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Raising awareness for work zone safety

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Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 06:39:52-04

With the weather starting to improve, work crews are making their way to our roads and highways for construction projects. With those projects, come work zones for drivers.

Even with cones put in place and workers holding up stop and slow signs, deadly crashes in work zones continue to rise not only in our state, but around the nation as well.

More than 700 people on average are killed in these kinds of crashes each year. In 2014, nine people were killed in work zone crashes including highway workers, drivers and passengers. Over the last five years, more than 3,000 people in our state have been injured in almost 8,000 work zone-related crashes.

Maryland's State Highway Administration wanted to highlight the importance of safety in work zones as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week. Officials and workers met at the new Old Harford bridge over I-695. This is one of the many projects being conducted to widen the Baltimore Beltway.

"We definitely want everyone to slow down, pay attention and to not be distracted in work zones," State Highway's administrator Greg Johnson said. "This could be your brother, your sister, your cousin that's in that work zone."

A few workers got a chance to speak and share some of their firsthand experiences . Rhonda Outlaw with Flagger Force has seen her fair share of close calls.

"I have see our worker drop their stop/slow paddles just to utilize their escape routes," Outlaw said. "I have even seen drivers plow right over our cones because they are not paying attention. These drivers were flat out not paying attention."

As National Work Zone Awareness Week continues, everyone at the State Highway Administration will wear orange to call attention to safety practices in work zones.

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