As spring returns with warmer and longer days, roadway work zones will appear more often. That’s why it is time to remind ourselves as motorists that we share a responsibility in keeping work zones safe. National Work Zone Awareness Week is an educational campaign that invites government, business, safety professionals, and the public to help spread the word about work zone safety.

Although work zones are safer than ever, the risk of distracted drivers hitting road construction workers remains high. U.S. Department of Labor data indicates that vehicular incidents caused 444 roadway work zone fatalities across the nation between 2011 and 2018. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports that around 680 highway work zone injuries occur each year in the state. In the past 10 years, officers in the state have cited inattention in 5,335 work zone crashes.

Go Orange for Work Zone Safety

Orange makes work zones safer as the color of hi-visibility vests, traffic signs, cones, and barrels. National Work Zone Awareness Week will celebrate Go Orange Day, Wednesday, April 28 to show support for work zone safety and the families of victims who were killed in work zones.

Move Over or Pay

Washington State’s “Move Over” law requires drivers to proceed with due caution, slow down and, if safe, move over or change lanes when approaching any authorized construction or maintenance vehicle or worker in a designated roadway work zone. The rules specifically describe work zones to include adjacent road lanes 200 feet before and after stationary or slow-moving construction, maintenance, solid waste, or utility service vehicles that display flashing or rotating lights that meet state requirements for vehicle warning light systems. Fines range from $136 for failing to move over to $1,000 for reckless endangerment offenses. Penalties can also include jail sentences and driver’s license suspensions. Following the rules of the road will keep Washington State’s roadway workers alive and safe.

Use the following tips to keep work zones safe:

  • Slow Down – follow the speed limit, it’s there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – road crews are out there working to keep our highways safe.
  • Pay Attention – both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic; put your phone away when driving.
  • Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early or take a detour if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.

Use the links below get information and resources for your own National Work Zone Awareness Week event or training:

Washington State work zone traffic laws

RCW 46.61, Rules of the Road

RCW 46.61.212, Approaching emergency zones – Penalty – Violation

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

Work zone and flagger safety

Asphalt worker safety

Keep Trucking Safe

No Distance, Know Pain tip sheet

Distracted Driving is Dangerous tip sheet

This is What Motorists See poster

National Work Zone Safety information Clearinghouse

Homepage

Washington State Department of Transportation

Work zone safety

Work Zone Safety Awareness Week

U.S. Federal Highway Administration

National Work Zone Awareness WeekWork Zone Management Program

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