Construction Season Is Here, Avoid Distractions because
“Safety is in Your Hands” When Traveling in Work Zones
Today marks the first day of National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 3-7) across the country. National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual spring campaign that was created in 1999 by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. The campaign is held at the start of construction season to raise public awareness of work zone hazards and encourage motorists to Drive Toward Zero Crashes, Slow Down and Use Extra Caution when traveling throughout active work zones.
The theme for this year’s National Work Zone Awareness is “Work Zone Safety Is In Your Hands,” D.E. Gemmill, Inc. wants to remind motorists of work zone safety tips to help you remain extra cautious while traveling in work zones. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED because normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed and people may be working on or near the road. SLOW DOWN, speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes. The most common crash in a highway work zone is a rear end collision, so DON’T TAILGATE. OBEY ROAD CREW FLAGGERS, the flaggers have the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions. STAY ALERT AND MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS, because you should be dedicating your full attention to the roadway and not be using cell phones or changing the radio while driving. Recognize that work zones change, even if you travel the same roadway every day, you could experience lane shifts, closures, or moving workers and vehicles.
The national kickoff event, hosted by the Maryland State Highway Administration, takes place Tuesday, April 4 in Silver Spring, Md. During that event, the American Traffic Safety Services Foundation’s National Work Zone Memorial will be on display. The memorial contains the names of men, women and children killed in work zone crashes. Wednesday, April 5 has also been designated “Go Orange Day,” where members of the roadway safety community and the public are invited to wear orange to show their support for work zone safety.
In 2015 there were 1,935 motor vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania alone. PennDOT reported 1,327 injuries due to work zone crashes and 23 deaths. Governor Tom Wolf last year increased fines and penalties to more than $1,000 for reckless driving in work zones. Drivers who injure a highway worker face a fine of up to $5,000 and a six month suspension of their driver’s license. Those who cause a death of a worker face up to $10,000 in fines and must surrender their license for a year. The law also broadened the definition of a “highway worker” to include emergency personnel, local government and municipal workers, state and local police, and contractors or utility workers.