AUSTIN (KXAN) — A vehicle specifically designed to protect construction workers and equipment may have saved lives this morning after an 18-wheeler crashed into a work zone on I-35 in south Austin.

Around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, an 18-wheeler traveling northbound on I-35 crashed into the I-35 Capital Express South Project work zone near Onion Creek Parkway. It slammed into the back of a safety vehicle, known as a Scorpion truck, designed to protect construction workers and construction equipment. It acts as a crash cushion and creates a safety barrier between moving traffic and a work zone.

KXAN Traffic Anchor Erica Brennes sat down with Bradley Wheelis, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation to learn more about these Scorpion trucks.

Construction work zone safety is a top priority for TxDOT. Last year 205 people were killed in work zones in Texas. Only one of those people was a construction worker. The rest were drivers, their passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

With so many construction projects underway in the Austin area, it is important that you drive safely, and slowly through construction zones. Reduce your speed by at least 20 miles per hour under the usual speed limit, and put down your phone, to eliminate as many distractions as possible.