National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

It's a costly mistake That thousands of Texans are making every year, And TxDOT is trying to put a dent in those numbers.

Tomorrow kicks off "National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week," and panhandle TxDOT officials are asking drivers for a favor.

Ron Johnston says, "see orange, slow down, be safe, and drive smart. "

There were more than 17,000 work zone crashes in 2013, 115 of which were fatal.

TxDOT hosted a meeting, aiming to keep work zones more safe in 2014.

Johnston says, "well, what I think that most people need to know is that the people that get her in our work zones for the most part, 85% of those people are the people that are actually driving in those work zones."

Trooper Chris Ray says, "the biggest problem we have is distracted driving.  People raen't paying attention.  They're not noticing that there are workers or there's even cones.  We've had workers hit from drivers striking a cone adn then that cone strikes that worker."

Ray says cell phones, putting on make up and even just changing radio stations are often behind the work zone accidents.

But he says it's important for folks to know that these accidents will cost you.

"Since the late 90's, the legislature indicated the fines which will double in a work zone if workers are present. I don't know about you but there's no way I can afford a $400  fine for not paying attention."

Ray says accidents in work zones are on the rise, but they're hoping this week will help make stop the troubling trend.

Johnston says, "always be aware of your surroundings.  We hope that it will help you stay alive, stay safe, and stay smart."

In 2013, almost 85% of fatalities on Texas roads were drivers traveling through work zones.

Johnston says TxDOT offers safety driving in work zones classes, hoping to make that percentage go down.

National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week was established in 1999.

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