Even with current work zone safety guidelines, more than 100 workers die at road construction sites every year, according to a recent survey.
“While fatalities are about half of what they were 15 years ago, too many people are still dying in work zones,” stated U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It’s up to you, me, and the rest of the driving public to keep workers and ourselves safe by slowing down and paying attention when behind the wheel.”
In 2014, distracted driving accounted for 16 percent of fatal crashes in work zones. One third of crashes that year were caused by speeders.
Project Coordination Improves Work Zone Safety
The idea behind a new Federal Highway Administration campaign is to improve trade workers’ safety by promoting project planning and communication.
In response, the Federal Highway Administration has begun the Smarter Work Zones initiative to “coordinate projects to minimize the impact of work zones and use technology application to manage traffic in the work zone area.” Its goal is to facilitate fewer traffic disruptions, faster project completion times and improved work zone safety.
The Smarter Work Zones’ two main strategies for dealing with this problem are to coordinate roadway construction and use technology applications to manage traffic around work zones.
The Federal Highway Administration has been offering a series of webinars, training resources and on-field demonstrations. These resources can be found here.
The Federal government is now implementing the use of real-time data, warnings for backups, dynamic lane merging, incident management, variable speed limits, automated enforcement as well as notifications for entering and exiting construction vehicles.
‘Don’t Be That Driver’
For the start of highway construction season in April, the Federal Highway Administration unveiled a new campaign, “Don’t Be That Driver,” which is aimed at increasing highway construction work zone safety.
Motorists are urged to do their part by giving large commercial vehicles extra room to maneuver, avoiding lingering in blind spots and making safety a priority at all times.