EMORY - The Texas Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to be vigilant on the roadways as part of Work Zone Awareness Week.
In 2010, 100 people were killed in highway construction and maintenance zones in Texas. 108 were killed the previous year. But while work zone fatalities and crashes have declined, there is still work to do.
"Each year, Texas sees fewer work zone fatalities than the year before largely because of coordinated efforts to educate motorists on the dangers of speed and distracted driving in work zones," said John Barton, TxDOT's deputy executive director. "Each of us has the power to protect lives as we drive. We just need to put our cell phones down, stop adjusting the radio and focus on driving safely."
During the summer months, TxDOT oversees more than 1,000 construction or maintenance projects at any given time. With so much construction, motorists frequently encounter work zones.
The state agency reports that the two leading causes of work zone crashes are excessive speed and the failure to remain alert while driving. As a result, one in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision. Of the 100 work zone fatalities in 2010, 54 were drug and alcohol-related.
Texas Department of Transportation Paris District, along with other transportation partners, will observe the 13th annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) April 23 – 27. A press conference for local media is scheduled for April 25 at 1 p.m. in Emory, inside the work zone on the SE corner of the US-69 & SH 19 intersection.
Barton said everyone should take responsibility for work zone safety, from engineers and planners to drivers and pedestrians. For more information about work zone safety or to download our Public Service Announcements, go to www.txdot.gov, search work zone.