Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Lou Hatter 434-422-9866
April 20, 2012
NATIONAL WORK ZONE AWARENESS WEEK IS APRIL 23-27
VDOT urges motorists to be vigilant in highway work zones and “Go Orange” on April 25
RICHMOND — VDOT is asking you to remember to do your part in keeping roads safe in observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 23 to 27. Each year, VDOT joins the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), fellow state transportation departments, and industry partners to raise awareness to the importance of staying safe within work zones. VDOT is also partnering with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles during its April recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“Our workers and contractors are just like you …they have a job to do, and expect to arrive home safely at the end of it each day,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “Encourage friends and family to drive safely in and around work zones and help save the lives of workers and motorists.”
The 2012 National Work Zone Awareness Week theme – “Don’t Barrel through Work Zones, Drive Smart to Arrive Alive” – is a reminder to motorists to use caution when they see the familiar orange barrels marking a work zone ahead. Slowing down and avoiding distractions – such as calling or texting – improve drivers’ ability to maneuver through work zones, make lane changes and stop their vehicle when traffic slows.
In 2010, 576 workers and motorists were killed in highway work zone crashes nationwide, with more than 40,000 injured. In 2011, 3,457 work zone crashes occurred in Virginia alone, with 11 deaths and 1,816 injuries. According to the ATSSA, 26 percent of all work zone fatalities occur as a result of rear-end crashes.
“The men and women of VDOT put their lives on the line every day in an effort to make the roads, interstates, bridges and tunnels of Virginia safer and stronger,” said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. “Please join us in supporting Work Zone Awareness Week by wearing orange on ‘Go Orange Day,’ Wednesday, April 25.” Send your photos of you and your colleagues wearing orange to VDOTPhotoRequest@VDOT.virginia.gov and they will be included on VDOT’s Flickr site.
More information about Work Zone Awareness Week is available on VDOT’s website. Learn more about the VDOT Workers’ Memorial, including information about some of those individuals who are memorialized on the monument. Work Zone Awareness Week videos can be viewed on VDOT’s YouTube channel.
VDOT offers the following tips for motorists when they encounter highway work zones:
- Minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the road and those around you.
- Stay alert, expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
- Don't speed. Enhanced fines of up to $500 may be levied for speeding in a work zone.
- Don't tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
- Don't change lanes in the work zone. The time saved just isn't worth it.
- Follow the signs. Signs and flaggers will direct you through the work zone. Expect changes in traffic patterns as the project progresses.
- Be patient. Remember, the crewmembers are working to improve the highway, and the safety and comfort of your future travels.
Before you travel, call 511 and log on to www.511Virginia.org for road and traffic conditions, weather forecasts and live traffic cameras on many major highways.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.