Georgia DOT Focuses Attention on the Safety of Transportation Construction and Maintenance Workers

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

 Since 1973, when record-keeping began, more than 60 Georgia DOT employees and contractors have died in work-zone-related incidents. The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) is observing National Work Zone Awareness Safety Week (NWZAW) April 15th – 19th. The annual spring campaign, which began in 1999, is observed by federal, state and local transportation departments across the country to raise public consciousness about the need for safe driving in work zones. Construction and maintenance workers regularly face life-threatening dangers and frightening near misses in active work zones and the decisions made behind the wheel can have consequences that can last forever.  
The national campaign’s theme - “Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever.” – is designed to remind motorists of the importance of obeying traffic laws in active work zones and that the decisions they make while operating a motor vehicle can have significant consequences for the maintenance workers, law enforcement, EMTs, HERO operators, CHAMP operators and tow truck drivers who protect and serve others. NWZAW is held at the start of the peak season for highway construction across most of the country.
“Georgia DOT places a high priority on the safety of all our employees, including our construction and maintenance personnel," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E. “As you navigate our state, always drive responsibly to safeguard the lives of your fellow citizens and the crews in and around work zones working to make transportation better in Georgia." 

 In 2023, there were:

  • 13,689 work-zone related crashes in Georgia resulting in 4,891 injuries, and 62 fatalities

  • 53 percent of those work zone crashes were roadway departure and rear-end crashes

  • 13 fatalities involved commercial motor vehicles

  • 9 were pedestrian fatalities


  • Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives. Obey the rules of work zones: (1) Pay attention (2) Slow down (even in lighter than normal traffic) (3) Watch for workers.

  • Expect the Unexpected. Things may change quickly. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be closed, narrowed, or shifted, and people may work on or near the road.

  • Slow Down. Don’t Tailgate. Speed is a factor in many crashes. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you, and move over a lane to provide additional space for the construction workers and their equipment.

  • Obey Road Crew Flaggers and Pay Attention to Signs. Failure to obey speed limit signs or a flagger’s traffic control directions can result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment imposed by law enforcement.

  • Stay Alert and Minimize Distractions. Pay full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations or using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Remember, Georgia is a hands-free state for mobile devices while driving.

  • Keep Up with Traffic Flow. Do not slow down to gawk at road work.

  • Know Before You Go. Expect delays, leave early and schedule enough time to drive safely. For 24/7 real-time traffic information, call 511 or visit before you get into the car. And follow Georgia DOT on Twitter for additional updates.

  • Be Patient, Stay Calm. Crews are working to improve the road and to make your drive better.

  • Wear Your Seatbelt. It is your best defense in a crash. And make sure your passengers are buckled up, even in the back seat of the vehicle.

  • Watch Your Speed. Do not be distracted by your electronic devices and never drive too fast for conditions or impaired by drugs, alcohol or sleeplessness, whether in a work zone or anywhere else.

To learn more about National Work Zone Awareness Week and Georgia DOT’s efforts, please visit the resources below:

Click here for additional resources focused on work zone safety including images, FAQs, and a fact sheet.