SHERMAN, Tex. -- Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation say drivers' safety comes above all else, especially when it comes to construction zones. This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, and in order to ensure the safety of both drivers and construction workers, officials are going the extra mile to get their message out. Daniel Gotera has more.
Currently, there are 38 ongoing construction projects in the TX-DOT Paris District, which includes Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties. Drivers travel through projects like the one at FM 1417 and Highway 82 everyday, so being prepared to drive through them is the key to keeping everyone safe.
Driving through construction zones is something most of us do on a daily basis without thinking twice, but it could be more dangerous than you think.
"We look at driving as a hassle, ugh, we have to drive to work today and its looked at like down time and if get hung up in a construction zone these folks are out trying to make our commute a little bit quicker and we get frustrated."
But frustrated and inattentive drivers can be dangerous on the road. The state of Texas leads the nation in construction zone accidents.
Approximately 150 people were killed last year. Four contract employees died in the Paris district. Officials say they are trying to avoid similar tragedies in the future.
"When you enter a work zone, you are entering our work place just treat that with respect that you would expect us to treat you we want everyone to go home safe to their families just like you do."
In order to do that, TX-DOT officials ask the public to follow a couple of simple rules that they say will go a long way to reduce the number of accidents in work zones.
Slow down, keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front, and minimize distractions when you're behind the wheel.
"Expect the unexpected, we expect it we know how we're designing our project and we know what’s there, just not paying attention is probably the number one concern for me is what they have on their mind besides the highway."
Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, area engineer Kevin Harris says some projects have to be grouped together in order to take advantage of available resources.
State trooper Lonny Haschel says that if you are pulled over and given a ticket while in a construction zone, fines will double, so be sure to use common sense when out on the roads.