Work Zone Awareness Week: slow down for orange cones
One sign of spring that drivers across the country are sure to notice is the appearance of orange cones indicating road work. As the road construction season begins in earnest, National Work Zone Awareness Week reminds drivers to slow down, pay attention, and drive safely in work zones.
In 2012, 609 people died in highway work zone crashes. That's an increase of 19 fatalities from 2011, and it's 609 too many. You might be surprised to know that nearly four in five victims of work zone crashes are not highway workers, but drivers and their passengers.
Speeding was a factor in more than 35 percent of fatal work zone crashes in 2012. As Secretary Foxx said, “Speeding in work zones is against the law and puts those who work there –as well as those who drive there– in danger.”
So this year's National Work Zone Awareness Week theme, “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake,” emphasizes the costs for a driver who doesn’t slow down. Drivers speeding through a work zone can face double fines and even jail time. In the worst cases, the cost is someone’s life--a roadway worker, a passenger, or the driver.
As Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau said, “By following the rules of the road in work zones, we can keep people safe during National Work Zone Awareness Week and all year long.”
Noting that 132 of the fatal work zone crashes in 2012 involved large trucks and buses, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro challenged commercial drivers to be especially vigilant whenever they encounter a work zone: "With every driver being alert and focused on safety at all times, crashes can be avoided and lives will be saved.”
The repairs, maintenance, and improvements occurring behind those orange cones make driving safer and smoother. It's important work, and the men and women doing it deserve our consideration. For their sake and your own, please drive safely in and around work zones.