(LOS ANGELES – April 19, 2010) – Today marks the start of National Work Zone Awareness Week. The Automobile Club of Southern California urges motorists to use caution and drive safely when approaching and driving through work zones.
Most people injured or killed in work zone crashes – approximately four out of every five – are drivers or passengers.
Over the last five years, the number of lives lost in work zone-related traffic crashes has decreased by over 32 percent nationwide from 1,063 in 2004 to 720 in 2008, the most recent year for which data are available. Encouraged by the progress made, AAA warns motorists in work zones to slow down and stay alert.
The enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and passage of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act of 2010 earlier this year have provided needed transportation funding for states and localities to repair and build highways, roads and bridges. Much of that spending is in the pipeline for projects to be completed this year. As the summer driving and peak road construction seasons approach, motorists in many parts of the country can expect increased levels of construction activity and may encounter greater numbers of work zone areas.
AAA offers the following work zone safety tips to motorists:
Plan Ahead – Motorists are encouraged to check for planned work zone delays and traffic advisories and allot extra travel time prior to departing for their trip. Free to all travelers, the AAA TripTik® Travel Planner online mapping tool provides motorists with the latest road construction and traffic congestion information so motorists can plan alternative travel routes to their destinations.
Remain Alert – Motorists should obey the directions of any police officer, firefighter or road crew flagger and follow all posted work zone advisories and signage. Temporary work zone signs are orange and commonly diamond-shaped. As with any driving situation, minimize interior and exterior distractions. Construction zones may contain unusual vehicles or machinery that can divert a driver’s attention. Drivers should be prepared to stop, slow down, shift lanes and yield to the movement of construction workers and equipment. Motorists should not turn off their vehicles when stopped on the roadway unless they will be idling for a significant period of time.
Reduce Speed – For the safety of all drivers and construction workers, normal posted speed limits are often reduced in work zones. Most states double fines for speeding in work zones when workers are present. Motorists, while keeping consistent with the flow of traffic, should maintain a safe distance between vehicles ahead, traffic barriers, construction workers and equipment.