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TxDOT observes National Work Zone Awareness Week, pleads for safer driving

Published On: Apr 16 2013 07:38:44 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 16 2013 08:38:44 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

This week is National Work Zone Awareness week.

It's five days devoted to raising awareness about driver safety in those dangerous work zones.

"I think the perspective is that we really don't realize how quickly things can go wrong," said Dwayne Justice of TxDOT.

According to TxDOT, 271 employees have been killed since 1938. Nine of those fatalities were from Abilene.

The agency is making sure this never happens again.

"You've gotta be scanning the roadways in front of you," said Justice. "When you see a sign indicating there's some type of road work, immediately slow down," he said.

And impatience, at the very least, can hit you in your pocketbook.

"If you're ticketed in a work zone, your fine goes up considerably," said Richard Waggoner of the Abilene Police Department.

Police and TxDOT urge drivers to remember these workers are real people; their injury or death truly hits home.

"That's a touchy subject because we've had workers that have passed away here," said Justice.

TxDOT said the last fatality in Abilene happned in 2005 when Juan Martinez, 59, died after a skidding vehicle struck him on I-20. Martinez had worked at the agency for 19 years.