National Work Zone Awareness Week runs April 11-15

‘Work zones are a sign to slow down’

SANTA FE – National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is held each spring to raise awareness as roadway work gets into full swing. The goal is to remind everyone to pay attention as they approach and drive through or past work zones so both motorists and roadway workers remain safe.

Drivers are urged to slow down, eliminate distractions, don’t tailgate, stay calm, be patient and move over to avoid roadway workers and their equipment. This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week theme is ‘Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.’ Tragically, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is grieving the death of a beloved employee killed on US 285 Dec. 6, 2021, in a work zone crash. Mittie Runyan was with the department for 21 years. She was driving a state vehicle with her safety lights flashing in a work zone when she was struck from behind by a large commercial vehicle.

“These road crews want to get home safely to their families and loved ones,” said Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval. “They work tirelessly to keep the roads safe for the traveling public. The least motorists can do is keep them safe too.” According to the Federal Highway Administration, between 2018 and 2019, fatal crashes in work zones increased by 11 percent despite a 2 percent decrease in crashes outside of work zones. Most of these work zone fatalities were due to rear-end collisions. Nationally, work zone crashes occur at an average of one every 5.8 minutes. The top three causes of work zone crashes are following too closely, inattentive and/or distracted
driving, and excessive speed.