People who work in construction zones along busy roadways put their lives on the line every day.
In 2019, almost 850 people died nationwide in crashes in work zones. In 2020, that statistic went up to more than 1,300 across the nation.
"It's difficult to put into words the feeling you get when large vehicles are going by at higher rates of speed," said Ron Czajkowski, Safety Coordinator for the Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition.
Czajkowski has spent three decades working roadside crashes as a police officer. He now advocates for construction workers who spend more time in the middle of roads and highways than any other worker.
"People out here working in these areas, they hope they are safe areas for them to work in but it doesn't always work out that way depending on the drivers that are in their work zones," he says.
Czajkowski says that workers are always thinking about the possibilities of roadway crashes which makes their jobs even more difficult.
"Who's going to come through next? Is there a distraction in their car? Are they reaching for the radio? Picking up their soda? Are they eating? And now with smart phones, there are so many other distractions at your finger tips," he says.
The safety of roadway work zones is in the hands of the drivers who travel our roadways every day.
Taking the time to prepare before getting in the car, Czajkowski says, is an important part of keeping these zones safe for all.
"Look at your route, map it out, see if there are any work zones you're going to encounter. Stay alert and obey the roadway. Watch for sudden stops," he says. "It's not just the workzone workers that we're talking about. it's every driver and passenger of every motor vehicle as you're going through that work zone."
Wednesday, April 28 is Go Orange Day which the Acadiana Regional Transportation Safety Coalition says serves as a reminder of those workers who spend their days keeping roads safe.
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