Motorists account for 81% of work zone deaths - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Motorists account for 81% of work zone deaths

TxDOT work zone.  Source: KFDA TxDOT work zone. Source: KFDA
TxDOT worker. Source: KFDA TxDOT worker. Source: KFDA
Amarillo work zone. Source: KFDA Amarillo work zone. Source: KFDA
DPS Trooper Cindy Barkley. Source: KFDA DPS Trooper Cindy Barkley. Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Local officials want motorists to "Own the Zone," and take extra safety measures when they see orange safety cones.

Last year, three people were killed and eight more injured in 164 work zone crashes in the Amarillo area. Four out of five people killed in work-related accidents are motorists, not TxDOT workers.

"It is important for motorists to pay attention so they can go home safely," TxDot official Paul Braun said. "It is not all about the workers, it is about everybody going through the work zone and everybody being able to go home to their families at night."

Braun adds a work zone can be real difficult for motorists because traffic patterns constantly change.

Open lanes can go from three lanes to one, and roads could become more narrower than what motorists are used to.

With summer approaching, TxDOT workers will soon be in full swing working on paving projects. 

"This is the time of year they really really pick up because now is when we can start laying asphalt," Braun said. "The weather starts getting a little warmer and we can start doing the paving projects that we need to do. So it is a really good idea to start thinking about those work zones because you're going to start coming across more active work zones as the months get warmer."

The two main causes for work related accidents involve speed and distracted drivers.

As more construction and work zone projects emerge, law officials will be on the look out for these drivers.

Drivers can expect fines to double if they're caught speeding in a work zone while workers are present. A local trooper adds one way to avoid distractions is to pull over and reassess the environment inside your vehicle.

"Let your passenger sitting beside you take care of your cell phone, let them answer your text, answer your calls," DPS Trooper Cindy Barkley said. "Try not to reach around in the back seat to tend to a child, just pull over so we can keep everyone safe."

For a complete map of active TxDOT projects in Amarillo and surrounding areas, visit The Amarillo Loop or Drive Texas.  

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