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'Slow Down, Pay Attention'; How To Stay Safe In Construction Zones

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- National Work Zone Awareness Week is turning our attention to the roads, and the men and women killed every year during roadway construction season.

This comes just months after a Baltimore man was hit and killed on the job in Pasadena.

Dozens die every year in construction zones on the road. The number of these preventable deaths have increased slightly in the last few years.

Working just inches from cars and trucks whizzing down the highway, Maryland's construction crews have seen it all.

"I see speeding. I see cell phones. I see eating," said field supervisor Rhonda Outlaw.

And they are put in danger far too often.

Nationwide, more than 700 people die in work zone crashes annually. About 12 of those every year are in Maryland.

"They rush through work zones, to the detriment of not only our workers, but of themselves," said Pete Rahn, with the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The names of those lost are on display in Silver Spring during National Work Zone Awareness Week.

Last year alone, six workers were killed in Maryland construction zones. 40 percent of those deaths are blamed on distracted driving or speeding.

"Work zones are a dangerous place," Rahn said. "And people need to pay special attention."

Rick Moser was killed in a Frederick County work zone in 2007. His wife now speaks out about reckless drivers.

"I just look at them and think, 'I wish I could just pull over and share my story,' because our lives were changed just due to one driver's actions," said Laurie Moser.

Just months ago, a Baltimore man was killed by a driver while on the job in Pasadena.

In spring of 2015, Michael Pearce was hit and killed by a van while doing landscape work along I-95.

His life, like so many others, taken or put at risk by careless drivers.

"They need to slow down, pay attention, remove the distractions, and respect the work zone," said Outlaw.

Nationwide, crashes at construction sites cost about $3.5 billion every year.

Maryland State Police also announced Monday that troopers would be increasing enforcement this month to combat distracted driving.

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