RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina transportation officials, highway safety experts and members of law enforcement gathered at the Northampton County Welcome Center on Interstate 95 on Tuesday, April 5, to kick off North Carolina’s Work Zone Awareness Week and unveil the National Work Zone Memorial.

The traveling exhibit honors those killed in work zones, including 37 N.C. Department of Transportation workers who have died in work zones across the state since 1979.

Last year, more than 6,200 crashes occurred in North Carolina work zones, resulting in 29 deaths and more than 2,500 injuries.

“Every day, our employees risk their lives in work zones to improve North Carolina’s transportation network,” said Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs Johanna Reese of the N.C. Department of Transportation.  “We implore you, on behalf of all our NCDOT workers and contractors, our first responders, and your fellow motorists – to please slow down, buckle up and do not drive distracted.”

Work zones can feature obstacles that make them tricky to navigate and often require more driver attention than other areas. Speeding and distracted driving are contributing factors in more than half of all work zone crashes. 

“We must call attention to these simple actions – slowing down, buckling up and paying attention – that we can all take to prevent tragic outcomes in work zones,” echoed Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “We all have a part to play.”

Some other facts about driving in North Carolina work zones include (data from 2021):

•    79% of crashes occur on clear days;

•    85% of crashes occurred during dry road conditions; 

•    74% occurred during daylight hours; and

•    It takes less than one minute longer to travel through a two-mile work zone at 45 miles per hour than at 65 miles per hour.

North Carolina’s Work Zone Awareness Week takes place from April 4-8. The National Work Zone Memorial will be on display at the Northampton County Welcome Center on I-95 South from April 5-7. National Work Zone Awareness Week will take place April 11-15.

Check out this page for more information on work zones in North Carolina. The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program encourages all motorists to wear their seatbelts, never drive distracted or impaired, and follow the posted speed limit.