Federal Highway Administration Urges Americans to Stay Focused and Drive Carefully While Traveling Through Highway Work Zones
Contact: Neil Gaffney
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) this week is joining transportation leaders around the country in reminding drivers that safety must always be top of mind when traveling through work zones.
This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week serves as an important reminder that, despite a global public health emergency, construction is moving forward on America’s roads. Drivers should always be mindful of workers in highway construction areas throughout the year. In 2018, the most recent year for which data are available, 754 people died in highway work-zone crashes.
“Everyone has a role to play when it comes to the safety of highway workers on our roads, so please remember to always stay focused, follow posted speed limits, and drive with care and caution through work zones,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Though highway workers are often among the victims of work zone crashes, the dangers of reckless driving more often affect those behind the wheel and their passengers. Four out of five work zone fatalities were drivers or passengers, according to FHWA data. Generally, crashes occur when drivers speed through a work zone or do not pay attention to the changing road conditions and drive off the road, or run into other vehicles, highway equipment or safety barriers.
“While we all continue to do our part by staying home to protect communities from the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to remember that highway construction crews are still hard at work on projects to maintain our roads and bridges,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “If you have to go out, please drive carefully through work zones so we can keep highway workers as well as first responders safe.”
For 20 years, National Work Zone Awareness Week has been held in April at the traditional start of construction season when highway projects increase. This year, state and local transportation agencies are using social media in lieu of public events to remind those who need to be on the road to drive carefully.
FHWA officials work with state and local transportation officials to promote improvements in work zone planning and design, increased law enforcement near work zones, enhanced worker training and heightened awareness among drivers. Since 2005, FHWA has awarded more than $40 million in grants to develop work zone safety guidance and training and support the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, which is dedicated to providing the transportation construction industry and the general public with comprehensive information to improve motorist, worker, and pedestrian safety in roadway work zones.
For more information on this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm, follow @USDOTFHWA on Twitter, or search trending topics #NWZAW, #Orange4Safety, #OrangeForSafety or #safeworkzones.
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