Oneida, NY (WIBX) - The State Department of Transportation is kicking off the start of the highway construction season by reminding motorists to drive slowly and with caution through work zones.

Regional DOT Director, Michael Shamma said he wants motorists to remember to slow down and change lanes when approaching construction vehicles with flashing amber lights.

"When you see orange, when you see anything that indicates to you that conditions are different, you have to slow down," Shamma said. "You have to look at the signs because we put a lot of very good signs out there that tell you what you need to do. If you need to move over, move over. If you need to stop, stop. If you need to slow down, slow down."

The theme of this week's National Work Zone Awareness Week is "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones, Drive Smart to Arrive Alive."

In the Mohawk Valley Region last year, there were 19 traffic accidents in construction and maintenance work zones.