BATON ROUGE, La. – In observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is launching a new work zone safety television public service announcement (PSA).
The television PSA, which will begin airing statewide tomorrow, is the first of three new PSAs in a highway-safety campaign titled “Wreck Less, Louisiana.” The new PSA urges drivers to turn on their headlights, obey all posted signs and expect the unexpected.
Since 1992, 166 people have died from motor-vehicle crashes in Louisiana’s work zones. As part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is observed April 7-11, DOTD also is assembling a work zone cone memorial on the front lawn of its headquarters building in Baton Rouge.
DOTD Secretary William D. Ankner, Ph.D., said, “The Governor and the legislature have been very generous with the surplus funds recently provided to DOTD. Between the surplus funds and DOTD’s regular capital funds, DOTD is spending nearly $1.9 billion on construction projects this year and next year. That amount of money will produce a lot of work, and that work will result in a lot of orange cones and barrels on the roads.
“The construction will impact your travel, and I know this will cause frustration. I apologize for this in advance. But, for your safety and for the safety of other travelers, I beg you to drive carefully in work zones. Follow the speed limit, don’t talk or text on your cell phone, and pay attention to driving so that the people who are trying to provide you with better roads are able to go home at the end of the day to their loved ones.
“We must remember that these work zones are helping to provide a better transportation system to the citizens of Louisiana,” he said.
The work zone cone memorial erected in front of the DOTD headquarters building will be in remembrance of the 1,010 people killed nationwide in work zones in 2006 – the most recent year for which figures were available from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System – including 19 deaths in Louisiana. DOTD statistics show that 824 injuries occurred in Louisiana work zones in 2006.
Some of DOTD’s district offices around the state also are putting up cone memorials. These memorials, which will be put up in Alexandria, Chase, Hammond and Lake Charles, will represent the 19 people killed in Louisiana work zones in 2006.
The department also will host a “Work Zone Safety Day” Thursday, April 10, at the Interstate 10 Toomey Welcome Center as part of Work Zone Awareness Week.
In the coming months, DOTD will debut two additional PSAs as part of its “Wreck Less, Louisiana” Campaign, which is aimed at promoting driver safety and awareness. In May, the department will debut a new PSA focused on young drivers, and in June the department will air a new PSA featuring the dangers of distracted driving.