In 2014, 669 deaths occurred in roadway work zones.
Today is the first day of National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11-15). This week is held to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety in work zones.
The initiative began in 1999, and this year’s theme is “Don’t Be That Driver.” According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the message is meant to reinforce that motorists should be constantly alert and prepared for dynamic changes in and around work zones.
National Work Zone Safety Week Events
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is hosting the annual kick-off event just outside of Toledo, on Tuesday, April 12th at 10 a.m. It will be held in the vicinity of the huge I-75 widening project–a 32-mile project that will add capacity and a number of roadway safety improvements, including:
- redesigned interchanges;
- roundabouts; and,
- other new features.
Additionally, National “Go Orange Day” is Wednesday, April 13th. During this day, people are to encourage friends, coworkers and families to wear orange in support of work zone safety across the country.
Work Zone Safety Tips
Here is a list of the top summer safety tips according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT):
- Stay alert, especially at night.
- Stay off cell phones and mobile devices.
- Be patient. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
- Obey posted speed limits. Fines may double for violations in work zones.
- Expect work zones to constantly change. Day to day, you could experience lane shifts, closures or moving workers and vehicles.
- Don’t make unnecessary lane changes.
- Do the zipper merge.
- Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.
You can always get current road conditions at www.511mn.org before leaving on your trip.
Commercial Trucks in Work Zones
We would also like to remind passenger vehicle drivers not only to be mindful of construction workers, but also commercial vehicles. Oftentimes trucks use the left lane in a construction zone for the safety of everyone on the road. Do not try to speed around or merge in front of them. Your car may be able to stop on a dime, but a fully-loaded tractor trailer or semi-truck takes almost the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. It is advised that you should leave at least one car length between you and the truck for every ten miles per hour you are driving.
We at Truck Writers thank those who work to improve our roadways. If you are an owner operator or motor carrier, please feel free to contact us with any safety and compliance questions, or those about trucking insurance.