This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW).
NWZAW is in its 21st year and is a national public awareness campaign that spreads the message that everyone is responsible for work zone safety. This year’s theme is “Drive safe. Work safe. Save lives.”
Rutherford County Highway Department Superintendent Greg Brooks urges the community to take a little time to become educated on work zone safety. “Our highway department employees commonly work on streets or highways where vehicles pass within inches of their work space,” he said. “It is imperative that travelers pay attention to road work signs so that our workers stay safe, as well as the drivers.”
Brooks says distracted driving is a major cause of work zone crashes and incidents. “If we have around 25 cars pass through one of our work zones, at least 20 of them are on the cell phone, and of those 20, probably 12 or so are completely distracted because they’re not just talking, they’re texting!”
Common warning signs motorists may see in work zones include but are not limited to: “Road work ahead,” “One lane road ahead,” “Be prepared to stop,” or a sign indicating that there is someone flagging traffic up ahead. In some cases, there is also a slow-moving vehicle with emergency lights warning motorists to slow down.
“We hope that everyone will do their part in keeping road work crews safe so that they can return home to their families,” said Brooks. “We want our residents, visitors, and commuters to go home safely as well.”
Brooks points to advice that encompasses all aspects of this year’s theme:
Drive Safe. A reminder that work zones need everyone’s undivided attention. When approaching a work zone, motorists should always slow down, follow all posted signs, be alert, and remain calm. Risky driving behavior affects more than just the driver – everyone’s lives and families are at stake.
Work Safe. Technology is helping to make work zones safer by collecting data and automating processes, which can remove workers from dangerous situations and provide motorists with important information. It is also a reminder that work zone safety begins with workers who are dedicated to safety.
Save Lives. If we ALL work together, we can achieve zero deaths on our roads and in our work zones!
For more information about NWZAW, its origin, planned events, and other related materials, visit: nwzaw.org.