The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials have set their slogan for this year's National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign from April 11-15 that urges 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 association. "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 on April 12 at 10 a.m. East Coast time. The event is hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation and will be held at a highway construction project near Toledo.
Just in the last few weeks, work zone related crashes have claimed the lives of two New Mexico Department of Transportation workers, a North Carolina Department of Transportation contractor and a Missouri Department of Transportation maintenance worker. Each of the 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," said Lloyd Brown, AASHTO director of communications. "That's why this national awareness campaign is so critically important. By educating motorist we can prevent these needless deaths from happening."
Orange signs 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 makeup and onboard 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.