Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility

Did you know that 765 people were killed in work zone crashes nationwide in 2017?

Did you know that 80 percent of the people killed were either drivers or passengers?

Did you know that 50 percent of the crashes were rear-end collisions?

It’s true.

Drivers put themselves and their passengers in danger when they don’t slow down and pay attention in work zones.

The data from Mississippi closely matches national data. In 2018, there were 35 crashes in MDOT construction and maintenance work zones resulting in 10 fatalities. Each one of those fatalities was a driver or passenger in a vehicle – not a highway worker. However, 13 highway workers were injured in those 35 crashes.

Do you know how many deaths are acceptable on Mississippi highways?


MDOT wants everyone to arrive at their destinations safe and sound every time they travel on Mississippi roads.

That’s why the majority of MDOT’s 3,400 employees are on the job each day patching potholes, repairing infrastructure and keeping roads safe.

When MDOT employees arrive at work each morning, they put on their reflective vests and safety equipment. They convoy to the job site. Behind plastic cones and flashing lights, they work to improve Mississippi’s highway system and provide for their families.

No amount of safety gear or plastic cones will stop a vehicle barreling through a job site.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

You can help make sure you, your passengers, other travelers and MDOT employees get home safely by following these safety tips:

  • Give yourself time to get to your destination.

To help prevent frustration while traveling through work zones, allow yourself enough time to arrive at your destination. Road delays can be time consuming and lead to bad decisions which could endanger other motorists and workers.

  • “Listen” to the road signs.

Road signs are posted in advance of work zones alerting you of the upcoming change in traffic. If there is a lane closure, it is posted well in advance of the project site. Merge as soon as possible. If there is a detour, the road signs will guide you.

  • Slow down.

Closer to the work zone, signs will post a lower speed limit. Speeding fines are doubled in work zones.

  • Watch out for flaggers.

If flaggers are present, follow instructions. They are there to keep you and the workers safe.

  • Pay attention and avoid distractions.

As you drive through the work zone, watch the traffic around you and allow space between you and other vehicles. Avoid distractions so that you will be ready to react if road conditions change suddenly.

  • Be alert for changing conditions.

Highway workers are often inches away from traffic. Be prepared to slow down further if workers and equipment are near the travel lane.

  • Be patient.

After the active work space, signs will indicate when the work zone ends. Be patient as traffic resumes its normal flow.

“The safety of MDOT workers is everyone’s responsibility, and drivers must do their part to make sure highway workers make it home to their families safe and sound,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. “Safety is always MDOT’s first priority. Please join us as we recognize National Work Zone Awareness Week, and help ensure everyone makes it out of work zones safely.”

April 8-12 is National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Show your support by wearing orange and join MDOT by going #OrangeForSafety.