National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week tips

KENNEWICK, Wash — It’s National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week and officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation want to remind drivers to slow down and take caution when in or approaching work zones.

According to the WSDOT, Washington averages almost 726 highway work zone injuries each year. 94 percent of the people injured or killed in work zone collisions are drivers and their passengers.

Summer Derrey, a WSDOT spokesperson, said this week is meant to “bring awareness to being attentive to work zones.”

“People need to watch out and be careful and cautious of our workers along the highway,” Derrey said.

Alejandro Sanguino, a WSDOT project engineer, added that while they are working, employees constantly have to watch out for traffic.

“We’re very aware that there are a lot of distracted drivers so we have to keep an eye on the road at all times while doing our jobs,” Sanguino said. “We are always reminding employees to keep an eye on themselves, others, and the cars.”

In Washington in 2020, there were 302 minor injuries, 21 serious injuries and seven fatal crashes, according to the WSDOT.

“Often times it’s only a foot or two that separates the physical person from live traffic,” Derrey said. “They put their lives on the line every single day to ensure that our infrastructure is kept in good shape.”

To keep yourself and others around you safe, Derrey recommends slowing down, paying attention, and staying calm.

“One of our mottos at the DOT is home safe every night,” Derrey said. “It’s very important for people to be aware because we want our employees to get to their families safe at night.”