Today, DOTD Secretary Eric Kalivoda was joined by officials from Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and the Federal Highway Administration to observe National Work Zone Awareness Week. This nationwide safety campaign, held April 17-21, brings awareness to the men and women in work zones, as well as highlights the importance of safe driving and encourages motorists to use safety precautions while driving through a work zone.
As part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, DOTD annually creates a safety cone memorial in front of DOTD headquarters in Baton Rouge. The memorial recognizes those who have lost their lives in work zones. In 2021, there were 956 fatalities in work zones across the nation. In the same year, there were 17 fatalities in Louisiana work zones. This is an increase from the previous year, which saw 857 nationwide fatalities and 14 Louisiana fatalities.
“The men and women who work in construction zones are put in potentially dangerous situations every single day and night they go to work,” said Kalivoda. “We must be vigilant in doing our part to create a safer roadway for not only workers, but also for our loved ones. Last year, a DOTD MAP driver was killed in the line of duty and in January three DOTD employees were involved in a crash while performing routine maintenance work. One of those employees, Chris Gray, was killed in that crash while simply trying to do his job. These horrific incidents could have been easily prevented and Work Zone Awareness Week shines the light on the importance of safe driving, especially in construction zones.”
“Across the state, Troopers work alongside DOTD representatives to ensure safe work environments as we move forward improving community and transportation infrastructures,” said Colonel Lamar Davis, State Police Superintendent. “Louisiana State Police will continue to keep work zone safety a priority protecting the lives of both workers and motorists traveling through active construction zones.”
“What it all boils down to is basic consideration,” Lisa Freeman, Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission said. “When you’re at the office, it would be unthinkable for anyone to aggressively or violently enter your work space. The stakes are much higher in a highway work zone. There, inconsideration and inattention can lead to death. Our roadway workers are helping to improve our infrastructure. Let’s give them the time and space they require.”
“National Work Zone Awareness Week serves as an annual reminder that work zone safety and mobility for all road users—including motorists and vulnerable road users like pedestrians, bicyclists, and highway workers on foot—continues to be a significant issue that must be addressed. National Work Zone Awareness Week continues to be a call to action for everyone. Safety is a responsibility shared by all transportation professionals and everyone who uses our nation’s roadways. You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us,” said Federal Highway Administration Deputy Division Administrator Raegan Ball.
DOTD, as well as other transportation agencies nationwide, will be participating in Go Orange and Yellow Day on April 13 to show support for work zone safety. We encourage the public to participate as well. Those wishing to participate or follow along on social media can do so by using the hashtags #GoOrange&Yellow4Safety and #NWZAW or email pictures to DOTDPI@la.gov.
Since 1999, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Federal Highway Administration, and the American Traffic Safety Services Association have coordinated and sponsored National Work Zone Awareness Week. For more information about Work Zone Awareness, visit www.destinationzerodeaths.com.