National Work Zone Memorial Wall Tour

BEAUMONT (News Release)-A memorial wall to remember those who have lost their lives in work zone accidents made its appearance Monday at a special news conference in Beaumont, the third of five events scheduled throughout Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), along with Representative Deshotel and its transportation partners, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and construction contractor CH2M Hill, sponsored the 20-foot national memorial wall trip to Texas.

There are 1,336 names currently on the national memorial, 293 of those from Texas. The memorial holds the names of motorists, pedestrians and construction workers who have lost their lives in work zone accidents nationwide in recent years.

The 2010 National Work Zone Awareness Week will be held April 19-23. TxDOT is holding statewide events in advance of the national campaign because of the availability of the memorial wall and the opportunity to remind Texans that work zone awareness is a year-round concern, not just a week-long event.

"TxDOT decided to launch the campaign early because we wanted to take advantage of bringing the memorial to Texas to really reinforce the work zone safety message," said Amadeo Saenz, TxDOT Executive Director. "Any time is a good time to emphasize the message of safety, and we were fortunate to have this powerful visual to help us this year."

Besides Beaumont, the National Work Zone Memorial-Respect and Remembrance: Reflections of Life on the Road-will be displayed at four additional locations across the state including Amarillo, El Paso, Laredo and Waco.

A news conference will take place at each event in addition to displaying the national memorial wall. TxDOT scheduled these events across the state to raise public awareness for work zone safety. It is also an opportunity to remember the victims and to remind Texas drivers to slow down and pay attention.

In 2008, the Beaumont District had six work zone fatalities and 802 crashes.

Work zones can be hazardous for motorists as well as highway crews working to improve Texas' highways. 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, it is all too common for motorists to encounter work zones.

œ          Nationally, there are over 800 fatalities and 40,000 injuries in work zone-related crashes each year.

œ          In 2008, there were approximately 20,000 crashes and 175 people killed in highway construction and maintenance work zones in Texas.

œ          Four out of every five work zone fatalities are motorists traveling through the work zone.

œ          Men are almost three times more likely than women to be killed in a work zone crash in Texas.

œ          Speeding and inattention are the most common causes of work zone crashes, and one in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.

œ          Persons under the age of 25 account for 30 percent of all work zone fatalities.