This year’s Work Zone Awareness Week is coming to a close. April 3–7 was recognized as National Work Zone Awareness Week, and motorists across the country have been encouraged to drive with extreme care and caution and “expect the unexpected” in roadway work zones.
The nationwide safety observance, established in 1999, is set aside each year at the beginning of the busy roadway construction season to draw the motoring public’s attention to the dangers associated with roadway work zones. The most recent federal statistics (2015) reveal 700 fatalities occur in roadway work zones from coast to coast, the majority of those victims being motorists, not the workers themselves.
Work zones are extremely dangerous, and that number could be significantly reduced if motorists would simply slow down, be patient, turn off their cellphones, and obey posted signs and directions from flaggers in work zones.
Due to our aging infrastructure and the improvements that must be made to meet the demand of America’s motorists, work zones have become part of the American landscape. You are likely to encounter one every time you get behind the wheel.
There are several reasons for work zone crashes, including excessive speed, following too closely, texting, fatigue, and aggressive driving. And night work is especially dangerous, when impaired drivers are added to the mix.
It’s important to remember that you have the ability, as a driver, to improve work zone safety. Nearly four in five victims in work zone crashes are drivers and passengers. Your driving habits can directly help—or harm—the well-being of other motorists, cyclists, workers, and pedestrians. When you choose to put aside distractions, you gain the ability to save a life…perhaps yours. Choose to put safety in your own hands and help drive the number of work zone accidents down to zero.