The News Courier
Transportation Director John Cooper and the Alabama Department of Transportation are urging drivers to slow down, pay attention, limit distractions and be aware of workers along roadways during National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 23-27.
ALDOT maintains road construction and maintenance are essential to building and preserving a system of state, U.S. and interstate highways and local roadways. Work zones present a challenge and potential danger to all motorists and construction and maintenance workers. Improvements in safety, education and driver behavior will help make Alabama’s highways safer.
While national data reflect a decrease in work zone crashes in the past year, Alabama saw a significant increase in crashes in 2011. There were 3,193 crashes in Alabama Highway Work Zones, resulting in more than 850 injuries and 21 fatalities compared to 2010 (2,320 work zone crashes, 722 injuries and 17 fatalities).
Drivers pose the greatest danger in work zone crashes by not paying attention, speeding, and driving while impaired or distracted.
“The increase in work zone crashes in Alabama is a clear indication that drivers must change their driving habits or there will be more loss of lives,” Cooper said. “The sad fact remains that most work zone crashes can be avoided and it’s up to us to work together toward saving lives because drivers, passengers and highway workers all share the risks in work zones.”
In recognition of this year’s Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, Gov. Robert Bentley issued a proclamation marking the 13th anniversary of National Work Zone Awareness Week. Additionally, the exterior of the ALDOT Central Office in Montgomery will reflect orange lighting and billboards will be displayed across the state.
Federal and state agencies, road builders, contractors and local officials are also joining statewide to heighten awareness about the dangers of driving in work zones and to encourage motorists to drive with caution to make Alabama’s highways safer.