ADOT recognizes ‘National Work Zone Awareness Week’ through April 30
Most of us could not imagine being on a job where cars and trucks zoom past us from mere feet away, but that is what highway construction and maintenance crews across Arizona face consistently, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) stated in a news release.
This week, through April 30, ADOT is marking National Work Zone Awareness Week by encouraging drivers to slow down and pay attention in work zones.
“Sadly, drivers and passengers are even more likely to be killed or seriously injured in work-zone crashes,” the release added.
ADOT has joined other safety agencies across America to promote National Work Zone Awareness Week and “focus attention on the need for drivers to stay alert, recognize they’re entering an area where construction or other workers could be at risk and to embrace lifesaving actions that include slowing down,” the release stated.
This week, a number of ADOT’s electronic signs on state highways and freeways are displaying safety messages, including “Safe Drivers, Safe Workers, Safe Work Zones” and “Give ’Em A Brake, Stay Alert in Work Zones.”
ADOT officials say police reports show that since 2016 more than 60 people have died in work zone-related crashes along all roads in Arizona, including local streets and state highways. ADOT employee Frank Dorizio died last year when a vehicle hit him as he set up a work-zone sign on Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.
“National statistics show that four out of five victims of work-zone crashes were drivers or their passengers,” the release added.
In Arizona, work-zone crash statistics from police reports over the past five years include the following:
• 2016 – Seven fatalities, 28 serious injuries;
• 2017 – 18 fatalities, 31 serious injuries;
• 2018 – 17 fatalities, 23 serious injuries;
• 2019 – 15 fatalities, 22 serious injuries; and
• 2020 – 9 fatalities, 23 serious injuries ( = preliminary, as all 2020 crash reports not yet analyzed).
“We partner with our contractors to deploy safe work-zone measures within our projects,” ADOT Central District Administrator Randy Everett stated in the release. “That includes temporary concrete barrier walls to protect construction crews. However, you can’t prevent all exposures to traffic, especially when short-term maintenance work such as pavement repair is happening. We need drivers to stay alert for workers and equipment. We want everyone to arrive safely home.”
The theme for 2021’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.” The annual safety event has been conducted across the country since 2000, the release added.