Work zone ahead — ease up on the pedal!
By Sen. Carlos Uresti
Perhaps you were driving through life too fast last week to notice it was National Work Zone Awareness Week.
Don't worry. It's not too late to slow down, stop fiddling with the radio dial, put the cell phone away and watch where you're going. You could save a hefty traffic ticket—perhaps even your life.
For many drivers, a highway construction zone is no reason to ease up on the accelerator, and that's a mistake. These areas demand caution, and caution doesn't come with speed and inattention.
Work zones are dangerous places, for both motorists and highway crews. According to the Texas Department of Transportation:
- In 2008, 175 people were killed in highway construction and maintenance zones in Texas.
- More than four out of every five work zone fatalities are motorists traveling through the work zone.
- Thirty-four percent of all work zone fatalities for 2008 were drug and alcohol-related and 71 percent of work zone fatalities were male.
- One in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.
Still not convinced? Remember that traffic fines double in work zones, so for health and personal financial reasons, these areas need your undivided attention.
Each April, TxDOT joins with the Federal Highway Administration, national transportation associations and other states' transportation departments for National Work Zone Awareness Week – a time to remember victims and raise awareness of safety precautions for workers and motorists in these areas.
It's particularly important in Texas, where TxDOT maintains some 80,000 miles of highway, with more than 1,000 construction or maintenance projects underway at any given time.
National Work Zone Awareness Week was observed April 19-23, but you probably drove right through it with nary a glance. There's no reason to keep it a one-week affair. Let's be safe and observe work zones all year round. For more information about work zone safety go to www.txdot.gov/safety/tips/work_zones.htm.