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National Work Zone Awareness Week Highlights Number of Fatal Accidents in Road Work Zones

We see the big orange barrels set up in the median and know the road we're traveling down is under construction. But how many of us reduce our speed significantly when driving through that work zone? Motorists should exercise extreme caution when driving through work zones at all times, but especially April 23-27, which is National Work Zone Awareness Week.

The reasons are many. Texas averages 15,000 motor vehicle accidents and more than 100 lives lost each year through work zone accidents. One in three of those accidents is a rear-end collision, usually meaning a driver was following too closely and/or not paying attention to the vehicle before him. Indeed, more than 3,000 of all the work zone accidents in Texas in 2010 were due to distracted driving and 14 people lost their lives as a result.

Drugs, alcohol and work zones are a deadly combination. Fifty-four of the 100 deaths in work zones in 2010 were traced to impaired driving. Young drivers are the demographic group most likely to be involved in a work zone accident; in 2010, drivers under age 35 accounted for 45 percent of all work zone fatalities and males under age 35 accounted for 61 percent of those fatalities.

Source: Federal Highway Administration, "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones: National Work Zone Awareness Week 2012," March 2012.

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