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National Work Zone Awareness Week

The annual spring campaign marks the start of road construction season.

Watch for us.

“Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.”

According to the most recent data, nearly 800 deaths occur in roadway work zone crashes annually. The American Traffic Safety Services Association reports that a significant majority of those killed in work zone accidents are motorists and their passengers. More than half of highway worker fatalities involve vehicles striking workers on foot at road construction sites. 

Drivers must remain focused while approaching and passing through roadway work zones for their safety and that of highway construction crews.

In 2018, the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) launched its annual Watch For Us campaign to educate the public on the dangers of distracted driving in roadway work zones. Since then, NAPA has connected partners throughout the road construction industry with the movement. 

The Watch For Us campaign runs alongside National Work Zone Awareness Week, hosted this year by the Maryland Department of Transportation. Occurring April 15-19, the 2024 theme is “Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.”

Distracted Driving

Road crews use warning systems and barriers to separate drivers from roadside workers. Signage and message boards provide valuable information about lane closures, traffic shifts, and detours and alert drivers that workers are present on the road. And yet, distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents, especially in work zones with altered lanes and where merging vehicles make sudden stops.

Calling or texting on a cell phone, eating, or fumbling with the radio can distract from watching the road. And taking attention away from the road for just a moment can lead to disaster. According to the National Safety Council, crashes attributed to distracted driving take the lives of eight people daily in the United States. 

Distracted drivers may miss signs announcing reductions in work zone speed limits. Speeding through a road construction area creates risk for everyone because the faster a car travels, the greater the chance a work zone injury will be fatal. Slowing down allows more time to read signs and react to unexpected hazards. Keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and those in front of you, as rear-end collisions make up a third of work zone crashes.

Remember, a single distraction can lead to a work zone intrusion and a crash that changes lives forever.

What You Can Do

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration offers motorists the following advice for safely navigating roadway work zones.

  • Plan. Travel websites, social media, and mapping apps can help you avoid active work zones. If you can’t prevent traveling through a work zone, allow extra time for possible delays.
  • Put down your phone. Remain focused on your responsibility to safely navigate work zones by avoiding distractions.
  • Reduce your speed. Transportation departments typically reduce speed limits in work zones where narrowed lanes and traffic shifts add hazards. Speed contributed to 32 percent of fatal work zone crashes in 2021.
  • Watch for workers. There is often limited space between work areas and travel lanes in construction zones, making it critical that drivers pay attention and adhere to speed limits.
  • Be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists. Work zones offer restricted space for non-motorized road users to travel. In 2021, 173 pedestrians and bicyclists lost their lives in work zone accidents.
  • Give space to large vehicles. In 2021, a third of fatal work zone crashes involved commercial motor vehicles. Narrow lanes and unexpected lane shifts can be especially challenging for trucks to navigate. And watch for slow-moving construction vehicles entering and exiting work zones.
  • Stay alert. Work zones can involve slowdowns in unexpected places. Prepare for sudden stops that can cause rear-end collisions.


Safety is the top priority for The Gerken Companies all year long, so we actively participate in National Work Zone Awareness Week and the Watch For Us campaign. Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for updates.

Watch for us.