<!--:es-->DRIVERS TO BE SAFE. DRIVE SMART<!--:-->

DRIVERS TO BE SAFE. DRIVE SMART

WHEN TRAVELING THROUGH BARNETT SHALE REGION
Awareness campaign aims to reduce crashes, save lives in Texas’ energy-producing communities

AUSTIN — As energy exploration and production continue to boost the state’s economy, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers in those regions to Be Safe. Drive Smart. when sharing the road with increased traffic, work crews and heavy, commercial trucks.
“Safety is our top priority at TxDOT and we strongly encourage drivers to exercise additional caution when traveling through energy zones and other areas where they share the road with heavy trucks and equipment,” said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “Being safe and driving smart could be the difference between crashing and reaching your destination.”
In 2013, there were 15,590 traffic crashes in the Barnett Shale region that resulted in serious injuries or fatalities. The 575 fatalities resulting from those crashes in the 25-county region in North Texas represent an increase of 8 percent over the previous year. According to law enforcement, the leading causes of crashes in the region were failure to control speed and driver inattention. The most dangerous times of day were around noon and 5 p.m.
To help encourage safe driving habits, TxDOT is partnering with the oil and gas industry, Texas Department of Public Safety and communities across the Barnett Shale. The Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign includes billboards, gas pump advertising, newspaper ads and TV spots featuring residents from energy-producing communities.
TxDOT’s Be Safe. Drive Smart. campaign offers the following common sense advice for drivers to help reduce their risk of becoming a crash statistic:
· Always buckle up.
· Pay attention, which means no talking or texting on cell phones or engaging in any other distracting behaviors.
· Give trucks space.
· Drive a safe speed that takes traffic, road conditions and weather into account.
· Stop for all stop signs and red lights.
· Pass carefully.

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