National Work Zone Awareness Week Aims to Educate Drivers

4/23/2013

FLORENCE – Orange cones, detour signs, lighted message boards, flaggers, work crews and heavy equipment – for some drivers, all of these items can add up to confusion and sometimes fatal accidents.

The Pinal County Public Works Department is observing the 11th annual Work Zone Safety Week, held April 15-19. This year’s theme: “Work Zone Safety: We’re All In This Together.”

The Work Zone Safety Week began as a small event developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation to remind employees to be aware of the dangers while working on highway projects. The weeks’ observance has evolved into a nationwide event aimed at educating highway workers as well as the travelling public.

“We stress safe work habits every day with our employees,” said AJ Blaha, Pinal County’s Public Works Director. “Our workers take somewhat of a defensive stand out in the field because you never know if an approaching driver is really paying attention to the roadwork that is ahead of them.”

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System reports that nationally there were 576 fatalities in work zone traffic accidents during 2010. In Arizona, there were 14 fatalities attributed to work zone traffic accidents in that same year.

Blaha said that vigilance on the part of both parties is the key to keeping these work zone traffic accidents to a minimum.

“The first rule that a driver should practice is to dedicate your full attention to the road,” Blaha stressed. “That means you should be looking to merge before reaching the lane closure, watch for brake lights, be prepared to react to the traffic and slow down. Patience, in this case is not only a virtue, but a life saving attitude.”

Pinal County’s website features a host of information pertaining to road projects, county services, tourism, public health and much more. Explore www.pinalcountyaz.gov and discover Pinal County’s wide open opportunity.

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Facts about work zone safety (provided by the United States Department of Transportation):

  • Drivers are the most frequent fatality in work zone crashes
  • Rear-end crashes are the most common type of work zone crash
  • The majority of fatal work zone crashes occurred on roads with speed limits greater than 50 miles per hour
  • Stopping distances for motor vehicles travelling at 50 miles per hour:
    Dry roadway - 300 feet
    Wet roadway - 400 feet
    Icy pavement - 1,250 feet
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Created at 4/23/2013 8:12 AM  by System Account 
Last modified at 4/23/2013 8:15 AM  by System Account 
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