BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On Wednesday, April 10, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) held a press conference in observance of Work Zone Awareness Week (April 8 through 12) at their headquarters.
Officials from around the state came together to discuss the importance of driving carefully through work zones and to bring attention to the safety of workers.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Work Zone Safety: Drive Like You Work Here.” DOTD says the theme reinforces the message that a work zone is essentially an office space for those working on the state’s roads.
“This nationwide safety campaign is one of great importance to this department. Each year, there are a high number of work zone fatalities. As we ramp up efforts across the state to build new infrastructure and repair existing ones, it is important for motorists to use extra precautions in work zones and remember that these are the offices of thousands of men and women in the construction industry,” said DOTD Secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson.
As part of Work Zone Awareness Week, a safety cone memorial has been put up in front of DOTD’s headquarters to honor those who have lost their lives in work zones. DOTD says across the country, 799 lives were lost in 2017 in work zones, with 11 of those in Louisiana.
“As a driver, you must use extra caution in work zones to keep yourself and others safe,” said FHWA Division Administrator Wes Bolinger.
“Across the state, troopers work alongside DOTD representatives to ensure safe work environments as we move forward improving community and transportation infrastructures. Louisiana State Police will continue to keep work zone safety a priority, protecting the lives of both workers and motorists traveling through active work zones,” said LSP Superintendent Colonel Kevin Reeves.
“Studies show that 94 percent of all vehicle crashes are caused by driver behavior, such as speeding, tailgating, drunk driving, drugged driving, drowsy driving, and distracted driving. In a work zone, lanes are narrow and construction workers and equipment are moving around, and this activity demands every driver’s full attention. Just a split-second of taking your eyes off the road can have disastrous consequences,” said LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman.
For more about Work Zone Awareness Week, click here.