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Officials hope to put an end to distracted driving


By Scott Harvey

– As part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Texas Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to avoid distractions, watch out for work zones and their workers.

Trey Turner is with the Paris District office, which serves nine area counties.

"In our work zone in 2009, the Paris District did have 257 total crashes and four fatalities," Turner said.

Statewide in 2009, 66 percent of work zone fatality victims were male, 46 percent of who were less than 35 years old. Turner says in this age of new media, there are more and more distractions for drivers, which concerns workers.

"We have all sorts of distractions that are out there, and we really encourage everyone to put the cell phones down and pay attention to what's in front of you."

He says 1/3 work zone crashes are rear end collisions, indicating motorists are slow to react to what's in front of them perhaps because they're operating a cell phone or an mp3 device while driving.

Motorists are also reminded that work zones can be active at night and on weekends, not just during normal business or traditional peak hours, meaning you should always be on the lookout.