This week marks the start of construction season, and it's also National Work Zone Awareness Week.

With that in mind, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has partnered with multiple law enforcement agencies to urge motorists to slow down and watch out for road workers.

National Work Zone Awareness Week is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. The key message is for drivers to use extra caution in work zones. This year’s national kick-off event is taking place today in Washington, D.C., hosted by the District Department of Transportation. In 2018, Illinois hosted the national kick-off event in Chicago.

Some work zone awareness numbers from IDOT:

  • From 2013-2017 in Illinois, there were, on average, 5,333 work zone crashes, and 1,540 people injured.
  • Workers are not the only ones being injured or killed by work zone crashes. Of the 178 work zone fatalities in Illinois from 2013-2017, only 6 were worker fatalities.
  • In 2018, nearly 40% of fatal work zone crashes in Illinois involved a heavy vehicle.
  • Hitting a worker can land you a fine of $10,000, and 14 years in prison.

As part of awareness week, IDOT employees plan to go orange on Wednesday, wearing the color in support of workers. You're encouraged to wear orange as well and share a picture on social media with #goorange.

More From WROK 1440 AM / 96.1 FM