Traveling Work Zone Memorial Promotes Cone Zone Safety
A national organization is putting a face to workers injured or killed while fixing the nation’s roads.
The American Traffic Safety Foundation initiated a traveling show five years ago called the National Work Zone Memorial. The exhibit is scheduled to appear Sept. 28-30 at The Utility Expo in Louisville, KY.
“The Memorial is a visible reminder of the cost of work zone incidents and helps save lives by educating motorists to drive safely in work zones,” said Lori Diaz, ATSF director.
Vehicle accidents in work zones have continued to increase since the traveling exhibit was introduced in 2017.
Drivers were involved in more than 115,000 work zone accidents accounting for 39,000 injuries during 2019, according to the Work Zone Barriers site. The site is sponsored by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
From 2013 to 2019 work zone crashes doubled, the organization stated. The pace of work zone crashes increased further during the pandemic year as well.
“Construction workers are dedicated to fixing and maintaining one of our nation’s most critical assets,” said Brad Sant, senior vice president of safety and education at ARTBA. “They deserve to go home to their loved ones safely every day.
“Work zone warnings are not an inconvenience. They represent the human element in a live and often hazardous transportation construction project site.”
Law enforcement agencies also are addressing the growing problems of work zone accidents. That includes increased fines and penalties for speeding. States such as California have rolled out annual campaigns such as “Click It or Ticket” and “Slow for the Cone Zone.”
The Kansas Department of Transportation’s campaign is dubbed “Give ‘Em A Brake” and educates motorists how to identify they’re entering a work zone and what to expect.
In past years the Colorado Department of Transportation has featured the widow of a road worker who died in early February after being struck while filling potholes on U.S. Highway 160.
The California Department of Transportation offered the following recommendations for drivers:
- Be on the alert for work zones wherever you travel this summer.
- Practice patience. Work zones may involve lengthy stops and detours.
- Do not speed; obey the posted speed limits.
- Expect the unexpected. Road conditions, equipment and other drivers may create sudden hazards.
- Watch for workers; drive with caution.
- Do not change lanes unnecessarily.
- Avoid using mobile phones while driving in work zones.
- Use headlights so workers and other drivers can see your vehicle.
- Remain especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
- Expect delays, especially during peak travel hours.
- Provide ample space between your vehicle and the car in front of you.
- Anticipate lane shifts and merge as directed.