It’s that time of year again where you see more orange cones, barrels and signs on roads and highways. Before the road work season gets into full swing, VDOT is reminding everyone to be safe while in a highway work zone.
April 26 through 30 is National Work Zone Awareness Week.
State departments across the country use the week to make sure people know to slow down and pay attention while driving, especially in a highway work zone.
In 2020, 11 Virginians were killed and 1,547 were injured in work zone crashes. It’s a 35% decrease in deaths and a nearly 15% decrease in injuries compared to 2019, but there was less traffic on the roads in 2020 due to the pandemic.
VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond said they plan to put out extra messages on social media and already put a sign on US-581 near Valley View Mall in Roanoke to get the word out.
“Many times all that’s out there between the road and the highway worker is just a barrel or a cone so we need to folks to pay attention, minimize distractions and obey the rules when they’re passing through a work zone to keep themselves safe and to keep our workers safe,” said Bond.
He said people don’t realize it’s not just workers’ safety VDOT is worried about when it comes to work zone safety.
“Even though we are concerned about our highway workers it’s actually 80% of those killed in highway work zones are vehicle occupants. Even though we’re out there working and we’re at risk so are motorists as they drive through a highway work zone,” Bond said.