During a public event held this morning at the Northeast Front Street work zone in Milford in observance of National Work Zone Awareness Week, Governor John Carney and Department of Transportation Secretary (DelDOT) Jennifer Cohan and others informed attendees on the importance of observing extra caution while traveling through work zones. National Work Zone Awareness Week is held in early April each year at the traditional start of construction season when the number of workers on our nation’s roadways increases. The theme of this year’s Delaware awareness campaign is “Slow Down! We Have Families Too.
APRIL 11, 2019 — State Reps. Bryan Shupe and Charles Postles joined Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan and other officials today at a worksite along Delaware 1 near Milford to highlight worker safety in construction zones. This week is Work Zone Safety Awareness Week. The observation is part of an annual campaign by DelDOT to caution motorist to be especially attentive as they drive through transportation construction projects. In 2017, 132 highway workers were killed in the U.S. in work zone accidents.
Posted by Delaware State House of Representatives – Republican Caucus on Thursday, April 11, 2019
The National Work Zone Awareness Week began in 1999, when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) signed a Memorandum of Agreement pledging to increase public awareness of work zone safety issues through a national media campaign. Since then, awareness has continued to grow, with state agencies and other organizations sponsoring high-visibility education and outreach initiatives.
Proclaiming the week of April 8 in Delaware to be National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, Governor Carney encouraged all citizens to be aware of the importance of safe driving habits in highway work zones. “While we draw attention to the importance of Work Zone Safety Awareness during this week each April, it is something we should be mindful of every day of the year, especially with the many infrastructure projects taking place across our state.”
“Since 2014, more than 1,100 drivers have crashed within work zones in Delaware. Such crashes endanger the lives of DelDOT employees and contractors as well as the lives of the people behind the wheel,” said DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan. “We should all encourage drivers to slow down and pay attention to their surroundings as they approach and pass through work zones. Eliminating work zone crashes is a goal that we can achieve.”
Although highway workers are often among the victims of such crashes, it’s important for drivers to understand that four out of five victims of work zone crashes are actually drivers or their passengers. Generally, crashes occur when drivers speed through a work zone or do not pay attention to the changing road conditions and run into other vehicles, highway equipment or safety barriers, or drive off the roadway completely. In a typical five-day work week, an average of seven motorists and one worker are killed nationwide. The primary causes of work zone crashes are following too closely and inattentive driving.
“As a first responder I have seen first-hand how crashes can have a horrible and devastating impact on families,” Sergeant Richard Bratz, Delaware State Police Public Information Director informed the group. Work zones are very busy with a lot of moving parts and demand both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road and your full attention. Driver inattention, distraction, fatigue, following too closely and improper lane change are the leading causes or primary contributing factors that cause these crashes. Rest assured law enforcement will do their part with educating motorists and enforcing the laws to ensure everyone is safe and everyone goes home to be with their families.”
Some simple tips for improving work zone safety include:
* When you see the “orange and black,” be extra cautious.
* Warning signs will let you know what to expect.
* Barrels or cones will delineate your path of travel.
* Flag persons will help direct you along the way.
* Avoid distractions.
* Don’t tailgate.
* Don’t change lanes.
* Slow down and expect the unexpected.
Ken Grant, AAA Mid-Atlantic Manager, Public and Government Affairs told the group, “As with any driving situation, minimize interior and exterior distractions. Motorists should obey the directions of any police officer, firefighter or road crew flagger and follow all posted work zone advisories and signage. Construction zones may contain unusual vehicles or machinery that can divert a driver’s attention as well as traffic cones, barrels, flashing lights and concrete barriers. Drivers should be prepared to stop, slow down, shift lanes, merge and yield to the movement of construction workers and equipment.”
DelDOT’s Program Manager for Traffic Safety, Mark Buckalew, brought the quest speakers’ portion of the program to conclusion by saying: ““Delaware is home to many talented and hardworking women and men. We can do everything right when working alongside traffic, but it still won’t be enough. I ask that the public partner with us to slow down and be alert when driving through our work zones.”
For traffic information, visit www.DelDOT.gov; follow DelDOT on social media at http://twitter.com/DelawareDOT or http://www.facebook.com/DelawareDOT or The DelDOT App is available for Apple & Android smart phones and tablets, and can be downloaded free, search for “DelDOT” at the Apple and Google Play stores. With the DelDOT App you can view real time traffic cameras, travel times, delays, advisories, DART’s Real-Time Transit Information, and also listen to WTMC 1380 AM.