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Abilene Construction Crews Fear Safety Every Day

<p>Leonhard says he's appreciative for the awareness and just asks that motorists pay attention to what's out there on the road,"You've got people working. They've got families to go home to. They're doing us a favor by fixing our roads. Let's do them a favor by paying attention and keeping them safe."</p>

Highway construction zones can be deadly. There were 108 people killed in work zones throughout the state of Texas in 2009.

TxDOT is reporting a 35% decrease in work zone fatalities and officials believe it has a lot to do with "National Work Zone Awareness" week which begins on Monday.

"In 2008, we had zero fatalities and 166 crashes. In 2009, we had one fatality but we were down to 88 crashes," says Marybeth Kilgore, TxDOT employee.

Kilgore says the week of awareness and the fact that speeding fines double in these areas may both be contributing factors to the overall decrease,"Maybe that is what has caused some attention because when you do go through there, if you get caught doing something, your fines will double and that does get expensive."

Construction workers are often faced with dangerous tasks, but Danny Leonhard, a TxDOT employee for almost 30 years, says the scariest part of the job is when the cars travel through the work site, "Every time we get on the road because we never know what the other people are going to do."

In his three decades of experience, Leonhard says there have been several close calls.

"A particular piece of equipment I was on, we had an umbrella on it for shade...It got clipped by a truck and then a flag of only about three to four inches, it also got clipped by a truck," adds Leonhard.

Leonhard says he's appreciative for the awareness and just asks that motorists pay attention to what's out there on the road,"You've got people working. They've got families to go home to. They're doing us a favor by fixing our roads. Let's do them a favor by paying attention and keeping them safe."

While work site awareness week may only be declared for April 4th through the 8th, the Texas Department of Transportation encourages you to drive with caution all year round.

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