TxDOT says wrecks up in East Texas’ energy-producing zones

TxDOT 'Be Smart' campaign aims to prevent wrecks in state's energy producing areas
Published: Oct. 24, 2023 at 11:42 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2023 at 7:27 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Department of Transportation launched its “Be Safe. Drive Smart” campaign this week, aimed at preventing wrecks in the state’s energy-producing areas.

According to TxDOT, nearly 25% of the state’s traffic fatalities occur in the top five energy-producing sectors. This includes the Haynesville/Bossier Shale region, which includes 15 counties and much of East Texas and Western Louisiana.

208 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in this area in 2022, according to TxDOT. More than 78,000 total crashes occurred in the five main energy sectors across the state, including the Permian Basin and the Barnett Shale.

The leading factor in these crashes was speeding and distracted driving. A disproportionate number of trucks in the roadway as opposed to other areas was also a factor.

“For truck drivers, it’s very dangerous, those trucks are very large and they can lose control very easily,” said Jeff Williford, the public information officer for TxDOT’s Tyler District. “So encouraging people to pay attention, for drivers to be aware, give distance to those large tractor trailers when you’re trying to pass make sure that they see you. Make sure that you have plenty of room to get past them.”

October is also National Pedestrian Safety Month. Williford says October is the deadliest month on Texas roads.

“The time and the daylight starts changing and so October is actually the month with the highest number of fatalities on Texas roadways, we do what we can to bring awareness to that with the days getting shorter,” said Williford.