The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development held a press conference Monday as part of the state's month-long campaign to promote safe driving practices, especially emphasizing the need to use extreme caution while driving through work zones.
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."
Monday's press conference was held at the Begnaud House in Scott, La., which included a backdrop of the Scott roundabout work zone.
This $2.3 million project will construct a roundabout at the intersection of La. 93 and La. 3168. The Scott roundabout will improve safety to the more than 11,000 cars that travel along the corridor daily because of the slower speeds and the elimination of more severe crashes. Operation is also improved by smooth-flowing traffic with less stop-and-go than a signalized intersection.
A 13-cone memorial was displayed at Monday's event to represent the lives lost in Louisiana work zones in 2011, with seven of those in the greater Lafayette area. A total of 590 work zone related deaths have occurred nationwide.
Louisiana has seen a dramatic 32% reduction in the number of traffic fatalities through the Destination Zero Deaths initiative.
According to the most recent information released, 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 data gathered is the most recent year for which figures were available from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
"The City of Scott is committed to working with DOTD to create a safe traveling environment for motorists," said Chad Leger, Police Chief, City of Scott. "We encourage all motorists to obey all traffic laws and not drive distracted, as the commitment of safety can only be achieved collectively."