Baton Rouge- Today, DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., was joined by state highway transportation officials to observe National Work Zone Awareness Week. This nationwide safety campaign, held April 11-15, is designed to bring awareness to the men and women in work zones across the country, and to encourage motorists to use safety precautions while driving through the work zones.
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 2020, there were 857 fatalities in work zones across the nation. In the same years, there were 14 fatalities and 547 injuries in Louisiana work zones.
“Work Zone safety is an important issue that needs to be highlighted more often,” said Secretary Wilson. “Motorists will see more and more work zones throughout the state as warmer weather approaches and more funding opportunities are given for infrastructure projects. A majority of work zone related fatalities were preventable, as they were attributed to motorists being either impaired, distracted or speeding. We can all do our part to make the roadway a safer place for the men and women who work on the roadways and for our families.”
“Across our state, Troopers work side by side with our DOTD partners to provide a safe working environment for the men and women who are striving to improve Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure,” said Colonel Lamar Davis, State Police Superintendent. “Louisiana State Police will continue to prioritize increased enforcement in work zones to protect the lives of the workers present, as well as the motorists traveling through these active construction zones.”
“People whose jobs place them in work zones are doing important and critical things for our benefit. They do their jobs, and they do them without airbags and bumpers, with only the protection of hard hats and steel-toed shoes. And so, too, we should do our jobs on the roadway and in work zones. Our job is to drive. Just drive. Drive without distraction. Drive without impairment. Drive with total engagement, as we are the operators of multi-ton machines along some very challenging traffic areas—especially the stretches within work zones. Drive as though people’s lives depend on it, because they do,” said Lisa Freeman, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director.
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 #GoOrange4Safety 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.