ITD reminds drivers to slow down and pay attention
During the past 10 years, the annual number of persons killed in motor vehicle crashes in work zones nationwide has increased 45 percent – reaching 1,010 in 2006 – according to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) statistics.
About 80 percent of those fatalities were drivers or occupants in passenger vehicles. An additional 40,000 people are injured each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes in work zones across the United States.
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) doesn’t want Idaho motorists to be added to those statistics so the department reminds drivers to “Slow for the Cone Zone” as the 2008 highway construction season arrives.
States across the country observe National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, April 7 - 11.
Orange cones and barrels identifying work zones already are appearing on Idaho highways, so before leaving, check radio and television traffic updates, call 5-1-1 or log on to the Web at 511.idaho.gov for current construction activities on the state highway and interstate system.
ITD also reminds motorists that enhanced fines may be imposed on drivers who violate work zone speed limits.
Motorists also are urged to use patience and remain calm when driving through a work zone. Crews are working hard to improve the roadway and make future driving better and safer.
ITD and FHWA offer additional tips for driving safely in highway work zones:
Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be altered and people may be working on or near the road.
Slow down. Speeding is one of the major causes of work zone crashes; obey posted speed limits.
- Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. The most common crash in a highway work zone is a rear end collision.
- Give workers extra space. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the construction workers and their equipment.
- Pay attention to the signs. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you’ve left the work zone.
- Follow the directions of flaggers and pilot cars. They know what is best for moving traffic safely in the work zone. Remember that a flagger or pilot car has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying directions.
- Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway and avoid changing radio stations or using cell phones while driving in a work zone.
- Keep up with the traffic flow. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by merging smoothly and not slowing to “gawk” at roadwork equipment and crews.