Tx DOT Increases Crash Evaluations with Increase in Fatalities 9/7/12
CBS 7 News
September 7, 2012
ODESSA, TX - This summer has been flooded with crashes and fatalities on the roads.
Now the Texas Department of Transportation Odessa region office is changing the way they study these crashes, just to keep up with the increase.
"When we look at a ten year timeline, our fatal wrecks were going down over time and this year we've seen an upturn," explained Gene Powell, spokesperson for the agency.
It's a change on the roads that have prompted a change at the Tx DOT offices.
"We're moving to monthly meetings simply because we want to be quicker to respond if there's something we can do."
Powell says their quarterly fatal crash reviews are now every month.
Evaluating if a change in the road system could prevent a future crash and save a life.
An overpass in Andrews County at FM 1788 and Hwy 15 was put in as a direct result of a fatal crash. Tx DOT gave the go ahead to build the overpass after one of those meetings.
But when 75 percent of the fatal crashes in West Texas are due to human error, even safety measures can't always protect drivers.
A new fence line along 191 was an effort to prevent illegal and dangerous u turning on the fast paced highway, but it was run over the day it was completed.
And following the boom traffic, Powell admits is difficult.
"Trying to stay ahead and predict where the oil is going to be is really hard to do with the funding mechanisms that we have in place and the fact that we plan two and three years out."
"The reality is congestion is something thatís come to west Texas and something we need to learn how to drive in."
Tx DOT has dozens of smaller scale safety projects to keep drivers safe.
This week and next week they are installing lights on Highway 158 near I-20, and later this year they plan to install lights at 191 and Faudree, along with centerline texturing down 1766.