As summer fades into autumn thoughts of road construction often drift away as families begin the hectic school year. But there is good reason for New York drivers to remain vigilant when passing through work zones.Recent U.S. Department of Transportation statistics reveal that the people in greatest danger of being killed in a construction zone accident are not the workers, it is the drivers and passengers of motor vehicles passing through them.Transportation officials from federal and state governments have been working earnestly to reduce the number of car crashes in construction zone accidents over the past seven years. Work zones are covered with alerts for drivers from the warning signs at the beginning of the construction zone to the orange cones guarding danger zones to the bright vests of the workers who work tirelessly to build, maintain and repair the pavement.While these safety measures have helped lower fatalities, the number of lives lost remain high. In 2009, 667 people died in work zone related crashes. Of those lives lost, 85 percent of them were either drivers or their passengers.Drivers passing through work zones need to exercise special caution. Precautionary steps include slowing down and paying special attention to the roadway, whose route may be altered to accommodate the construction. In addition, drivers should avoid distractions such as using their cell phones or load music, which could impair their ability to focus on the road.Safety on the roadway is everyone’s responsibility. Drivers and construction workers alike need to do their part to ensure everyone gets where they need to go in one piece.Source: fastlane.dot.gov, “As Work Zone Awareness Week Begins, road safety is more important than ever,” Press release 5 April 2011.