National Work Zone Awareness Week
National Work Zone Awareness Week stats with illustrated street and work zone with people

e’ve all been there: It’s 8:47 a.m. and the meeting location is almost 15 minutes away when you get stuck in a stop-and-go bottleneck of vehicles waiting to get through an active road repaving project. Suddenly you’re next in line to go through the construction zone when the flagger rotates the “slow” sign around to “stop.” Stuck. It’s tempting to hit the gas and catch up with the vehicle ahead, to leave the bottleneck behind and make it to that meeting on time. But in addition to risking the life of the flagger you’d whiz by, you’re risking your own life and the lives of the workers who are operating equipment within the construction zone. Is it worth it? Never.

In 2019, 842 people in the United States were killed in roadway work zones, according to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse. Of that number, 135 were roadway workers. The rest were other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians.

Construction companies are dedicated to ensuring the safety of their workers and the driving public. Roadway work zones use a variety of warning systems, barriers, and other traffic controls to make sure that drivers and work zones stay separated, but it just takes a moment of distraction for an accident to happen and for lives to be changed forever.

Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives. illustration on construction sign
That’s why the National Asphalt Pavement Association, or NAPA, and WatchFor.Us, an advocacy group dedicated to reminding drivers they share the road with workers whose lives are valuable, along with the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA, and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), make a concerted effort each spring as roadwork ramps up to encourage drivers to be mindful of the mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters working in the construction zones they are driving through. The FHWA and AASHTO raise awareness through the National Work Zone Awareness Week, a week-long social media campaign and in-person effort to raise construction zone safety standards.
Here’s the challenge:
number 1 in orange circleType the message:
“Drive safe. Work safe. Save lives.” directly into your social media post WITHOUT LOOKING, but NOT while actually driving.

Use your phone—doing it on a computer is cheating.

It will probably look like gibberish similar to this: Drogw xzvd zjcn xz d sa s NH xz.

number 2 in orange circleThen paste this message below your nonsense text:
I tried to type “Drive safe. Work safe. Save lives.” on my phone without looking (not while driving) and this is how it turned out. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents. I challenge @friend1, @friend2, and @friend3 to take the National Work Zone Awareness Week Texting Challenge. #NWZAW #WorkZoneSafety
Take the challenge and invite three friends to do the same— and don’t forget to add the hashtags at the end!
With the theme of “Drive safe. Work safe. Save lives.”—National Work Zone Awareness Week took place April 26-30. It’s held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving throughout the work season. The Michigan Department of Transportation hosted this year’s kickoff event. Thousands of construction workers across the nation wore orange on April 28 to celebrate “Go Orange Day,” to bring attention to the risks of working in construction zones and to show support for families who have lost a loved-ones in work zone crashes.

New this year was a texting challenge for those who think they can safely send a text while driving.

Another useful collaboration discussed as part of Work Zone Safety Week is the Work Zone Data Exchange, or WZDx project by the FHWA. The agency hosted a webinar (check it out here: about the project. According to FHWA, the project is an open-source data specification that collects live, accurate, and actionable work zone data with the goal of improving roadway safety nationwide. The webinar offers more information about how various agencies are taking part in data collection and how to get involved.