Spring marks the unofficial start of Idahos construction
season and transportation officials will observe Work Zone
Safety Week, April 5-9, to remind motorists to slow down in
The Idaho Transportation Department, the Idaho Associated
General Contractors (AGC) and the Ada County Highway District
(ACHD) emphasize the importance of slowing down in work zones
to ensure the safety of motorists and construction workers.
Highway work zones are considered among the most hazardous
places for workers in the United States, but they can be just
as dangerous for motorists, said Michael Gifford of
Idaho AGC. The stark but little-known fact is that four
out of five people killed in work zone crashes are drivers
and passengers, rather than workers.
While injuries and fatalities among workers are declining,
crashes involving motorists have increased in recent years.
Accidents in highway work zones claimed two lives statewide
in 2003. Both fatalities were motorists. During the same year,
there were 357 collisions in Idaho work zones; 254 of those
were in southwest Idaho, which includes the Treasure Valley.
The year before, there were 266 work zone collisions statewide.
Rear-end collisions account for most work zone crashes. Following
too closely, inattentive driving, failing to yield the right
of way and improper lane changes also contribute to accidents
in work zones.
Drivers have the most at stake in work zones and can
do the most to keep themselves and others out of danger,
said Craig Quintana of ACHD. Slowing down and leaving
plenty of space between you and the car ahead are two of the
easiest things you can do to improve your safety when driving
through a work zone.
Other tips for motorists to increase safety include: plan
ahead -- allow for the few extra minutes a construction project
may add to the commute; and minimize distractions such as
cell phones or the car stereo.
Our goal is to reduce work zone crashes and fatalities
by reminding drivers about the importance of work zone safety
and the reality of work zone crashes, said Dave Ekern,
ITD Director. At the end of the day, we want to make
sure everyone gets home safely.
Idaho State Police officers will increase patrols in work
zones during Work Zone Safety Week. The standard fine for
speeding in Idaho is $53; the fine for a work zone speed violation
The campaign begins in District 3 next week. Additional outreach
and awareness efforts in other districts will follow throughout
the spring and summer. The staggered timing of the campaign
is designed so that the message of slowing down in work zones
coincides with the onset of construction projects in each