Somervell County - This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week with the theme 'Don’t Be THAT Driver: Work on Safety. Get Home Safely. Every Day.'

The week is to raise awareness of the dangers that can be present in work zones and how to go about navigating them safely.

“Work zones are those sections of the roadways marked by cones, barrels, and/or signs,” according to the Texas Department of Insurance, an organization taking part in National Work Zone Awareness Week. “The two leading causes of work zone crashes are excessive speed and failure to remain alert while driving.”

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shows statistics that more motorists perish in work zones than workers. Last year there were 21,886 work zone crashes in Texas, an increase of 13 percent from previous years. Those crashes killed 138 people.

“People often think work zone crashes result in the deaths of roadside workers, but last year, 81 percent of these fatalities were motorists,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in a press release. “Work zones require complete attention and strict adherence to posted traffic signs. For the sake of everyone working in and traveling through work zones, we urge drivers to be extremely careful and responsible so everyone can arrive home safely to their loved ones.”

Traffic fines double for work zone violations in Texas reaching as high as $2,000 with accidents bringing the possibility of jail time--not to mention the possibility of severely injuring someone or worse. It is best to just not be “THAT Driver” that ignores work zone safety precautions.

“By law, drivers are required to move over or slow down when approaching work crews, emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the roadside or shoulder with flashing blue or amber lights,” the release states.

For more information about Texas roadway laws and safety tips visit the TxDOT website at www.txdot.gov or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.