New devices to keep Texas roads safe

Texas Department of Transportation aims to keep its workers, drivers safe

EL PASO, Texas - In 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation reported 3,400 traffic-related deaths in the state. In work zones, 17,000 were documented.

Efforts to lower the statistics are underway statewide by TxDoT officials with new tools to warn drivers and protect the safety of workers on highways.

Three new devices will soon be seen in the city of El Paso.

Automatic flaggers will replace actual workers waving warning flags on the site of construction projects.

In late June, Ciro Lozano, 41, a TxDoT worker was killed on Patriot Freeway while working on a maintenance project.

Yellow, left turn arrows will soon be seen on traffic signals.
The yellow arrow indicate traffic is permitted to turn left but must yield to oncoming traffic.

Rumble strips will be used to slow down drivers when they are approaching a maintenance project along a highway with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour.

The black, rubbery strips are less than an inch high and have miniature speed bumps.

TxDoT spokeswoman Blanca Del Valle said the rumble strips will not damage vehicles, but drivers will certainly feel the difference.

"They'll feel a little vibration when they drive over it, telling drivers, 'hey, wake up, you're approaching a construction area,'" said Del Valle.

The rumble strips will be in place within 2 to 3 months in El Paso.

Del Valle said once TxDoT installs the yellow left-turn signals, the city of El Paso will be in charge of maintenance.

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