ATSSA cites dangers in roadway work zones as national safety campaign begins
(Fredericksburg, Va.) – Members of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) are urging motorists across the country to drive with extreme care and caution and “expect the unexpected” in roadway work zones, as the nation observes National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 3-7.
The nationwide safety observance, established in 1999, is set aside each year at the beginning of the busy roadway construction season to draw the motoring publics’ attention to the dangers associated with roadway work zones. The most recent federal statistics (2015) reveal 700 fatalities occur in roadway work zones from coast to coast, the majority of those victims being motorists, not the workers themselves.
“That statistic alone should shock the average motorist,” said ATSSA’s Communications Director James Baron. “Work zones are extremely dangerous, and that number could be significantly reduced if motorists would simply slow down, be patient, turn off their cellphones, and obey posted signs and directions from flaggers in work zones.”
ATSSA, a roadway safety organization that specializes in work zone worker training nationally, helped create the national awareness campaign in 1999. Since then, every state department of transportation has joined the cause.
“Due to our aging infrastructure and the improvements that must be made to meet the demand of America’s motorists, work zones have become part of the American landscape,” Baron said. “You will more than likely encounter one every time you get behind the wheel.”
Baron cites several reasons for work zone crashes, including excessive speed, following too closely, texting, fatigue and aggressive driving.
“Night work is especially dangerous, when impaired drivers are added to that mix,” Baron added.
Although the awareness campaign runs April 3-7, Baron encourages motorists to exercise caution in work zones every time they drive. The national slogan for this year’s campaign is “Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands.”
“This campaign has successfully raised awareness across the country,” Baron said. “To eventually reach zero fatalities on our nation’s roadways, motorists can help by exercising caution, co