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“Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down” National Work Zone Awareness Week April 11-15, 2022

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Julie Stevenson, Strategic Communications Coordinator, 605-773-2898



PIERRE, S.D. –  National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to remind drivers to be attentive while traveling through work zones. “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down” is the official theme for NWZAW 2022, which will be observed the week of April 11-15. NWZAW has been observed for more than 20 years and was launched as a public awareness campaign to help everyone understand the role each of us plays in keeping motorists and roadway workers safe.


NWZAW got its start in 1997 when a group of VDOT employees in southwestern Virginia wanted to dedicate a week to raise awareness of work zone safety among all district employees ahead of the busy roadway work season. The next year, VDOT presented the idea for a national awareness campaign to the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), which, in turn, approached the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The groups finalized plans and launched the first national kickoff event in 2000.


“Statistics from the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse show in 2019 there were 762 fatal crashes in work zones resulting in 842 deaths across the United States,” said Joel Jundt, Secretary of Transportation. “The statistics demonstrate that everyone needs to take personal responsibility to eliminate all distractions while driving, staying focused on the road, and obeying speed limits in work zones. We want roadway workers, as well as the traveling public, to arrive home safely each and every day.”


At 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 11, 2022, Craig Smith, Director of Operations, will kick off the 2022 SDDOT construction season by highlighting key projects planned across the state in a live event hosted on the South Dakota Department of Transportation’s Facebook page. Smith will also provide key construction zone safety tips and NWZAW engagement opportunities.


As part of NWZAW, everyone is encouraged to participate in Go Orange Day on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Demonstrate support for highway construction employees across the state by wearing orange apparel and posting photos on social media using the hashtags #NWZAW, #Orange4Safety, or #SDDOT.


SDDOT also created construction themed coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, and word finds for young families and elementary classrooms to use to promote safety awareness. Youth construction themed materials are available free to download at https://dot.sd.gov/inside-sddot/of-interest/work-zone-awareness-week. On this site, find NWZAW informational facts along with SDDOT employee photos and awareness building videos.


To learn more about national efforts around NWZAW, visit https://www.nwzaw.org/.


About SDDOT:
The mission of the South Dakota Department of Transportation is to efficiently provide a safe and effective public transportation system.


For the latest on road and weather conditions, road closures, construction work zones, commercial vehicle restrictions, and traffic incidents, please visit https://sd511.org or dial 511.


Read more about the innovative work of the SDDOT at https://dot.sd.gov.