April has ‘Work Zone Awareness’ Week but did you know it’s also ‘Distracted Driving Awareness’ Month as well? With the weather warming up and driver inattention at an all-time high, officials across the nation are working to enforce laws and educate the public on safe driving especially through the work zones.
What is distracted driving? According to the DMV, there are three types:
1) Visual – taking your eyes off the road to look at your phone, navigation system, or view
2) Manual – playing around with the radio, dialing a phone number or texting
3) Cognitive – daydreaming, thinking about work or personal things, talking to another passenger
“Over 3,300 people — including an estimated 650 workers — have been killed nationally in work zone crashes over the past five years. In addition, more than 35,000 people annually are injured at these work sites. According to government data, distracted driving was directly to blame for at least 500 of those deaths.”
DOTs all over the country are taking new approaches to combat this alarming issue at hand such as introducing new laws and harsher punishments. According to workzonesafety.org, fatal work zone crashes occur most often in summer and fall. State transportation officials are actively reminding motorists to drive carefully as the construction season begins to pick up.
VDOT spokeswoman, Ellen Kamilakis stated, “The majority of the crashes that we’re seeing are for distracted driving, so we implore you to put your phone down. The decisions that you are making are between a text message and somebody’s life,” Kamilakis said.
Aside from putting down your phone, minimize all distractions that could potentially cause an accident.
- Be alert for traffic pattern changes ahead; those traffic design standards were put in place for work zones to ensure everyone’s safety and smooth traffic flow
- Understanding signs is crucial, they are there to help you prepare for upcoming construction sites
- Lastly, be mindful of your speed – do the speed limit that’s enforced
Workzonesafety.org states that stopping distance for a car traveling 50mph on dry roadway needs 300 ft. If you are on a wet roadway it takes 400 ft to stop. Icy pavement needs as much as 1250 ft to stop safely.
Take the pledge for Distracted Driving Awareness Month on the National Safety Council’s page! Click Here!