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'You got to be safe': FDOT highlighting Work Zone Awareness Week

Drive anywhere in Jacksonville and you will likely spot construction barrels. Behind those barrels, though, are workers hoping drivers will be alert and slow down.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Drive anywhere in Jacksonville and you will likely spot construction barrels and equipment. It's a sign of Jacksonville’s growing population and the roads growing to accommodate it.

Imagine trying to stay focused on your job if people were zooming past your desk at 60 miles per hour or more. On top of that, your safety is in their hands.

"Drivers are going to drive how they want to," said Ben Smith, a P.E. Trainee with the Florida Department of Transportation.

It is why Smith and fellow workers with FDOT are reminding drivers to slow down and be alert in work zones

"My mom tells me all the time, you got to be safe," he said with a smile.

Remember, working on the side of the road are husbands, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, all wanting to do their job and go home at the end of the day.

"Imagine your kid being out there on the highway working," Smith said. "You would want to drive the speed limit and be as safe as possible."

They're emphasizing safety for the workers and safety for you, the driver. In 2020, speeding was a factor in more than 37% of fatal work zone crashes, and 20% of fatal work zone crashes were rear-end collisions.

"Make sure you are not speeding around curves, and if it is wet, slow down a little bit more. And look out for your other drivers as well," Smith said.

So while work zone safety is the focus of this week, keep it in mind for all 52 weeks of the year.

Because safety is everyone’s job.

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