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80513_NatWZAPosterMassDOT joins local, state and federal transportation officials in observing the 2015 National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, Monday-Friday, March 23-27, and Massachusetts will be focusing on the month of April as Work Zone Safety Awareness Month.

With the start of highway construction season, this year’s theme asks road users to “Expect the Unexpected” with the goal of increased awareness of the need to use safe behavior when approaching a work zone.

Driving in and around work zones requires motorists to constantly be alert and be prepared for changes to the normal conditions that they are used to seeing – traffic lanes may be closed, narrowed, or shifted, speed limits may be reduced and people may be working on or near the roadway.

  • In 2013, speeding was a factor in 23% of fatal work zone crashes. Of the total work zone fatalities, approximately 81% were drivers and passengers of vehicles within the work zone, and the other 19% were other non-motorized users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Driver-related factors that affect work zone crashes include: speeding, distractions (such as cell phones, texting, and radios), inattentive driving, and aggressive driving.
  • Drivers must be aware that the presence of trucks including construction vehicles, flaggers, queues, and reduction in speed limits in work zones all create an environment where being prepared and alert is critical.
  • Safety for everyone is enhanced when motorists are alert, obey traffic control devices (e.g. signs and pavement markings), maintain the posted speed limit, and pay attention to traffic patterns.

National Work Zone Awareness Week began in 1999 when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) signed a Memorandum of Agreement pledging to increase public awareness of work zone safety issues through a national media campaign. Since then, awareness has continued to grow, with State agencies and other organizations sponsoring high-visibility education and outreach initiatives.

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