Treasure Valley motorists were reminded this week to slow
down and pay extra attention in highway work zones. Television
news broadcasts, newspaper stories and radio traffic reports
all drove home the safety message as part of Work Zone Safety
Awareness Week, April 5-9.
The same message will be directed to the media and public
in other areas of Idaho as construction projects return to
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 ITD Director
Dave Ekern. At the end of the day, we want to make sure
everyone gets home safely.
The safety reminders were coupled with stepped-up patrols
in construction zones. Idaho State Police (ISP) troopers increased
their vigilance to emphasize the safety of both motorists
and construction workers.
According to ISP, the motorcycle patrol unit has been making
their presence felt for those whove refused to slow
down, particularly in the construction corridor of I-84 through
the WYE Reconstruction project.
Last summer the motorcycle officers worked this area
extensively with the intent of making motorists know we are
serious about the dangers caused by excessive speeds in construction
zones, said ISP Region 4 Capt. Steve Jones. We
want motorists to know we will be paying even closer attention
than usual to these hazardous areas as part of this nationwide
ITD also partnered with the Idaho Associated General Contractors
(AGC) and the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) to drive
the message home.
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.
injuries and fatalities among workers are declining, crashes
involving motorists have increased recently.
Crashes 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.
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