Work Zone Awareness Week

Slow for the Cone Zone

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - 5:06pm

It’s Work Zone Awareness Week in Louisiana and the Department of Transportation has set up a cone memorial in front of its headquarters in memory of those killed in construction zones. As our Emily Turner reports, the DOTD hopes this will draw attention to the importance of driving safely through work zones.

Talk about violence in the workplace. Roosevelt Thompson lays cement for a living and says, “I feel like my life is in danger working out here.” Thompson, just a few short steps away from a very busy road says, “They don’t hardly pay you attention.” The cones and signs clearly tell motorists they are entering a construction site, but still, across the nation there are 835 work-zone deaths.

Wes Bollinger from the Federal Highway Administration says a fifth of those deaths involved innocent workers like Thompson who were just doing their job. The DOTD put out construction cones in front of their headquarters today, one for each of the 835 work-zone deaths in 2007 alone. 16 of which occurred right here in Louisiana. The DOTD says the memorial was constructed to illustrate the unnecessary amounts of lives lost. “These are no acts of God or nature; they are problems and issues that we as individuals can solve.”

Authorities say when approaching work zones to slow down, avoid all distractions and pay attention to everything around you. Doing these things could be the difference between life and death. It could mean one less cone they have to lay out on their lawn. “Hopefully soon I or my counterpart will be able to stand up here and say this is Highway Safety Awareness week, we are doing a great job, there have been no fatalities this year.”

The DOTD says spring is the beginning of the construction peak, so drivers need to be prepared to see even more work zones popping up.