April 20-24, 2020, is this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week. Sadly, however, far too many drivers are extremely thoughtless about the safety of roadside workers.
From 2015-2017, an average of 772 workers were killed each year in construction and maintenance work zones on U.S. roads and highways. That, in turn, is an average of just over two per day, every day of the year. [CDC]
One thing we all need to remember, however, is that roadside workers are not necessarily all to be found within the cones and barriers of well demarcated construction zones. Those zones have to be created and then removed — times of even greater risk for the workers.
Another common excuse given by speeders in construction zones is that it is nighttime therefore nobody will be working. That may be true on some occasions but certainly not on others. Indeed, the faster and busier a road might usually be, the more likely it is that repair work will be carried out in the relatively quiet hours of the night.
As with so many aspects of road safety, however, this is — forgive the pun — a “two-way street!” Roadside workers can themselves get too complacent (I’ve been there and done it during my years as a traffic patrol police officer — we are all human.) So it is essential that they remain vigilant, too.
Meanwhile, drivers please remember that you ignore these signs at somebody else’s peril!
Try imagining that one of the workers was your mother or father, your sister or brother, or your son or daughter…. that is a good way to get it right…. and save a life.