Every spring, The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in association with the American Association of State Highway and the Transportation Officials and American Traffic Safety Services Association, sponsors National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW). This five-day event is designed to promote roadway safety for highway construction workers by increasing public awareness through a series of interactive activities.
This year’s NWZAW takes place from April 8 to 12, with the theme of “Drive Like You Work Here.” It kicks off on April 9 at the Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge project in Washington, DC. This will be hosted by the District Department of Transportation.
The next day, April 10, is “Go Orange Day,” and roadway safety professionals all over the United States are encouraged to wear orange as a show of support.
Road workers face significant dangers when they are on-site at highways, bridges, and other areas with traffic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that road construction work zone accidents occur every 5.4 minutes in this country. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) revealed that in 2016 almost 800 people were killed in road work zones, and tens of thousands more were injured.
USDOT’s 2016 report also showed that 143 construction workers lost their lives in road work zones, killed by motor vehicle crashes. The most common kinds of these are rear-end crashes, which take place on roads that have posted speed limits of 50 miles per hour or more.
Thirty percent involved big trucks, which are especially dangerous, given their heavy weight and longer stopping distances.
Causes of Road Work Zone Accidents
Like other kinds of motor vehicle accidents, these crashes are mainly due to driver error. These work zones can cause traffic to slow down, and no one likes to drive at slow speeds or be stuck on the road. When drivers see that a construction zone is approaching, they may become impatient and frustrated, and drive aggressively.
Roadway workers can be in vulnerable positions and should be treated with respect. Instead, some drivers ignore the posted signs. They speed through construction zones, pass unlawfully within the zones, and even cross barricades.
Others are simply not paying attention, which may qualify as distracted driving. When traffic slows, many motorists take this as a cue to check their cell phones or do other things that take their focus from the road.
Work Zone Safety
The purpose of road construction is to improve highways and streets for the public, so everyone that shares the road has a responsibility to help prevent these accidents. Drivers need to slow down as they approach work zones, adhere to the posted lower speed limits, and keep more distance behind other vehicles.
It is also essential to stay focused, since traffic patterns can change quickly. Keeping a watch for construction workers as well as other vehicles is key; drivers also need to pay attention to workers using red traffic flags.
NWZAW is an excellent way to remind drivers about work zone safety protocols. Motorists should remember that these workers deserve to have safe working environments just like anyone else, and guard their well-being by driving carefully in work zones.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims of Work Zone Accidents
After a work zone injury occurs, you need knowledgeable legal guidance from a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Contact us today for a free consultation by completing an online form or call 302-888-1221. We proudly serve clients in Delaware, including Wilmington, Dover, Middletown, and Newark, and across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.