DOTD, local officials stress importance of work zone safety

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - This week is Work Zone Safety Awareness Week in Louisiana and across the country, transportation officials are delivering a similar message.

"We are asking the public to be safe as they are driving through work zones," said Sherri LeBas, secretary of Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. "In our work zones in 2011, 13 lives were lost and there were 1,002 injuries."

LeBas said DOTD's message is a destination zero death initiative.

The State of Louisiana has seen a 32 percent decrease in the number of traffic fatalities, however, officials said one is too many.

"They are putting their lives on the line to improve your roadways," LeBas said.

Sgt. James Anderson, of Louisiana State Police's Troop D, said enforcing traffic speed through construction zones takes teamwork.

"We need the public's involvement and we would much rather attain voluntary compliance and have people do the right thing," Anderson said. "We would rather them slow down than issue a citation."

Anderson said distracted drivers are one of the main reasons these accidents occur.

"A lot of times, people don't adhere to the reduced speed limits in work zones. In many cases, drivers are distracted and not paying attention to what is going on outside of their vehicle," he said.

Officials ask drivers to pay attention, observe all traffic signs, don't tailgate and put away your cell phone.

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