The Texas Department of Transportation’s Sherman office will display orange traffic cones on its lawn this Friday, with each representing one person killed in Texas work zones last year.


The display is meant to pair with the now underway National Work Zone Awareness Week and share TxDOT’s message that work zone crashes and collisions across the state are on the rise.


In 2016, there were more than 25,000 work zone crashes — a 27 percent increase from the previous year — that resulted in the loss of 181 lives. Of those fatalities, 174 — 96 percent — were motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. The agency reports the two leading causes of such crashes are speed and driver inattention.


“People often think work zone crashes result in the deaths of roadside workers, but statistics show the vast majority of these fatalities are drivers like you and me who are passing through as motorists,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in a press release. “We urge you to pay attention and adhere to posted traffic signs when driving through work zones to ensure your safety and the safety of the men and women who are working on our roads. At the end of the day, we want everyone to return home safely to their loved ones.”


Texas law requires motorists to either move over or slow down when approaching work crews, emergency vehicles or tow trucks on the roadside. Traffic fines in work zones double when workers are present and can cost up to $2,000.


For additional information, contact Tim.McAlavy@txdot.gov or (903) 737-9213.