April 20–24 marks National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), an annual event held to remind motorists to stay alert and be prepared for changes in and around work zones.
This year’s theme, “Safe Work Zones for All: Protect workers. Protect road users,” encourages motorists to exercise caution to protect themselves, other drivers, and road workers.
Approximately 40,000 people were injured in work zone crashes during 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Nationwide, work zones saw:
- 123,810 crashes, 26% of which were caused by speeding, and 40% were rear-end crashes.
- 754 fatalities from crashes, 124 of which were roadway workers.
Renewed caution is especially important in Florida, which ranked second in the nation for fatal work zone crashes in 2018. Road workers in construction zones throughout Central Florida face the real-life dangers of working in and around ongoing traffic.
A few minor changes can make sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day.
Lower your speed – In the long run, speeding in work zones saves little time and is only harmful.
Don’t tailgate – The most common work zone crash is a rear-end collision. Maintain a safe distance, as you never know when traffic will stop or slow down.
Pay Attention – Work zones are changing environments. Travel lanes may be different from the last time you drove through the area. Don’t let anything divert your attention from the primary task of driving.
Put Down Your Phone – In Florida, it is a primary offense to handle a wireless communication device while operating a vehicle in a school or work zone. You can be stopped and fined for simply having a phone in your hand.
Remember: When you’re behind the wheel, it is your decision to drive safely.
Show your commitment to keeping yourself and others safe on our roadways by wearing orange on Wednesday, April 22, which is NWZAW’s Go Orange Day. Share your photos and stories to support work zone safety with the hashtag #Orange4Safety.