National Work Zone Awareness Week prioritizes worker safety in roadway construction zones

From April 17 until the 21 is National Work Zone Awareness Week.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 5:46 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Reporter Michael Barnes puts his safety vest on and goes live at a Shreveport roadway construction zone to find out how you can keep safe.

From April 17 until the 21 is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a week dedicated to bringing awareness to the importance of worker safety in roadway construction zones. Many deaths related to work zone accidents are caused by distracted drivers, so we are taking a look at what you should be aware of when driving through.

A work zone is defined by the federal Department of Transportation as a work zone in an area of highway with construction, maintenance, or utility work activities. The zones are typically marked by signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement parking, and/or work vehicles.

“Pay attention when you’re driving through any type of work zone. Put down any distractions and don’t drive impaired and think about what they’re doing and how dangerous it already is, especially if we have people driving recklessly or distracted,” says Erinn Buchanan from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. (LA DOTD)

“It’s not likely that someone is going to come driving through that cubicle at 70 miles an hour, two feet, or five feet, or ten feet away from me. When a roadway worker is out in their office space, that scenario happens all the time,” Buchanan asks others to try and put themselves in the worker’s shoes. “We already lost a DOTD employee who worked in the North Louisiana District back in January. It was an extremely tragic situation that affected the crew members. His name was Chris Gray, and he had family and friends working DOTD as well.”

Louisiana’s Department of Transportation tells us that over 1000 people were killed in work zone-related incidents, 17 from Louisiana

How to stay safe for yourself and others when approaching a work zone:

  • Slow down
  • Put down any distraction
  • Follow posted signs
  • Be alert
  • Remain calm as you are going through the zone
  • Don’t drive impaired