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Public Safety

State of Texas
Texas Department of Transportation
News Release
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

National Observance Week Highlights Work Zone Awareness
“Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone.”

AUSTIN – For many motorists, the first word that comes to mind when encountering a highway construction work zone is delay. The word that should come to mind is caution.

Each April, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) joins the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), national transportation associations and numerous other state DOTs for National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) to remember victims and to raise awareness about safety precautions for workers and motorists in work zones. This year, NWZAW will be observed April 4-8.

Work zones can be hazardous for both motorists and highway crews working to improve Texas’ highways. However, TxDOT has seen a 35 percent decrease in work zone fatalities in 2009 from the previous year because of increased safety measures and public outreach efforts.

While work zone fatalities and crashes have declined significantly, there is still work to do. In 2009, 108 people were killed in highway construction and maintenance zones in Texas.

“One work zone fatality is one too many. We are continuing our efforts to educate motorists on the dangers of speed and distracted driving in work zones,” said Fred Underwood, Texas Transportation Commissioner. “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.”

TxDOT maintains approximately 80,000 miles of highway with more than 1,000 construction or maintenance projects underway at any given time. With so much construction, motorists frequently encounter work zones.

  • In 2009, there were 3,871 distracted driver crashes in work zones, involving 7,837 vehicles. These distracted driver crashes resulted in 27 fatalities.
  • In 2009, 66 percent of work zone fatalities were male.
  • Forty-six percent of all work zone fatalities for 2009 were 35 years old or younger.
  • Four out of every five work zone fatalities are motorists traveling through the work zone.
  • One in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.
  • Of the 108 work zone fatalities in 2009, 40 were drug and alcohol-related.

Underwood 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 newest Public Service Announcements, go to, search work zone.

For more information call TxDOT’s Government & Public Affairs Division at (512) 463-8700.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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