Work Zone Safety: Avoiding Accidents on the Road

Work Zone Safety: Avoiding Accidents on the Road

Every day, as we commute to work, school, or are on the road, we often encounter areas marked with orange cones, flashing lights, and warning signs. These are work zones, and they play a crucial role in maintaining and improving our roadways. However, with the rise in work zone-related accidents, it’s essential to understand what constitutes a work zone and the importance of safety within these zones.

Some types of work zones are: 

Long-term construction: Projects like building bridges or adding lanes.

Mobile maintenance: Activities such as road striping or pothole repair.

Short-term utility work: Repairs to electric, gas, or water lines within the road.

However, private tasks outside the trafficway aren’t considered work zones.

The Concerning Data:

From 2013 to 2020, work zone fatalities surged by 45%. In 2020, over 102,000 work zone crashes led to 45,000 injuries and 857 deaths. The economic impact? A staggering $17.5 billion annually.

Work Zone Offenses and Their Consequences

Navigating through a work zone requires utmost attention and adherence to the rules. Not only are these zones crucial for infrastructure improvement, but they’re also potential hotspots for accidents if drivers aren’t careful. Let’s delve into the common offenses committed in work zones and the consequences that follow.

Common Work Zone Offenses:

Speeding: Exceeding the posted speed limit.

Stealing cones or signs: Removing safety equipment from the site.

Tailgating: Following another vehicle too closely.

Improper passing or lane change: Changing lanes without signaling or in unsafe conditions.

Reckless driving: Driving with a willful disregard for safety.

Rearranging cones: Tampering with the setup of safety cones.

Failure to obey direction of a flagger: Ignoring or disobeying the instructions of a traffic controller.

Consequences of Violating Work Zone Rules:

Doubled Traffic Fines: Any violation within a work zone can result in fines that are double the usual amount.

No Reductions: These fines cannot be reduced, suspended, or waived.

Endangerment Charge: Drivers can be found guilty of “endangerment of roadway workers”, a serious offense.

Gross Misdemeanor: Some violations can be classified as a gross misdemeanor, leading to potential jail time.

License Suspension: A mandatory 60-day license suspension is enforced for certain offenses.

Tips for Truck Drivers in Work Zones

Navigating work zones can be challenging for truck drivers. Recognizing traffic control devices and adhering to safety tips is crucial.

Traffic Control Devices to Recognize

Signs: Stop/slow paddles, fixed orange signs, and arrow panels.

Markings: Painted and raised pavement markers.

Lane Routers: Barricades, orange drums, and cones.

Other: Work crews in orange vests, warning lights, and truck-mounted attenuators.

Safety Tips

Check Blind Spots: Trucks have larger blind spots; always double-check.

Drive Safely: Adhere to work zone speed limits and stay focused.

Plan Ahead: Familiarize yourself with the route and potential work zones.

Maintain Your Vehicle: Ensure brakes, lights, and other systems are in top condition.

If Involved in an Accident

Should you find yourself in an accident within a work zone, it’s essential to take immediate and appropriate actions. First and foremost, stop your vehicle as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic. For your safety and the safety of others, avoid standing or walking in traffic lanes. If the vehicles involved are still operational, turn off the ignitions to prevent any further complications. 
It’s crucial to promptly call the police to report the incident. After ensuring everyone’s immediate safety, remember to notify the Safety Department at (623)400-5464 to inform them of the situation.

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