CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – National Work Zone Awareness Week kicking off today and NEWS10 talking with local tow companies on how they are making roadways safer.

Tow truck drivers are essential to motorists in need, but they put their lives at risk on each call.

KJ Sterns Towing in Wilton is taking safety to the next level of awareness, and it’s called the Attenuator. Vice President Joseph Ernst explains what that is.

“It’s going to slow down the people. it’ll slow the traffic down and in the event that somebody does hit it it’s designed to take the energy from the accident. So, it doesn’t push that truck into our people or anybody that would be working in the in the nearby you know surroundings,” said Ernst. “Drivers on highways have been very respectful to it. They see it, and they do move over; it seems to be working very well so far.”

Towaway Towing of Saratoga Springs lost a driver last September when he was killed by a drunk driver. Office manager, Kevin Bruster, says they are taking extra precautions to keep their drivers safe.

“The main thing you know, is anything on the highway, we’re sending two trucks. You know, they just keep that extra buffer zone, second set of eyes.  The most important thing is just to getting people to realize to slow down and move over,” said Bruster.

New York Department of Transportation and the New York Thruway Authority are starting a 5-year pilot program to enforce speed laws when in a work zone. The speed cameras are designed to reveal driver speeds and can ticket a driver as well.

“Beginning today drivers may notice speed enforcement vehicles and work zones on state highways,” said Interim Executive Director NYS Thruway Authority, Frank Hoare.

“A total of 30 speed violation monitoring systems, 20 on the DOT State system and 10 on the Thruway system that rely on radar technology will be positioned in active work zones,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner, Marie Therese Dominguez.

Dominguez says that in the first 30 days, drivers will be given a warning. After that, motorists will receive an actual violation.

National Work Zone Awareness Week runs from April 17 through April 21. This year’s theme: “You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us.”