Jessica Cowardin 804-524-6094
Nina Napolitano 757-929-2557
April 9, 2018
VDOT PROMOTES SAFETY FOR NATIONAL WORK ZONE AWARENESS WEEK APRIL 9-13
National theme is Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility
2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week poster
RICHMOND, Va. – The latest work zone crash stats are in, and the numbers are headed in a dangerous direction. Last year, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recorded 2,666 work zone crashes resulting in 1,329 injuries and 12 fatalities – an increase from 2016. The 2017 numbers increased nearly 10 percent, reversing a downward trend in incidents recorded between 2014 and 2016, which had previously fallen over 40 percent.
In an effort to reduce work zone crashes, VDOT continues to focus on safe work and safe driving in work zones for National Work Zone Awareness Week. Observed from April 9-13, the week typically kicks off the construction season, which can last through late fall. This year’s national theme is “Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.”
"VDOT's goal is to have zero incidents, an effort that requires partnership with those traveling through work zones," Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine said. "Whether walking, cycling or driving, each of us plays a vital role in making sure our roads are safe."
“The dangers involved in building and maintaining the roads may not be at the top of mind for those who do not experience them every day. A hard hat and traffic cones are no match for a distracted driver of a vehicle weighing several tons and traveling at high speeds,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Quintin Elliott.
"Safety is ‘Number One’ at VDOT. We are committed to researching and using the latest technology in safety for work zones,” said Stephen C. Brich, VDOT Commissioner. “We also need the public’s help. Please commit to driving with heightened awareness and caution around the men and women who work on our roadways.”
To drive home the safety message, VDOT’s Lynchburg District created a LOVE sign out of work zone equipment and materials, including cones and barrels that have been signed by employees to denote each individual’s commitment to safety. The 20-foot-long display will appear at several VDOT locations in the coming weeks and months.
How you can support National Work Zone Awareness Week:
- Tuesday, April 10: The public is invited to a 6:30 p.m. vigil at the VDOT Workers’ Memorial (Interstate 64 eastbound on Afton Mountain in Albemarle County, milepost 103). This annual event honors employees who lost their lives on the job.
- Wednesday, April 11: Go Orange Day. Wear orange to help start a conversation about work zone safety. Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam are showing their support by lighting the executive mansion in orange.
- Follow VDOT on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Show us your support by liking, sharing and posting with the hashtags: #NWZAW, #GoOrangeVA and #RespectTheZone.
- The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance partnered with Drive Smart Virginia to produce two public service announcements and a series of Facebook ads to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving in work zones. Visit the DRIVE SMART Virginia Work Zone Safety website for more information.
VDOT offers the following tips for safely navigating highway work zones:
- Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and slow-moving equipment.
- Follow the signs. Signs and flaggers will direct you through work zones. Expect changes in traffic patterns as the project progresses.
- Don’t tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
- Don’t speed. Enhanced fines of up to $500 may be levied for speeding in a work zone.
- Never change lanes in a work zone.
- Focus and minimize distractions. Focus your full attention on the road and those traveling around you. Avoid changing radio stations, eating or using phones.
- Be patient. Crews are working to improve the safety and comfort of your travels.
- Know before you go. Call 511 for up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information from any phone in Virginia. Before you travel, log on to 511Virginia or check the free 511 Virginia mobile app for road and traffic conditions, weather forecasts and live traffic cameras on many major highways.
- Take it from Kendall, daughter of a VDOT worker:
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.