TxDOT promoting safe driving after an increase in crashes in gas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

TxDOT promoting safe driving after an increase in crashes in gas work areas

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CENTER, TX (KTRE) -

The oil and gas industry has the economy booming in many East Texas counties, leaving some roadways a little crowded.

With that boom all the good things that come along with economic impacts we've had more fatalities," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Divisions

In the Haynesville/Bossier Shale which includes Shelby, San Augustine and Panola Counites, oil and gas production has created hundreds of jobs and economic opportunities.

 But TxDOT officials say that in 2012 there were more than 1,500 crashes in the area and 126 of those were fatal.

"When you have to potential to have traffic that is larger vehicles such as a larger bus or 18-wheeler you have a higher potential for greater injury," said Philip Steen, Regional Commander DPS Houston

The "Be Safe, Drive Smart" campaign is encouraging motorist to get back to the basics of driving to increase their safety."

The drivers, if you'll abide by the laws and the regulations out there don't drive distracted, put your cell phones down and your seatbelts on," said Rawson.

Shelby County Judge Rick Campbell has worked as a volunteer fire fighter for 25 years and has witnessed the consequences of not focusing on the road.

"I see firsthand because I have to go to work 10-50s and use the Jaws of Life to cut people out and normally, unfortunately they were texting," said Campbell.

Oil officials say the economic boom isn't slowing down and more growth is on the way and East Texans need to be prepared.

"At anytime you can have an increase in oil and gas exploration and when that happens there will be more equipment on the roadways," said Steen.

Officials say taking extra initiative to stay safe will make the increase in industry and traffic a smoother transition for drivers.

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