Work zone awareness encourages drivers to pay attention to roadside workers

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - 176, that is the number of work zonecrashes that happened in the Lufkin district's nine-county area in 2010.

Monday marked the start of a weeklong initiative reminding drivers theirchoices behind the wheel directly affect those who work to maintain roadways.

"There are people out thereworking and they need to be safe and cautious when they are driving throughwork zones," said Kathi White, TxDOT spokesperson.

In the state of Texas 100 people werekilled in work zone accidents, 2 were from the Lufkin district.

Officials believe that in more ruralareas its easier to lose focus.

"People think they're driving outin the country and they don't see a lot of traffic so they can get complacent,"said David Wars, Contract Inspector.

David Wars works as a contact inspector inTrinity County, he's seen preoccupied drivers firsthand.

"We had our work zone set up,signs on both ends. I was flagging and he just kept coming fast got thereclose locked up the breaks, he was reading the newspaper," said Wars.

Technology is doing more harm than good. Withmany motorists on their cell phones while driving they run the risk of missinga work zone warning completely.

"That's something that we commonlysee in the work zones, especially when someone doesn't realize we're thereuntil they're right on top of us," said Wars.

The initiative is not only to ensurethe safety of road crews but drivers as well.

"We have some very large piecesof equipment in the work zone and if a small car was to his that piece ofequipment it could be very bad for the driver," said Wars.

Because after a day at work, everybody wantsthe same thing.

"Their main goal is to go home inthe evenings to their families just like everybody else," said White.

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