Crashes in Virginia work zones caused 1,329 injuries, 12 fatalities in 2017

road work transportationMost people have the assurance that they will be safe as they carry out their work day. Unfortunately, this is not the case for our transportation workers.

Last year, 2,666 crashes in Virginia work zones caused 1,329 injuries and 12 fatalities. That’s why the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VCTA) and DRIVE SMART Virginia (DSV) created the work zone safety campaign “Don’t Zone Out in Work Zones.”

Designed to help protect both workers and drivers while they are in work zones, the project is a public information and education campaign that is using digital and social media to get the word out.

“Work zone safety is a growing problem,” said Jeff Southard, VTCA Executive Vice President. “The safety of our transportation workers is a top priority for us. Work zone fatalities increased 20% last year, so we are absolutely committed to reminding drivers to increase their awareness and minimize all distractions while driving through a work zone.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 9-13 and organizers want to remind you that work zones are inherently dangerous. With daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed rights-of-way, speed variations, and most important, transportation workers doing their jobs just feet from your vehicle.

“We know that 94% of crashes are caused by driver behavior, so we’re working hard to educate the public on the responsibility they have to keep our roadways safe,” said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia. “Distraction is enough of a problem without adding the complexities of a work zone. We are proud to partner with the VTCA to help deliver this important message.”

More than 3 million drivers are expected to be reached through the various communications tools.

Organizers offer the following tips for driving safely in and around work zones:

  • Check the latest traffic information to be prepared for your trip.
  • Always buckle up. A safety belt is your best defense in the event of a crash.
  • Expect the unexpected. Work zone patterns are organic and ever-changing.
  • Avoid distractions. Give the task of driving your full attention and put the phone down.
  • Pay attention to other drivers. Narrowed traffic patterns provide less ability to maneuver around other vehicles safely.
  • Don’t speed or tailgate. Especially in a work zone.
  • Obey road crews and signs. Flaggers are trained on how best to move traffic safely in work zones and signage is carefully placed to provide ample warning of changes.
  • Be patient and stay calm. Don’t allow your frustration to get the best of you.
  • Remember that the end goal is to improve the roadway for future use.

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