SpaceX employee speaks out about reckless driving on Highway 4

SpaceX

Photo: Gaby Moreno

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – A SpaceX employee says reckless drivers are causing him to fear for his safety during his daily commute to work.  

A SpaceX employee contacted Valley Central to speak out about dangerous driving conditions he encounters during his commute to work. The employee wished to stay anonymous but sent us an email detailing the reckless driving that he feels is putting his and other driver’s lives at risk on State Highway 4.  

State Highway 4 looking east. [Photo: Gaby Moreno]

Highway 4, known as Boca Chica Boulevard, is the southernmost state highway in the U.S. and runs East to West through Brownsville, feeding out into Cameron County jurisdiction until it reaches Boca Chica Beach.  

Before the arrival of SpaceX, the often desolate 19 mile stretch outside Brownsville city limits was previously only used by beachgoers, fishermen, and those hoping to live a quiet life surrounded by nature. The two-lane highway winds through historical ranchlands and a wildlife refuge that make spotting animals along the road common and sometimes hazardous.  

The dynamics on the highway have changed in the last three years, with SpaceX development speeding up in a race to orbit. Now, over 1,500 employees and contractors use the highway to get to and from the launch site.  

The anonymous employee, who we will refer to as Greg, said driving conditions out on Highway 4 were concerning even before the surge of employees that arrived recently to help build the anticipated orbital Starship, now, it is simply dangerous.  

During the 6 a.m. and p.m. shift changes, Greg said that cars will often drive far over the speed limit, aggressively tailgating law-abiding drivers. With only one other lane to use to pass, drivers will often speed up to and an estimated 90-100 miles per hour to pass several cars, narrowly avoiding head-on collisions, and will even do so blindly through curves in the highway.  

Some of the worst offenders, Greg said, are trucks that battle for the front position in the caravan of cars and will speed up when they see another trying to pass. He said he also observed this type of behavior around the dangerous curves where speed is meant to be reduced for drivers’ safety.  

During several of Valley Central’s drives to the SpaceX site, we have witnessed the aggressive tailgating and passing during various hours of the day. Greg said the worst times to be on the highway are 5:30 a.m. to 6:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

Greg said the highway has gone unpatrolled for some time. On Wednesday, August 18, Valley Central called the Texas Department of Public Safety and notified them about the situation, they said they would send a trooper when available.  

On Thursday, August 19, Greg wrote back to Valley Central saying that he saw a trooper during his drive to work Wednesday around 6:50 p.m. and again on Thursday. He hopes speaking out about the issue will help change the culture on the highway and save lives.  

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