Brooke Grow 757-925-1515
April 4, 2011
VDOT PERSONIFIES EMPLOYEES IN WORK ZONES TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE FACES BEHIND THE CONES
Work Zone Safety Awareness Week promotes attentive driving habits
SUFFOLK–As highway construction projects grow rapidly across the region, it’s imperative that motorists stay alert and follow the work zone warnings to travel through safely. Work Zone Safety Awareness Week will be celebrated April 4-8, 2011, naturally calling attention to work zones to foster understanding and awareness. While this week hopes to refocus motorists’ attention on safe driving habits, it also recognizes highway workers who have lost their lives on our roadways and those who continue to work in one of the most dangerous professions in America.
Unfortunately, many of our employees know all too well the risk that goes along with this line of work. Four VDOT work zone crew members were profiled and asked to furnish private information with the optimistic attitude that if drivers are able to receive a personal look into their lives, perhaps it will encourage motorists to think twice before driving haphazardly on the regions’ roadways.
However, while highway construction is dangerous for those doing the work, four out of five of those killed in work zone crashes are motorists. In an educational effort to target young drivers, VDOT has developed the Work Zone Awareness Safety Challenge that has been presented to students of the driving age in the region. Selected localities were chosen for this inaugural initiative, using large construction projects that they encounter on a daily basis. Seniors will be asked to sign a pledge noting that they are aware of the work zone dangers and will promise to put down their phones and avoid other distractions when driving a motor vehicle. The students will also be given an orange wristband to remind them to implement safe driving habits in the construction zones.
Students will have until April 25, 2011 to sign the pledge. The school with the highest percentage of seniors signing the pledge will be awarded a number of prizes from participating sponsors: Seventh Point and E.V. Williams. Prizes will include: Three Visa gifts cards for back to school purchases and a generous donation to the winning school’s driver’s education program.
As temperatures increase, motorists will encounter an increasing number of work zones as they travel Virginia’s highways. VDOT offers the following tips for motorists to increase safety as they navigate highway work zones:
· Stay alert. Expect anything to occur when entering a work zone.
· Pay close attention. Signs and work zone flaggers save lives.
· Turn on your headlights. Workers and other motorists must see you.
· Don't tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
· Don't speed. Note the speed limits in and around the work zone.
· Follow the signs. Orange signs with black lettering should alert you on the approach to a work zone. Expect changes in traffic patterns as the project progresses.
· Keep up with traffic flow. Dedicate your full attention to the road and those traveling around you.
· Don't change lanes in the work zone. The time saved just isn't worth it.
· Minimize distractions. Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones in the work zone.
· Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and their equipment.
· Be patient. Remember, the construction or maintenance crewmembers are working to improve your future ride.
Note to assignment editors: The winning school will be presented with an award and prizes on April 29, 2011. VDOT, Seventh Point and E.V. Williams will be making the presentation to students.
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.