JACKSON, MISS., Tuesday, March 31, 2009–According to MDOT Executive Director Larry L. “Butch” Brown, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) will kick off its 10th Annual National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week this Thursday. This year’s theme is “Drive to Survive—Our Future is Riding On It.”
On Thursday, April 2, at 10 a.m., MDOT will kick off National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week with a press conference on the south side of the State Capitol. The public and media are invited to attend.
April 6-10, 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week. The campaign is conducted every year to attract national attention to encourage motorists to drive carefully through highway construction work zones. Each year, 1,000 people are killed in roadway work zones and with the recent enactment of the President’s economic recovery package which supports a good deal of highway construction and maintenance funding, 2009 could be one of the most active highway construction seasons.
On Tuesday, April 7, there will be a national kick-off to promote work zone safety awareness.
In 2007, there were 41,059 roadway fatalities. It is everyone’s responsibility to help reduce highway fatalities by making our roads safer through a data-driven, systematic approach and addressing all “4Es” of safety: engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services. As we increase awareness of the need for roadway safety infrastructure improvements it can help save lives.
“Safety should be considered first, every time and at every stage of a project,” Brown said. “This year I challenge everyone, as you drive through a work zone, remember to drive to survive. It is very important that we keep our work zones safe for both workers and fellow motorists. As we make a commitment today to work together to save lives, remember that workers are at a great risk of death and injury every day and their goal is to improve and maintain our highway system.”
Since the National Work Zone Safety Awareness program’s inception in 1999, a week has been set aside annually in April to focus on the growing number of fatalities and injuries that occur each year in roadway work zones. Public awareness of work zone safety has been spread throughout the country by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, state DOTs, and other groups who are all committed to work zone safety.
In case of rain, the press conference will be held in the State Capitol on the first floor of the Rotunda.