AASHTO News, 11 April 2016
WASHINGTON – Every year at the start of the highway construction season the goal of the National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign (April 11–15) is to save lives by urging motorists and workers to take basic steps to prevent crashes and occupational injuries in work zones.
“Safety must always be our highest priority,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). “This year’s slogan “Don’t be that driver,” focuses on distracted driving. When motorists take their eyes off the road, even for a second, they can miss road signs that warn them to slow down or stop at work zones. Every second counts.”
AASHTO, the Federal Highway Administration and the American Traffic Safety Services Association, along with numerous roadway safety and construction groups will hold a kick-off event today, at 10 a.m. EDT., hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The event is being held at a highway widening project near Toledo.
This year, work zone related crashes have claimed the lives of two New Mexico Department of Transportation workers and a North Carolina Department of Transportation contractor. All three men were struck and killed by vehicles in work zones.
“Too many lives are lost each year simply because people are not slowing down or paying attention when they enter a work zone,” says Lloyd Brown, AASHTO director of communications. “That’s why this national awareness campaign is so critically important. By educating motorists, we can prevent these needless deaths from happening.”
Orange signs on along roadways indicate work zones. Motorists are asked to take the following actions when entering work zones:
- Stay alert and give your full attention to the roadway.
- Read road signs and follow instructions from work zone flaggers.
- Turn on headlights so workers and motorists can see vehicles.
- Do not tailgate.
- Do not speed. Slow down to posted limits.
- Keep up with the traffic flow through work zones.
- Unless instructed to do so, do not change lanes in work zones.
- Avoid distractions such as cell phones, eating, putting on make-up and on-board entertainment systems.
- Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye on workers and their equipment.
- Be patient. Remember work zones are necessary to improve roads and make them safer.
Watch the National Work Zone Awareness Week PSA video here: https://youtu.be/cnFLLl4YliU.