RALEIGH – Slow down. Pay attention. Don’t drive distracted.
Drivers should follow these tips especially in work zones, state officials said Monday during an event to launch North Carolina Work Zone Awareness Week -- April 3-7. The event was held at the Northampton County Welcome Center.
Between 2018 and 2022, 171 people have been killed in North Carolina work zones.
“These deaths are tragic and could have been prevented,” N.C. State Highway Patrol Col. Freddy Johnson said. “Work zones often feature obstacles and people working within a few feet of passing traffic. Slow down and pay attention to driving. You don’t have the same time to react in a work zone that you do on the open road and being careless could be deadly for you, your family members or others.”
Speeding and distracted driving are leading contributors in over half of all work zone crashes.
Officials on Monday also unveiled the National Work Zone Memorial, which will be on display at the Northampton County Welcome Center April 3-5. The traveling memorial honors people who died in work zones and includes a tribute to Anna Bradshaw, the N.C. Department of Transportation worker killed Aug. 12, 2022, after she was struck by a motorist while flagging traffic in a Wilson County work zone. Bradshaw was one of 38 people killed in work zones last year in the Tar Heel State.
Monday’s event was hosted by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, which is part of the NCDOT.
“Many of our employees and those in law enforcement and emergency response risk their lives each day because they do their jobs on busy roads or in work zones,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Their safety depends on citizens being responsible behind the wheel. People should always stay alert and pay attention to one thing – driving.”
North Carolina’s work zone week comes before National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is April 17-21. The National Work Zone Memorial’s website also includes a video tribute to those who died in work zones and includes Bradshaw. Several of Bradshaw’s former colleagues were on hand for Monday’s event.
“Everyone plays a role in keeping people safe in work zones,” said Keith Eason, engineer for the Wilson-based Highway Division 4. “This week is a good way to remind everyone just how important it is that everyone does their part.”
For more information, visit NCDOT's Work Zone Safety website for more information on work zones in North Carolina.