Work zones are temporary, actions behind the wheel can be permanent

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024



The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Gov. Tate Reeves have joined forces to remind the public, “Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever,” the theme for 2024 National Work Zone Awareness Week. To call attention to the life-and-death issues facing workers and the public in work zones, Gov. Reeves has proclaimed April 15-19 as Work Zone Awareness Week in Mississippi. 

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The nature of roadside work puts MDOT crews in harm’s way every day, working only feet away from vehicles traveling at high speeds. Each morning, these crews leave the safety of their homes to ensure the state’s roads remain in the safest possible condition. While MDOT crews work as safely as possible, their environment is often an unpredictable one, and their safety is in your hands.

“MDOT has over 2,600 employees statewide and almost 75 percent work in the field alongside traffic. Hundreds of people are killed every year in work zone crashes. The majority are drivers, their passengers and pedestrians. That’s why this is the most important ask we have for Mississippi’s traveling public — please do your part and work with us to make work zones safer,” said Brad White, MDOT Executive Director. “This is to protect you and yours as well as our workers. When you see orange, please slow down, pay attention and avoid all distractions.”

In recent years, work zone-related crashes have continued to trend in the wrong direction. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 956 work zone fatalities nationally in 2021, an increase from 863 fatalities in 2020. In 2021, 164 pedestrians were killed in work zones nationally. Work zone safety awareness is not only designed for the safety of roadside workers but also drivers themselves: over 80 percent of all work-zone related fatalities were drivers or passengers.

However, regardless of the amount of training or how well a work zone is set up, these crews rely on the traveling public to keep them safe and help them get home to their families at the end of the day.

Stay safe while traveling through work zones with these travel tips: 

• Pay attention. You should always keep your eyes on the road, but this is exceptionally important in work zones. Be aware of all signage throughout work zones that can indicate reduced speeds, lane changes and other important information.

• Avoid distractions. 

• Slow down. 

  Move into the open lane. 

• Keep your distance. Rear-end crashes are extremely common in work zones.

Examples of common work zones and a complete list of tips can be found at