Public Information Specialist
Public Information Specialist
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Work Zone Awareness Week highlights safety in construction areas
BOISE - Safe driving means safer work zones. That’s why the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) reminds motorists to drive carefully through work zones – for their own safety and the safety of construction workers.
The Federal Highway Administration, ITD and other state departments of transportation draw special attention to safe driving in or near work zones during national Work Zone Awareness Week April 23-27. The week’s timing coincides with the start of construction season throughout the U.S.
“Work zones can be the most hazardous areas on our state highway system,” said ITD Chief Engineer Tom Cole. “We urge drivers to use extreme caution when passing through these areas so they can arrive at their destination safely and construction workers can return home to their loved ones.”
Cole recommends a common-sense approach to driving in work zones:
- KNOW B4 U GO. Check before leaving home to determine whether you might encounter highway construction. Call 5-1-1 or check 511.idaho.gov;
- Slow down and drive at the posted speed limit or at speeds appropriate for conditions;
- Keep your distance. Don't tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you, the car in front of you, and construction workers;
- Obey traffic signs and follow the directions of flaggers and pilot cars, when present;
- Anticipate heavy equipment operating in the area;
- Watch for altered traffic patterns or reduced lane widths;
- Be aware of gravel driving surfaces, especially while operating motorcycles;
- Devote your full attention to driving and avoid distractions such as cell phone use;
- Expect delays and exercise patience. Some projects may require delays of 15 minutes, so adjust your travel schedule accordingly; and
- Always wear a seat belt.
“Safety in our work zones is no accident,” Cole added. “Following these simple cautions will help ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and construction workers.”
Across the U.S., 576 workers and motorists were killed in work zone crashes and more than 37,000 were injured during 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
From 2006-2010 (the last five years for which statistics are available), work zone crashes in Idaho led to an average of 21 serious or visible injuries, three motorist or passenger fatalities and two workers injured per year according to ITD statistics.
Transportation officials will assemble at 10 a.m. at a Missouri Department of Transportation highway project near St. Louis to formally launch the 2012 National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign. This year’s theme is “Don’t Barrel Through Work Zones.”
Questions? Visit us online at itd.idaho.gov, follow ITD on Twitter (@IdahoITD) or Facebook and check travel conditions at 511.idaho.gov or dial 5-1-1. Please slow down in highway construction zones and pay attention. Safety for drivers and workers is our highest priority.