Spring is finally here, and that means construction season is underway! As we all know, construction zones can be extremely dangerous places for both drivers and workers. That’s exactly why the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) hosts its annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), this year from April 11-15. The weeklong campaign is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of work zones and encourage drivers to use extra caution when driving through any.
The annual campaign seeks to educate on the importance of safe driving in roadway work zones. NWZAW is such an important event for the roadway safety infrastructure industry, as well as motorists, pedestrians, roadway workers, and all those who use our roadways. This year’s theme is “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.” The message behind the theme is that everyone has a role to play in work zone safety – from drivers to workers, and even pedestrians. This week is an opportunity for everyone to ensure you are following safe driving practices, especially in work zones. After all, it’s imperative that we all do our part to stay safe while highway work is being done.
This year’s NWZAW campaign is especially important given the continued rise in work zone fatalities. In 2020 alone, 857 people were killed in 774 fatal work zone crashes, according to the most recent data available from workzonesafety.org.
What many fail to recognize is the vast majority of people killed in work zone crashes are motorists and their passengers, making it all the more important for drivers to slow down and stay focused while approaching and traveling through a roadway work zone. These deaths are preventable, and it starts with each one of us doing our part to drive safely through work zones.
VDOT will be hosting a series of events for the week to educate drivers on work zone safety and promote the campaign message. The kickoff event for NWZAW was held on April 12, where each speaker at the event emphasized the year’s theme, urging drivers to think of work zones as a sign to slow down and drive extra safely. The event was live streamed for all to watch – you can find the recording here. During the event, VDOT officials will be discussing the campaign and highlighting some of the work that has been done to improve safety in work zones. They will also be showcasing some of the new technologies that are being used to make work zones safer for both drivers and workers alike. Other events throughout the week include webinars, social media campaigns, and an opportunity for people to submit their work zone safety stories. There will be plenty of events and activities held in order to inform the public about work zone safety and the role we all play.
April 11: Work Zone Safety Training Day Companies are encouraged to pause during the workday for safety demonstrations, discussions about safety policies, and other prevention steps to protect people in work zones.
April 13: Go Orange Day Wear the color orange to show support for work zone safety and the families of victims who have lost their lives in work zones. Photos can be posted on social media with #NWZAW and #Orange4Safety.
April 14: Social Media Storm Organizations, companies, agencies, and individuals are encouraged to share messages and use hashtags #NWZAW and #WorkZoneSafety throughout social media between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT.
April 15: Moment of Silence All are encouraged to take part in this new event for 2022 to remember those who lost their lives in a work zone incident. You can watch the ATSSA 2022 Memoriam Video here, honoring lives lost.
Work Zone Safety is a topic that deserves more attention and support. If you’d like to proudly show your support of roadway safety, you can order your own work zone accessories from The American Traffic Safety Services (ATSS) Foundation here. Pins, ribbons, bracelets, car magnets, window decals, activity books are all available for purchase. Gear up your family to do your part in promoting work zone safety this year, and every year. It’s up to all of us to keep our roads safe for everyone.
You can learn more about NWZAW and how to get involved by visiting their website here.
Follow J-Band on our social media platforms to follow along with us and learn more about how you can help increase awareness in keeping our roads safer during this important week.