National Work Zone Awareness week encouraging motorists to pay attention

National Work Zone Awareness week encouraging motorists to pay attention

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - National Work Zone Safety Week serves as a reminder to all drivers to slow down and pay more attention as they move through work zones on the road.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is using this week to launch the Move Over, Slow Down, Save Lives safety campaign.

During the spring and summer, motorists will see more construction and work zones on Alabama’s highways and interstates. This time of year is also when traffic on some Alabama roads increases with people heading south for vacation.

“Tragic loss of life that happens each year in work zones can be avoided,” said Allison Green, ALDOT Drive Safe Alabama coordinator. “Just move over and slow down, so that those working along the roadway and you and your passengers can all get home safely.”

The week is especially important to ALDOT, which has seen some of its employees hurt or killed over the years.

Leo H. Fournier Jr. was an ALDOT employee for nearly nine years before he was killed by a driver while working on Montgomery's Atlanta Highway.
Leo H. Fournier Jr. was an ALDOT employee for nearly nine years before he was killed by a driver while working on Montgomery's Atlanta Highway. (Source: ALDOT)

Among them was Leo H. Fournier Jr., an ALDOT employee killed in a work zone in 2017. A driver under the influence was going the wrong way on the Atlanta Highway in Montgomery when Fournier and two other survey crew members were struck by the vehicle.

Just this week Fournier’s name was added to the National Work Zone Memorial. He was a Tuskegee University graduate who worked for ALDOT for almost nine years. He was an avid reader, sports enthusiast and traveler who left behind a wife when he was killed.

Governor Kay Ivey looks at the National Work Zone Memorial after delivering keynote remarks during the Governor's Luncheon of the 61st Annual Transportation Conference on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 in Montgomery.
Governor Kay Ivey looks at the National Work Zone Memorial after delivering keynote remarks during the Governor's Luncheon of the 61st Annual Transportation Conference on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 in Montgomery. (Source: Hal Yeager)

Preliminary numbers for 2020, show there was 2,378 work zone crashes in Alabama, resulting in 19 fatalities and 616 injuries. This is an increase in fatal crashes compared to 2019, when there were 3,126 work zone crashes, resulting in 16 fatalities and 812 injuries. In the United States, 842 people died in roadway work zone crashes in 2019.

ALDOT offers these tips for driving safely in work zones:

  • 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. Watch for large trucks. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle, so that you don’t clip a nearby vehicle and cause that vehicle to also crash into the work zone.

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is themed “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.

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

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