With the approach of another busy construction season, Gov. Mike Easley has declared April “Work Zone Safety Awareness Month.”
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is observing this month by kicking off a public outreach campaign targeting motorists. Since approximately 55 percent of work zone crashes can be attributed to speeding and driver inattention, this year’s campaign encourages drivers to “Drive Smart. Do Your Part.”
“Increasing awareness about the hazards present in work zones and educating motorists about work zone safety is key to preventing fatalities and injuries in work zones,” said Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett. “There are numerous hazards present in work zones, including equipment and narrowed and shifted lanes. That’s why it’s imperative that drivers modify their driving behaviors in work zones by slowing down and paying close attention — for their safety and the safety of our workers.”
Each year across the nation, approximately 300,000 distracted drivers are involved in serious crashes.
In 2003, nearly 3,400 people were injured and 37 people were killed in work zone crashes in North Carolina. Of those victims, four out of five were motorists. The slogan “Drive Smart. Do Your Part” emphasizes the fact that motorists have a responsibility to contribute to work zone safety by modifying their driving behaviors when travelling through work zones.
The Work Zone Safety Program is made possible through federal safety funds and aims to eliminate the number of fatalities and injuries in North Carolina work zones. Through this initiative, NCDOT is educating current and future motorists about the risks associated with driving through work zones. In addition, the Work Zone Safety Program identifies certain driving habits that motorists should use in order to “Drive Smart. Do Your Part.”
Fast Facts About NC Work Zones
• There are more than 400 major work zones in North Carolina.
• In 2003, there were 5,406 work zone crashes in North Carolina.
• In 2003, 3,397 people were injured as a result of motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina construction, utility and maintenance work zones.
• In 2003, there were 37 fatalities in North Carolina work zones.
• More than four out of five work zone crash fatalities are motorists.
• Speeding and distracted driving account for nearly 55 percent of all work zone crashes.
• In 2003, 68 percent of North Carolina’s reported work zone crashes occurred on clear days.
• In 2003, 79 percent of North Carolina’s reported work zone crashes occurred during dry road conditions.
• Of North Carolina’s reported work zone crashes in 2003, 74 percent occurred during daylight hours.
• Of all work zone crashes in North Carolina in 2003, only 3 percent involved alcohol.
• It takes less than one minute longer to travel through a 2-mi. work zone at 45 miles per hour than at 65 mph — 49 seconds to be exact.