In observance of the Ninth Annual National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7 through April 11, the Texas Department of Transportation is joining the Federal Highway Administration as well as other national transportation associations to urge motorists to take extra care when traveling in and around work zones.

TxDOT maintains more than 79,000 miles of highway with more than 1,000 construction or maintenance projects underway at any given time. With so much construction work, it is all too common for motorists to encounter work zones.

More than 1,000 motorists are killed and 40,000 are injured in work zone-related crashes across the nation each year. In Texas, approximately 150 people are killed annually in highway construction and maintenance zones.

More than four out of every five work-zone fatalities are motorists traveling through the work zones. Speeding and inattention are the most cited causes of work zone crashes, and one in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.

“We want motorists to be aware of the safety issues that work zones pose to construction workers and the traveling public,” said Carlos Lopez, director of the TxDOT Traffic Operations Division. “Our goal, as always, is to reduce the number of fatalities that occur in work zones and to remind motorists to do their part to help save lives.”

Lopez said everyone should take responsibility for work zone safety, from engineers and planners to drivers and pedestrians.