If you notice orange lights, ribbons and banners on state highway vehicles and administrative buildings this month, consider them reminders to take extra care when driving through the hundreds of highway work zones popping up this spring and summer.

As part of National Work Zone Awareness Month, the State Highway Administration is launching a new "Go Orange" pilot program this week aimed at reinforcing the idea that work zones should be taken seriously.

After all, they are notoriously dangerous areas.

In the last five years, more than 4,000 people have been injured in 8,350 accidents in work zones along Maryland's highways, the state agency said.

In the last 15 months, five highway workers have been killed. In all of 2013, eight people were killed in work zones, including four highway workers, the agency said.

Several major work zones are currently active around the Baltimore region and state, including along some of its most heavily used corridors. Also, roaming work crews are expected to be out in full force this spring, filling the thousands of potholes left behind by this winter's harsh weather.

"Combined with regular mobile maintenance activities, hundreds of work zones will be active each day," the SHA said.

krector@baltsun.com

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