Motorists urged to stay focused during National Work Zone Awareness Week

Published 11:46 am Thursday, April 6, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

The Alabama Department of Transportation is urging drivers to be alert and cautious while driving through work zones as a part of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

ALDOT is completing two resurfacing projects in Chilton County, one on Interstate 65 from Exit 205 to 212 and the other on Highway 22 from mile marker 58 to 64.

Exit ramps at Exit 208 will also be widened as a part of this project.

“With any type of project there are going to be some delays, but hopefully when everything gets finished the public will appreciate the newly resurfaced roads and those widened lanes,” John McWilliams, ALDOT West Central Region Public Information Officer said.

The National Work Zone Awareness Week theme for this year is “Work zone Safety is in your hands.”

In 2016, Chilton County had 11 crashes in work zones, according to McWilliams. This was down from the 21 crashes reported the year before. Neighboring counties Bibb and Autauga both saw increases in the number of work zone crashes in 2016 over 2015. Bibb County had 8 work zone crashes in 2015 and 12 in 2016. Autauga had 14 in 2015 and 19 work zone crashes in 2016.

“A common misconception is that most of those killed in work zone crashes are workers. National statistics show that four out of every five of those killed are motorists, ” ALDOT stated in a press release.

McWilliams said the most common safety concern in a work zone is people driving distracted.

“People who are constantly texting or looking in the backseat, they may see the work zone, but they don’t respect it,” McWilliams said.

In addition to distracted driving, speeding can also cause major issues if a person cannot stop in time for slowed traffic. Speeding fines are double in work zones. McWilliams said in Chilton County this would be $448, with the potential for additional court costs if the ticket is contested in court and the driver found guilty.

In a press release, ALDOT listed the following advice in order to drive safely in work zones:

  • “Know before you go. Check to find out if there are construction work zones along your path and allow extra time to navigate those areas.
  • Stay alert and pay attention.Don’t drive distracted by texting, eating or other activities that take your hands off the wheel. Look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.
  • Merge safely.If the number of lanes are reduced, drivers should not speed to try and pass other vehicles as they merge into the work zone.
  • Slow down.If you’re speeding, you may encounter slowed or stopped traffic within seconds.
  • Don’t tailgate.Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.”

For more information on National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit