The Louisiana Department of Transporation and Development Secretary Sherri Lebas has designated April as Highway Safety Awareness Month.

The Secretary will join forces with other transportation officials across the state to promote safe driving practices and to remind drivers to always use extreme caution while driving through traffic construction zones.

DOTD Secretary LeBas says,

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and the recent passing of one of our Motorist Assistance Patrol (MAP) employees while on duty calls attention to the seriousness of this issue,” said  “It is imperative that we take responsibility behind the wheel by slowing down and not driving distracted.”

Also, nationally recognized and locally declared by Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana will distinguish April 15-19 as Work Zone Awareness Week with the theme “Roadway Work Zone Safety: We’re All in This Together.”

Employees of the DOTD will join us with federal, state and local safety workers to promote highway safety.  They plan a number of press conferences across the state including one in Scott on Monday April 15th at 10:30 at Begnaud House located at 110 Benoit House.

DOTD officials says there have been 302 motor-vehicle fatalities in Louisiana’s work zones since 1989, and most recently, 13 deaths and 1,002 injuries in Louisiana in 2011.

The department plans to display a 590-safety cone memorial on the front lawn of the DOTD Headquarters Building to recognize those who lost their lives in work zones nationwide.  They also plan to create other memorials at other sites across the state.

Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez says,

“Workers put themselves in harm’s way to help the rest of us by building and maintaining the roads and bridges that get us where we need to go as safely as possible. When it comes to keeping highway workers and drivers safe, we’re all in this together.”

Colonel Mike Edmonson, Superintendent of State Police adds, "Each day, our troopers witness the devastating effects of distracted driving. While we remain committed to aggressive enforcement and delivering a proactive safety education message, we ask that drivers do their part by obeying the rules of the road.”

“I urge drivers to stay alert and give full attention to the roadway, pay close attention to signs and work zone flaggers, obey posted speed limits and avoid tailgating while driving through work zones,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, Executive Director, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.