April 7 – 11, 2014:  National Work Zone Awareness Week – “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake”

The 2014 theme highlights the consequences of speeding through a work zone. These costs can take on various forms, including fines, jail time or even a life. By highlighting these impacts, the intent is to inform drivers and encourage them to drive carefully through work zones.  National Kickoff Event is to be held Tuesday, April 8 at the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project in Seattle, Washington.

Worker Safety:  The leading cause of highway construction worker injuries and fatalities is contact with construction vehicles, objects, and equipment. These injuries and deaths are preventable through a number of good practices.
As our highway infrastructure ages, many transportation agencies are focusing on rebuilding and improving existing roadways. This means more roadwork is being performed on roadways that are open to traffic. At the same time, traffic continues to grow and create more congestion, particularly in urban areas. To avoid major queues during peak travel periods, urban areas are seeing more night work. The combination of more work done alongside increasingly heavier traffic and greater use of night work can result in increased safety considerations for highway workers. However, there are regulations and available resources on good practices that can help workers perform their jobs safely.

Worker Visibility:

•MUTCD Part 6 Section 6D.03 – Requires the use of high-visibility safety apparel by workers who are working within the rights-of-way of Federal-aid highways.
•High Visibility Standard – Provides a guide for the design, performance specifications, and use of high-visibility and reflective apparel including vests, jackets, bib/jumpsuit coveralls, trousers and harnesses.

Many drivers become irritated when they see the “Work Zone – Fines Double” signs preceeding the work zone.  It is better to observe the law in order to not receive a fine for speeding while driving through that zone.  Not only are the workers exposed to traffic, they are also staying alert to avoid being backed over or run over by the heavy equipment working around them.  Their line of work is very unsafe.  The flaggers are also very close to traffic whizzing by them.  It is your duty as drivers to observe the signs and keep the safety of our highway workers in mind at all times.  When you pass through one of these work areas, drive as though your son, brother, sister, or a loved one were out there; it might help you slow down.

The United States Department of Transportation/ Federal Highway Administration brings this important message annually  in order for all drivers to know how important the safety of highway workers is.   Drive safely.  As one of their signs says, “Watch for Workers – Give Us A Brake!” 

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administration