It’s National Work Zone Awareness week (April 8th – April 12th) and this year’s theme is, “Drive Like You Work Here!” Organizations across the nation are showing their support for the cause and the stakes have never been higher for creating safer work zones. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),
“In 2017, there were 710 work zone fatal crashes and 799 fatalities, the majority of which were motorists, with 132 deaths accounting for roadway worker fatalities. Additionally, there were a total of 158,000 work zone crashes total in 2016—of which 42,000 were injury-involved crashes that resulted in 61,000 injuries ."
“Researchers at the University of Missouri say drivers not paying attention—such as answering a phone call, a text message, or being distracted by a passenger—for any length of time are 29 times more likely to be involved in a collision or near collision in a highway work zone.”
These staggering numbers are pushing for stricter road laws and regulations for both motorists and those working in the work zones. Many DOTs are showing their support for Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, but their efforts will continue on to get every worker and motorist home safely.
In 2018 alone, Texas saw 25,162 work zone related crashes. Sadly, it resulted in 161 deaths and 684 serious injuries. In support of this week, TxDOT launched a campaign, “Be Safe. Drive Smart” to offer motorists tips on driving safely through work zones in the Lone Star State.
In Louisiana, dating back to 1947, there have been 44 deaths of employees working in construction zones. Orange cones have been placed in front DOTD Headquarters in honor of those fallen workers.
In 2016, Florida had the 2nd highest number of fatalities in work zones in the United States. In efforts to battle crashes in the work zone, FDOT is focusing on enforcing the traffic laws within work zones and offering more education to the public.
The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) along with DOTs, are urging motorists to:
- Slow down
- Expect the unexpected
- Obey road crew flaggers
- Pay attention to signs
Find more tips on driving through a work zone here.
Curious to see what other DOTs are doing to show their support? Click Here!