“Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake,” is the theme of 2014 National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) supported by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Now in its 15th year, the week-long event aims to raise public awareness of the need to drive cautiously in work zones and calls on drivers to help protect highway workers during the busy, upcoming construction season.
Safety in roadway work zones is a serious, but often overlooked, public health issue, with an average of 600 people, including 100 construction workers, killed and nearly 35,000 injured annually in accidents at these sites.
Of those workers killed in work zones, one-third are laborers. The next largest group is truck drivers, followed by foremen/supervisors, operating engineers, maintenance workers and construction managers. Most incidents are attributed to motorist behavior such as speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, or the intentional entry into a work zone by drivers who are frustrated by delays.
This year’s theme highlights the serious and sometimes deadly consequences of speeding through a work zone, which range from fines to jail time. The national kick-off event, hosted by the Washington State Department of Transportation takes place today, April 8 at the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project in Seattle.
The ARTBA Foundation-managed National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse is one of the key sponsors of the week’s activities, along with other key industry organizations including the Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Traffic Safety Services Association.
Founded in 1998, the Clearinghouse provides a centralized location on “all things” safety and is available “24/7.” The facility (workzonesafety.org) is now the world’s largest online work zone safety resource; handling more than 200,000 requests annually.