The Mississippi Department of Transportation has launched a new website to increase awareness and public knowledge in hopes of reducing the number of crashes on Mississippi’s highways. Jason Scott, the public information manager for MDOT, said if they had to break down the purpose of this website into one simple word, it would be “safety.”
“Our top priority at MDOT is the safety of the traveling public, but also the safety of our highway workers,” said Scott. “The focus of this website is to increase driver’s knowledge about the types of work zones that they will see and encounter on Mississippi Highways and what they can do to navigate those highway work zones safely. We’ve got a lot of information out there about what drivers can do when they approach different kinds of work zones. Really asking the traveling public to take responsibility to help us cut down on the number of injuries and fatalities on Mississippi’s roads, particularly in those work zones where workers are present”
MDOT wants people to realize that most injuries and fatalities that happen in work zones are caused from drivers of the vehicle and not from the highway workers. The website should also teach individuals how to respond appropriately when they see advanced warning signs, like “work zone ahead”.
“Everybody has a job and they have a place where they work and they like that environment to be respected,” Scott said. “What we’re trying to do is get people to think about the highway as our workers. That’s their office. We’re just asking people to respect their office and respect the work that they’re doing for Mississippi and for the drivers out there.”
MDOT also did research on certain traffic configurations and found that they were safer. For example, statistics show that a round-about is safer than a four-way stop. They have built round-abouts in the Jackson area, Starkville, Oxford, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and other places around Mississippi where MDOT felt they were necessary.
“A lot of people think that they’re strange traffic patterns but they’re just different than what Mississippi drivers are used to so we have information about how to safely navigate a lot of those new traffic configurations.” Scott said.