Work zone crashes up in Alabama

Support Work Zone Awareness Week April 8 - 12

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Jacob Smith, an Athens resident and ALDOT worker from the Decatur District Office was killed in a work zone crash on Interstate 65 near the Tennessee River on April 14, 2016. One of Jake's coworkers, Kenneth Hopper of Hartselle, was seriously injured the crash. A short video featuring Mr. Hopper can be viewed on the Drive Safe Alabama Facebook page (www.facebook.com/DriveSafeAlabama/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/DriveSafeAL).

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Work zone crashes and fatalities on Alabama roads are up. As National Work Zone Awareness Week begins today, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) reminds motorists to slow down and stay alert in work zones.

Road construction and other improvements are taking place across the state to meet the demands of increased traffic and economic growth in Alabama. This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week theme, “Drive Like You Work Here,” reminds drivers that we are all responsible for work zone safety.

In 2017, there were 3,158 work zone crashes in Alabama, resulting in 31 fatalities and 963 injuries. This is an increase compared to 2016, when there were 2,962 work zone crashes, resulting in 19 fatalities and 954 injuries. In the United States, 799 people died in roadway work zone crashes in 2017, up two percent from the previous year.

A common misconception is that most of those killed in work zone crashes are workers. National statistics show that four out of every five of those killed are motorists.

ALDOT offers these tips for driving safely in work zones:

  • Know before you go. Check ALGOTraffic.com to find out if there are construction work zones along your path and allow extra time to navigate those areas.
  • Drive alert. Don’t drive distracted by texting, eating or other activities that take your hands off the wheel. Look for highway workers, reduced speed limits and narrow driving lanes.
  • Slow down.  Don’t drive beyond the posted speed limit through the work zone. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Don’t tailgate and watch for large trucks. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle, so that you don’t clip a nearby vehicle and both end up crashing in the work zone. Don’t make sudden lane changes in front of large trucks that often can’t stop quickly.

In recognition of this national campaign, Ivey has issued a proclamation naming April 8-12, 2019 as National Work Zone Awareness Week in the state of Alabama and encourages everyone to consider the safety of motorists and workers in work zones this week and every day. On Wednesday, the Retirement Systems of Alabama will light up its Mobile and Montgomery towers in orange to support Work Zone Safety Awareness.

For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm. Join the national conversation using #NWZAW or locally using #DriveSafeAL.

ALDOT’s mission is to provide a safe, efficient, environmentally sound transportation network across Alabama. For additional information, visit www.dot.state.al.us.