ALBANY N.Y. (WTEN) — It’s National Work Zone Awareness Week. The Department of Transportation gathered to ensure the safety of both motorists and highway workers. Highway worker, Matt Anderson was in his work truck when a driver illegally crossed over a work zone lane, hit his truck and spun out of control across three lanes.   

Anderson says he’s had too many close calls with motorists; usually once a week. Even with traffic laws and signage in place, he hasn’t seen a decrease in these incidents. He said he’s urging drivers to, “Please put your phones down. We’re out there and you guys may think you’re not going fast but it’s pretty fast when you’re standing on the side of the road.”

Crash attenuators or crash cushions are designed to keep roadside workers and motorists safe from collisions, but that doesn’t always happen. Last year alone there were 200 work zone accidents in New York with 48 injuries to drivers and highway employees. State agencies are working together to get the public to pay more attention to work zones. One of those efforts is called Operation Hard Hat, where police go undercover as highway workers to supervise work zone areas. Just last year they issued over 2000 tickets. 

So what’s the solution? DOT Director, Patrick Barnes says the responsibility lies on us. 

“We’re out there to keep you safe, please keep us safe. Lead by example. Be the one who’s gonna go through paying attention, go slowly. We appreciate it. We want to go home and see our families just as much as you do.”