April is Work Zone Awareness Month

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 20, 2018

The Mississippi Department of Transportation has deemed April as Work Zone Awareness Month.

MDOT Public Information Officer Jas Smith said the month gives the agency a reason to remind the public to be aware of their surroundings, especially while driving through work zones on the interstate and on local roads.

“We want everyone to learn what challenges can arise when driving through a work zone and how to safely drive through them,” Smith said. “At our headquarters in Jackson, we have a memorial where you can find the names of all the workers who have died while working on the side of the road. Our goal is to not put another name on that memorial.”

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Every spring, the Federal Highway Administration holds a national work zone awareness week. But MDOT decided to take it one step further and extend it through the month of April.

“We have workers on the side of the road every day and we need to do everything possible to make it safe for them and also the motorist,” Smith said. “From a person holding a lane closure ahead sign or a big flashy sign that instructs you to slow down ahead, we make sure motorists are able to drive through the work zones safely,” Smith said.

According to statistics from MDOT, speed was a factor in one-fourth of all fatal work zone crashes. Half of all fatal work zone collisions occurred when vehicles were hit from behind.

“When accidents occur through work zones, most of the time the people injured are the drivers and passengers inside the vehicles. We want everyone to go home safely,” Smith said.

Besides slowing down when driving through work zone, MDOT also advises motorists to focus on the road, not their phone while also obeying speed limits.

Keeping attention on the road will ensure the motorist has a better chance to react to unexpected situations, Smith said.

To learn more about navigating safely through work zones, visit goMDOT.com/DriveSmartMS.