WESTON (CBS) – Over 700 work zone crashes in 2016 have prompted Massachusetts authorities to take action to improve work zone safety.

State Police Lieutenant Colonel Ed Amodeo says troopers will increase their efforts to cut down the number of cases of reckless or distracted driving cases in work zones.

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“When we speak of about distracted driving, speeding or worse, driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol in a highway construction work zone, there is no more dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel of a car,” Amodeo said.

Amodeo says there’s only one purpose behind his department’s effort.

“The singular goal of these activities is to provide a safe working environment for highway construction workers, police officers, as well as the travelling public,” Amadeo said.

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack says a safety task force in her department has developed some new work zone features.

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Blue LED lights will replace manned police cruisers at the start of a work zone and radar speed signs are also being put in place.

MassDOT Rumble Strip alert sign. (Photo credit: WBZ NewsRadio/Ben Parker)

“Rumble Strips” will also be installed to slow down drivers as approach the zones.

Pollack says getting people home safely his her department’s goal.

“Safety is job one at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. We want our customers to get where they’re going safely. We want our employees and our contractors, and public safety officials doing details to come home safely to their families every single night,” Pollack said.

She added that the biggest safety feature is in the hands of the Massachusetts driver.

“The biggest impact we can have on work zone safety is literally in the hands of the travelling public in Massachusetts. It is critical that drivers recognize the simple fact and remember that our safety is in your hands,” she also said.

Officials say several work zone crashes have already taken place this year.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports

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