The weather is starting to warm up and that means you’ll be seeing more or those orange barrels on the roads.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to use caution as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week.

The campaign started in 1999 to increase public awareness of work zone safety issues.

In March of 2012, Justin and Amy Vallad were expecting their second child and settling into their new home near Saginaw Bay when Amy got an unexpected knock on their door that changed her life forever.

Justin, a 27-year old construction worker for Surveying Solutions Inc., was killed in a work zone that day on I-94 at 12 Mile Road in St. Clair Shores.

Justin’s death is just one example of many tragedies in Michigan and throughout the country that can happen when drivers lose focus or don’t follow rules in work zones.

In 2017, M-DOT reported fatal injuries increased by 7 people killed in work zones for a total of 25 people killed in 23 work zone crashes, compared to 18 fatalities in 2016.

Incapacitating injuries decreased by 2 people seriously injured in work zones for 2017 for a total of 73 serious injuries in work zones, compared to 76 serious injuries in 2016.

M-DOT says many of these crashes could have been avoided.

It’s using April 8-14 to do their part to improve these numbers.

That includes:

  • Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times, no multi-tasking
  • Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving
  • Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident
  • Assume other motorists will do the unexpected, and always be prepared to avoid it.
  • Deep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you
  • Make that 4-seconds if the weather is bad
  • Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug free

M-DOT is asking that you show your support for work zone safety and wear orange for Justin today.