We are teaming up with the Association of General Contractors to celebrate National Work Zone Safety Week by reminding drivers to slow down and focus on the road, especially in work zones.
In 2015, a total of 2,849 motor vehicle crashes occurred in Utah work zones, resulting in 10 deaths. According to the Federal Highway Administration, speeding was a factor in 29 percent of all fatal work zone crashes in 2014, while distracted driving contributed to 16 percent. Currently there have been zero fatalities in Utah work zones in 2016.
“We are doing everything we can to keep our work zones safe for those who travel through them and those who work in them. But there’s only so much we can do. We need the public’s help,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “Slow down, put down the phone, be alert, and obey the laws – especially when driving through a work zone.”
In addition, UDOT release a 30-second PSA to remind drivers of the risks UDOT workers face every day in the work zone. The PSA is told from the perspective of UDOT employees’ children, who want to see their parents come home safe every night.
“Work zones are places where real people do their jobs every day,” said Rich Thorn, president and CEO of the Associated General Contractors. “They have families and other people who care about them and want to see them come home safe. Knowing that should motivate drivers to be alert and slow down in work zones.”
Safety is the number one priority for each of UDOT’s more than 150 projects this year. For example, the Point project requires every employee to participate in weekly safety training. Also, to further protect it’s 1,500 employees from traffic, crews placed more than 24 miles of concrete barrier, which is 50 percent more than the contract required, as this barrier provides a safer work zone for employees.
Work zones are dynamic places that can change from minute to minute. UDOT urges drivers to be safe and help reach Zero Fatalities by:
- Driving the posted speed limit.
- Paying 100 percent attention to the roadway, as lanes are often narrowed and shifted for construction.
- Eliminating distracting activities, such as changing radio/music, using mobile devices (surfing, tweeting, talking, texting), eating and drinking, putting on makeup, and reaching while driving.
- Minimizing lane changes within the work zone.
- Merging into the proper lane well before reaching a lane closure.
- Watching out for workers and their equipment in the work zone, as they can be especially hard to see at night.
UDOT encourages drivers to check the UDOT Traffic App (available for Android and Apple devices) to view current traffic conditions, locate work zones, or plan the best route before travel. Drivers are also encouraged to TRAVELWise around freeway construction by adjusting schedules to travel during less-congested times of day. Drivers can also take transit or telework to skip congestion and work zones.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration celebrate National Work Zone Safety Week each spring to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety in work zones. UDOT continues to participate in this observance in order to raise driver awareness, protect employees and reach Zero Fatalities in work zones.