BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week.

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), observed April 26-30, is themed “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.” ALDOT Regional Engineer DeJarvis Leonard, Jefferson County Deputy County Manager Cal Markert, SSR/ARBA Principal Skip Powe, and Keith Dillard of Alabama Guardrail/AGC Alabama spoke during Wednesday’s conference.

NWZAW is the 21st annual campaign held at the start of construction season that encourages safe driving through highway work zones. The public awareness campaign was launch to encourage drivers to use extra caution in work zones and understand they play a role in keeping motorists and roadway workers safe. 

According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, 762 fatal crashes in work zones resulting in 842 deaths in 2019. Tragically, 135 roadway workers were part of these killed in work zones. These fatality counts are up from 757 and 124 in 2018.

Tips for being a safer driver in work zones:

• Slow down and obey posted speed limits. 
• Stay alert; work zones can change daily, and signs, cones, drums, and flaggers are there to help guide you safely. 
• Keep your eyes on the road and eliminate distractions such as cell phones. 
• Watch for sudden stops and don’t tailgate. 
• Watch for workers and their equipment. 
• Move over a lane to give the construction crew more space if the roadway allows. 

“Construction and maintenance workers risk their lives each day on behalf of the public in order to build and maintain the roads and bridges we all need for our daily activities. These workers are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and coworkers,” Skip Powe, Principal with SSR said.

“Just like all of us, they want to go home to their families at the end of the workday.  Their families need them, just like yours need you.” 

The full press conference can be watched here.