According to the Federal Highway Administration, on average, a person dies every 15 hours, and four are injured every hour, in a work zone in the United States.
“Sadly, mothers and fathers are killed every year while working to make our roadways safe,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “We hope our message – voiced by children of our own employees – will encourage drivers to think about the consequences of speeding and not paying attention in work zones.”
During the past three years in Kentucky, 17 people died and 491 were injured in highway construction and maintenance work zones. That underscores the importance of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) work zone safety campaign March 23-27, in conjunction with National Work Zone Safety Week. The cabinet is hosting events across the state to highlight the safety message and running radio public service announcements featuring children of Transportation Cabinet employees, asking drivers to be “work zone alert.”
“Inattentive drivers are not prepared for sudden decreases in speed and last-minute lane changes,” KYTC Office of Highway Safety Executive Director Bill Bell said. “We always encourage drivers to pay attention, but we want them to be extra-alert when entering a work zone.”
In 2013, the latest year for which national statistics are available, there were 579 work zone fatalities in the United States.
Kentucky recorded 791 crashes in highway construction and maintenance work zones last year. Three people died and 173 were injured.
“We’re asking drivers to consider the families,” Secretary Hancock said. “They want their loved ones home safe each night.”
The cabinet asks motorists to practice 10 work zone safety tips:
- Pay attention – put away the phone!
- Slow down.
- Don’t tailgate.
- Keep a safe distance from workers and equipment.
- Expect the unexpected.
- Obey road crew flaggers.
- Allow extra time to get to your destination if traveling through a work zone.
- Be patient.
- Keep up with traffic flow.
- Before leaving home or work, call 511 or go to www.511.ky.gov for Kentucky traffic and travel information.
National Work Zone Awareness Week is the traditional start of construction season, when the number of workers on roads and highways increases. Cabinet engineers and contractors work to design projects and work schedules that minimize delays and crashes.