The New York State Department of Transportation, along with state police, gathered on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, to speak for National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). The week was designed to focus attention on safety issues concerning both workers and drivers in work zones.

Officials expressed concern regarding the high incidence of work zone accidents in New York. Mike Shamma, regional director for the New York State Department of Transportation, also spoke about the week's emphasis on increasing driver awareness and reducing the number of accidents.

For many New Yorkers who have lost a loved one in a work zone accident, the week has a more personal meaning. Michelle Farrell marks the week by remembering her husband, who she lost in a work zone accident in Forestport. He was hit and killed while working as a flag man. It is a grim reminder that these kinds of accidents happen all the time, and some cause fatal injuries.

"People are out there working for us," Farrell said, "and it is somebody's husband, father, mother, sister, brother and people need to be aware."

The Markhoff & Mittman team wants to remind everyone to slow down and be aware in work zones. It only takes a little extra effort to keep our New York workers safe.