SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Over 20,000 accidents happened in Georgia work zones in 2017. Some of those accidents even turned deadly.
With more road projects beginning soon, the Georgia Department of Transportation is stressing work zone safety.
This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week. On Monday, Ann Purcell, Vice Chair of State Transportation, and several other traffic officials spoke about the importance of keeping GDOT workers and drivers safe.
"It's not a one-man job. It's every one of us taking responsibility for driving and looking out for each other," Purcell said.
During Monday's press conference, GDOT displayed 60 traffic cones to honor the 60 employees who've died in work zone accidents throughout the last 40 years.
"And it could not have happened if people had not been speeding, or distracted by cell phone usage, fiddling with the radio, or talking to someone in the car, not paying attention," Purcell said.
Just last year, 55 people died in work zone related crashes statewide.
With more road projects ramping up across the Coastal Empire, traffic officials want to make sure drivers are aware of their surroundings.
"This is the week we want everyone to think orange. If you see orange, we want you to slow down and get a hyperintense look at what's going on around you," Powell Harrelson, Senior Law Enforcement Liaison for the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, said.
When traveling through a work zone, drivers should be alert. They should avoid using their smartphones, forget messing with the radio, and pay attention to their surroundings.
"The road is still under construction. There are constant changes, like uneven pavement, lane shifts, and little to no shoulders," SFC Chris Nease said.
Drivers should also watch their speed. Traffic officials say the speed limit will almost always be lowered in these zones.
Staying alert will not only help to ensure GDOT workers make it home safe, but it will keep the drivers and their passengers safe as well.