Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image

Work Zone Awareness Week 2011
What's it about?
Respect the cone zone billboard.
National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 4-10, 2011. Across the country transportation organizations and public safety professionals are joining together to raise awareness about the importance of driving safely through road construction work zones.
 
Oregonians are starting to see orange. Road construction signs, cones and barrels are popping up along Oregon's streets and highways. 
 
Nationally, on average, three work zone fatalities occur every day. In Oregon during the last 10 years, there’s been an average of 475 work zone related crashes each year, including an average of 18 serious injury crashes and eight fatal crashes. 
 
Highway work zones can be frustrating at times. Life is busy and time is precious. Please understand when you drive dangerously through a work zone you’re not just putting the lives of highway workers at risk – you’re risking your own life, and the lives of your loved ones.
 
The majority of people injured or killed in these crashes are drivers, passengers or pedestrians, not workers. The single biggest factor in crashes is driver inattention; that’s why orange cones, variable message signs and other tools are used to alert motorists. The other major contributing factor is speed, which is why work zones often require lower speed limits.
 
Even if you don’t see anyone working in a work zone, it’s still important to slow down because traffic lanes are often narrow, rough and have little or no shoulder in a work zone.
 
ODOT asks Oregonians to show their support for work zone safety by driving carefully and slowly through work zones.

Facts and Figures
Here are a just a few facts and figures from our 2011 Work Zone Safety Fact Sheet (pdf):
 
  • State highway vehicle volumes have doubled in the past 20 years, increasing the risks for highway construction workers.
  • Projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Oregon Transportation Investment Act III and other city, county and state infrastructure projects means work zones can be found in every area of the state.
  • Each year in April, National Work Zone Awareness Week is held to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones.
 
Nature of the problem 
  • According to national studies, inattentive drivers are the single biggest factor in work zone crashes.
  • Excessive speed is the second biggest factor in work zone crashes.
  • Some 42 percent of work zone crashes occur in the transition zone prior to the work area.
 
Magnitude of problem 
  • In Oregon during the last 10 years, there’s been an average of 475 work zone related crashes each year, including an average of 18 serious injury crashes and an average of 8 fatal crashes.
  • For 2010, preliminary estimates confirm 9 work zone fatalities in Oregon. In 2009, the number of fatalities was 18, while in 2008, there were 5. 
  • In work zones nationwide:
    • In 2009, there were 667 work zone fatalities
    • In 2008, there were 720
    • In 2007, there were 835 
  • The situation is serious for both drivers and workers. In Oregon, there are actually far more drivers and passengers killed and injured in work zones in comparison to workers.
  • Highway construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. The risk of death is seven times higher for highway workers than for an average worker. 
  • Work zone crashes tend to be more severe than other types of crashes.
 
Safety Tips for Drivers 
  • The number one, most important action drivers can take is to pay complete attention to the driving task, especially in the transition zone before the work area.  An inattentive driver is the most common cause for work zone crashes.
  • Orange is Your Clue! Respect the Cone Zone. When you see orange signs, barrels and barricades reduce your speed. Speeding is the second most common cause in a work zone crash.
  • Double your following distance. Don’t tailgate.
  • Get in the correct lane well in advance.
  • Remember, work zone traffic lanes often are narrow, without shoulders or emergency lanes.
  • Be aware of temporary construction accesses on either side of the roadway.
  • Expect delays — plan for them and leave early so you can drive safely through the work zone.
  • Patience is vital!  Be as courteous to other drivers as you’d like them to be to you.
  • Avoid work zones when you can by using an alternate route.
  • Call 5-1-1 or visit www.TripCheck.com to check routes, work zones and road and weather conditions before you head out. 
 

Additional resources
 
ODOT's work zone safety program 
 
National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse 
 
American Traffic Safety Services Association 
 
Federal Highway Administration work zone safety program