As we bounce and bump our way through this year’s newest potholes, we are reminded by National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11th through the 15th) to take a minute to reflect on how everyone can contribute to safety in work zones.
With 2022 the 22nd anniversary of the first national event, this year’s theme is “Work zones are a sign to slow down.”
While MTC and MATECO strive to keep our workers safe while toiling away on these all-important road projects, few people realize the majority of individuals killed in work zone crashes are motorists and their passengers. Out of the 842 work zone fatalities recorded in 2019, only 135 of those deaths were work zone workers.
Distracted drivers are the leading cause of crashes in construction zones. The reasons for the distraction vary but typically include one of the following: drinking, eating, using a handheld device such as a phone, programming a navigation route, and plain old multi-tasking. Speeding is a common cause, often associated with failing to acknowledge signs in the construction zone.
“MTC and MATECO put effort into keeping our staff safe on the roadways by identifying hazards, implementing traffic control measures, using attenuation vehicles, using flaggers who are in direct communication with each other and the site supervisor, and staging work to place support vehicles between traffic and our workers,” states Allan Howland, Safety Officer for MTC and MATECO. “The National Work Zone Awareness Week is a good reminder to our staff to support this effort by slowing down at road work zones.”
Or as one construction group advises everyone, “Drive like you work here.”
So what can you do to stay safe and keep others around you safe in a work zone?
- Slow down!
- Stay focused and alert when approaching a construction work zone and while passing through it.
- Double your typical following distance.