A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

National Work Zone Awareness Week: Pay attention, respect flaggers, slow down in active work zones

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is asking drivers to slow down and drive without distractions in active work zones during National Work Zone Awareness Week from April 8-12.

Road construction season kicks off this month in Kentucky, so drivers can expect to see a work zone during their daily commute or summer travels. Although highway work zones are high-risk sites for crew members, the safety of drivers and their passengers is also on the line.

While the number of work zone fatalities dropped sharply from 12 in 2017 to three in 2018, all three victims were non-crew workers. The number of work zone crashes rose 3% from 1,007 in 2017 to 1,042 in 2018.

A major contributor to work zone crashes is distracted driving. That includes texting or operating a phone while driving, eating, or applying makeup. Last year, 53% of work zone crashes listed distracted driving as a factor.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to educate motorists on the importance of paying attention not only when driving through work zones, but any time you get behind the wheel,” said Jason Siwula, Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director. “In order to keep everyone safe on our roadways, please put your phone down and just drive.”

To help prevent future work zone crashes, the Transportation Cabinet asks drivers to practice three work zone safety tips:

– Pay Attention – Don’t text, eat or perform any other activity while driving.

Respect Flaggers – Obey their guidance and watch their direction carefully.

Slow Down – Maintain a safe following distance; rear-end collisions are the most common work zone crash.

Federal Highway Administration statistics are in line with Kentucky’s work zone fatality numbers that indicate drivers are more at risk in a work zone.  They say in a typical five-day workweek, an average of seven drivers and one worker are killed around the nation in work zones.

“As the weather gets warmer, highway workers are heading outdoors to improve our roads and keep us moving,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson.

“We all need to do our part and drive carefully, so that we can help keep everyone safe wherever construction is underway.”


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