National Work Zone Awareness Week

By: Kylie Dixon Email
By: Kylie Dixon Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX-- "Don't Barrel Through the Work Zones" is the national campaign encouraging all drivers to slow down when they see orange signs.

Monday, the Texas Department of Transportation kicked off National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Thomas Jones has been in road construction for over 20 years.

He says it's nerve-wracking when someone drives past you, at 70 miles per hour.

"You've got an extra pair of eyes in the back of your head. You got your neck on a swivel, all the time. You're always looking behind you looking for cars. You're trying to do your job and your also trying to watch people," Jones, said.

In 2010, TxDOT says in Texas alone, there were more than 3,000 crashes within work zones.

14 of those ended with the deaths of a driver or a worker.

Texas troopers say they work too many of these accidents.

"Part of the problem is, we have people driving down the road that are not paying attention, they are speeding and they cause accidents on the side of these construction zones," according to Trooper Mark Tackett.

In 2008, TxDOT worker Delbert Gann was killed on highway 82 in Sherman.

He was diverting traffic and cleaning up a diesel spill from earlier in the day, when he was hit by a car.

Chad Stone, an architecture safety manager, says, "if something like that happens, we let our whole crew know and we have a safety stand-down and talk about it. We also do what's called a risk assessment form before every job and before every different job, and we analyze it that way. A lot of times, fatalities like that, that happen in this area, we will talk about those, so everybody is aware of them.

Before the day starts, the crews go through a safety check list, covering areas they will be working and what to watch out for.

TxDOT says, ultimately safety is everyone's responsibility.

David Selman with TxDOT says, "Anytime folks see orange, we want them to slow down and pay attention."

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