Saturday, April 13, 2013

National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 15-19

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds commuters that VDOT crew members and other emergency response workers are out on the highways and interstates every day to help build, maintain and rehabilitate Virginia’s infrastructure. And during National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 15-19), VDOT is bringing attention to the role everyone plays in highway safety.

The 2013 national theme, “Work Zone Safety: We’re All in This Together,” emphasizes that work zone safety involves all who use our roadways whether they are motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, law enforcement personnel and highway workers. Each year, VDOT joins the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, state transportation agencies and industry partners to raise awareness of safe driving within work zones.

VDOT offers the following tips for motorists when you encounter highway work zones:
  • Minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the road and those around you.
  • Stay alert, expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
  • Don’t change lanes in the work zone. The time saved just isn't worth it.
  • Follow the signs. Signs and flaggers will direct you through the work zone. Expect changes in traffic patterns as the project progresses.
  • Be patient. Remember, the crew members are working to improve the highway, and the safety and comfort of your future travels.
  • Don’t speed. Enhanced fines of up to $500 may be levied for speeding in a work zone.
  • Don’t tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
The month of April is also Distracted Driving Awareness Month. VDOT, DRIVE SMART Virginia and GEICO are promoting safe driving by encouraging motorists to use established “Safe Phone Zones” during their travels. In 2012 with the help of statewide safety rest area sponsor GEICO, VDOT identified all 42 rest areas and welcome centers along Virginia’s interstates (as well as the site on the Route 13 on the Eastern Shore) as Safe Phone Zones. These areas provide a safe place to take a break from driving, check email and make phone calls.

In 2011, 587 motorists and highway workers were killed in work zone crashes nationwide. In 2012, preliminary analysis estimates that 3,065 crashes occurred in Virginia work zones, which resulted in 13 fatalities and 1,582 injuries.

More information about Work Zone Awareness Week is available on VDOT’s website

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