The New York State Thruway Authority, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Police today kicked off the 17th annual National Work Zone Awareness Week. This initiative seeks to remind motorists to use extreme caution when driving through work zones to ensure the safety of both motorists and construction workers on highways across the state.

The National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign coincides with the beginning of highway construction season and aims to prevent work zone fatalities by encouraging safe driving through work zones and construction sites. Work zones often have reduced speed limits, closed or shifted traffic lanes and people working on or near the road, making it that much more important for motorists to be aware of their surroundings.

Many factors contribute to work zone accidents; including speeding, cell phone usage, inattentive driving and aggressive driving. All of these behaviors are discouraged when driving on any road, but can be especially dangerous in work zones. This year’s theme, “Don’t Be That Driver,” emphasizes that motorists must remain alert and be prepared for dynamic changes while driving in and around work zones. The most common type of accidents in work zones are rear-end collisions, therefore it is crucial that drivers maintain an adequate following distance on the roadway.

The New York State Thruway Authority reported 331 work zone-related accidents and zero work zone fatalities on the Thruway in 2015.

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