Distracted Drivers Make Construction Zones Dangerous

North Tarrant Express Project lowers speed limit in construction zones

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Road construction workers are becoming more concerned for their safety, not from the work they do, but from the drivers who are causing accidents in construction zones. (Published Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012)

    The North Tarrant Express Project blames distracted drivers for half of all crashes in construction zones.

    "I guess what goes through the mind first is that it is senseless," said Robert Hinkle, of North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners.

    Hinkle said the configuration of lanes can change daily and drivers are too distracted to notice.

    "It's like a roller coaster. It's almost like a Six Flags ride because it's shifting, it's weaving, it's maneuvering," he said.

    The NTE recently lowered the speed limit in construction zones to 50 mph in the hopes of making them safer.

    A car that shifted too far over recently hit two construction workers in their truck. Everyone walked away, but the car was totaled.

    "That is just a blessing in disguise, but it could have turned out a whole lot different," Hinkle said.

    Construction zones on Interstate 635 face the same worries. Four police cars there have been hit, and the LBJ Express Project daily has three to four crashes that require emergency responders.

    LBJ Infrastructure Group spokesman Andy Rittler said distracted drivers are twice as likely to get into a crash than drivers under the influence.

    "When you add a cellphone or makeup or sandwich or even alcohol, at the worst you compound these issues that much more," he said.