: 3
Annual hours of delay per mile: 1,045,788     Annual Congestion Cost: $64,049,499

Rank 6 — IH 35 East between IH 30 and SH 183

Region: Dallas       County: Dallas      Previous Ranking: 8
Annual hours of delay per mile: 802,780     Annual Congestion Cost: $87,280,006

Rank 7 — Katy Freeway between N. Eldridge Parkway and SL 8 West

Region: Houston       County: Harris      Previous Ranking: 5
Annual hours of delay per mile: 668,003     Annual Congestion Cost: $43,733,265

Rank 8 — IH 45 between IH 10/US 90 and IH 610 South

Region: Houston       County: Harris      Previous Ranking: 10
Annual hours of delay per mile: 659,887     Annual Congestion Cost: $104,159,607

Rank 9 — IH 45 between SL 8 North and IH 610 North

Region: Houston       County: Harris      Previous Ranking: 6
Annual hours of delay per mile: 636,172     Annual Congestion Cost: $115,739,616

Rank 10 — US 75 between Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway and SS 366

Region: Dallas       County: Dallas      Previous Ranking: 13
Annual hours of delay per mile: 630,409     Annual Congestion Cost: $112,923,318



TransGuide traffic

The Top 10 Most Congested Roadways in the San Antonio

1 — US 281 between Stone Oak Parkway and SL 1604

Annual hours of delay per mile: 428,460     Annual Congestion Cost: $23,972,300


2 — IH 410/IH 35 between IH 410 North and IH 410 East South Cutoff

Annual hours of delay per mile: 366,696     Annual Congestion Cost: $28,682,571


Rank 3 — IH 35/IH 10 between US 90 and US 281/IH 37

Annual hours of delay per mile: 325,202     Annual Congestion Cost: $28,614,186


Rank 4 — IH 410 North between IH 10/US 87 and US 281

Annual hours of delay per mile: 321,293     Annual Congestion Cost: $28,094,053


Rank 5 — IH 410 between IH 10/US 87 and Culebra Road

Annual hours of delay per mile: 260,076     Annual Congestion Cost: $31,171,573


Rank 6 — IH 35 between IH 410 North Cutoff and SL 1604 North

Annual hours of delay per mile: 234,303     Annual Congestion Cost: $22,611,760


Rank 7 — SL 1604 North between US 281 and IH 10/US 87

Annual hours of delay per mile: 233,726     Annual Congestion Cost: $37,376,470


Rank 8 — Bandera Road between FM 1560 and IH 410

Annual hours of delay per mile: 224,711     Annual Congestion Cost: $34,430,986


Rank 9 — IH 410 between US 281 and IH 35

Annual hours of delay per mile: 223,890     Annual Congestion Cost: $24,678,280


Rank 10 — SL 1604 Northwest between IH 10/US 87 and Braun Road

Annual hours of delay per mile: 194,923     Annual Congestion Cost: $25,704,990


According to the Texas Department of Transportation most crashes in Texas result from speeding, failure to yield, driving under the influence of alcohol, following too closely and running red lights and stop signs.

Traffic congestion (NL)

Avoid a Collision

  • Slow down and drive to conditions.
  • Drive friendly – yield to other drivers and be courteous.
  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Look both ways before you enter an intersection.
  • Signal every turn and lane change.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.

What To Do After a Crash

  1. Check for injuries. If people are hurt, tend to them.
  2. Move your car out of the roadway to a safer place where you can exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle identification numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, insurance information and driver license information.
  3. Note the location of the crash and get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. If the vehicles cannot be moved, protect the scene by setting up flares or raising your hood.

When to Call Police

Always call the police when:

  • an injury or fatality is involved,
  • the vehicles cannot be moved,
  • you suspect one of the drivers is intoxicated,
  • one of the drivers has no insurance, or
  • one of the drivers leaves the scene.

When to Move Your Vehicle

If you are in a collision and no one is hurt, don’t wait for the police before moving your vehicle. If you can drive the vehicle, the law requires you to move it out of the flow of traffic.

If there is damage to the vehicle, stop and exchange information. If someone is hurt, render aid and notify law enforcement. If you hit an unattended vehicle, find the driver or write your name and address on a note explaining what happened. You must also include the owner’s name and address if the vehicle you are driving doesn’t belong to you.

Auto Insurance

Texas law requires drivers to have basic liability coverage. If you don’t have auto insurance, you can be fined up to $350 (or more if you’ve been ticketed before for no insurance). Be ready to show your insurance card if an officer asks you for it, and inform your insurance company of a collision right away.


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