For Immediate Release
National Work Zone Awareness Week
National Work Zone Awareness Week will be observed April 6-10, 2009. It’s the 10th year anniversary for the annual work zone safety campaign and the theme for this year is: “Drive to Survive - Our Future is Riding On It!”
During the spring season, road construction and maintenance projects such as street repairs, sweepings, refreshing of pavement markings as well as major construction will be starting up on Springfield’s roads and across America. This year, the U.S. Department of Transportation expects a significant increase in road construction due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which will provide funding for many road construction and repair projects across the United States.
Highway work zones are considered one of the most hazardous places for workers in the United States, but they also are dangerous for motorists. National statistics show that each year about 1,000 people die in work zones throughout America, and 85 percent of them are drivers and their passengers. About 40,000 people were injured in work zones in 2007 and statistics show that most vehicular crashes are rear-end crashes and collisions with fixed objects.
Within the City of Springfield, work-zone crashes represented 0.44 percent of all reported crashes. There were 33 reported crashes within work zones in 2008; eight resulted in injury crashes, but there were no fatalities. This translates to a 54 percent decrease in all work-zone crashes compared to 2007 statistics when 71 work-zone traffic crashes occurred with 20 injuries and no fatalities.
Motorists are advised to be aware of safety hazards and follow these steps:
- Expect the Unexpected: Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people may be working on or near the road.
- Slow down: Speeding is one of the major causes of work-zone crashes.
- Keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you: The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision, so leave space to stop between you and the car ahead. Please don’t tailgate.
- Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and construction workers and equipment: The closer you are, the slower you should go.
- Pay attention to the signs: The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you've left the work zone.
- Obey road-crew flaggers: The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so motorists can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions: Pay full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations or using cell phones while driving in a work zone.
- Keep up with the traffic flow: Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Don't drive right up to the lane closure and then try to barge in.
- Be patient and stay calm: Work zones aren't there to inconvenience you. The work-zone crew members are working to improve the road and make your future drive better.
- Schedule enough time to drive safely and check media sources for traffic information: Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time.
The City of Springfield and the Missouri Department of Transportation offer traffic information on the joint Transportation Management Center’s Web site: www.ozarkstraffic.info. The information includes the latest news releases, information about City work zones, and images for the traffic cameras. For the latest on MoDOT work zones and road closures, go to www.modot.org to view the Traveler Information Map.
For more information, contact: Mandy Taylor, Senior Engineering Technician, 864-1801.