Don’t Be That Driver!
Don’t Be That Driver! – Only You Can Prevent Work Zone Fatalities
Tomorrow, FMCSA’s Chief Safety Officer Jack Van Steenburg and I will travel to Ohio to kick off National Work Zone Awareness Week. Why Ohio? Because we’ll be joined by Amy Fletcher, Beth and Leroy Rizor and Shannon and Jeff Dethlefs. You may not recognize their names but each of them tragically lost family members to drivers in Ohio highway work zones. Their stories are the reason Administrator Nadeau and I are calling on ALL drivers to be safe during this construction season.
On average, three fatalities each day happen in a highway work zone. That means, each day, three families are losing children, brothers, sisters or parents. It’s a tragedy.
As spring advances and warm weather allows highway roadwork to resume after the winter, we must remember that the lives of highway workers are often in our hands. In 2014, 669 fatalities occurred in highway work zones –a slight increase over the previous year. While work zone fatalities are about half of what they were 15 years ago, there is still more work to be done.
All too often, the drivers are also victims. In fact, 82 percent of fatalities in work zone crashes are the drivers or their passengers. Distracted driving was a factor in 16 percent of fatal crashes in work zones, and speeding was a factor in nearly one-third of them.
This year’s theme is “Don’t Be That Driver!” to remind drivers that work zones require them to stay alert and be prepared for sudden changes that distracted drivers may not notice in time to prevent a crash. We must do everything we can to protect drivers and highway workers alike.
National Work Zone Awareness Week, sponsored each year at the construction season by federal, state and local transportation officials along with the American Traffic Safety Services Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, raises awareness of safety measures taken on roads all over the country. To support this effort, this Wednesday will be national “Go Orange Day.” Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau and I urge you to wear orange to show your support for highway worker safety, and to remind yourself to drive carefully through their workplaces.
This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, but keeping each other safe on U.S. roads is our responsibility each day of the year.
For more information on this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, visithttp://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm, follow @USDOTFHWA on Twitter, or search trending topics #NWZAW and #OrangeForSafety