The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is taking part in National Work Zone Awareness Week this week to promote highway safety before construction picks up in the Spring and Summer months.
“Work zones are temporary, but our decisions behind the wheel can make an impact forever,” said WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson. “Each moment of focused, attentive driving is moment that can save a life.”
According to the DOT, more than 3,000 crashes were reported in Wisconsin work zones just last year. Of those, there were nine deaths and more than 1,200 injuries. They say tailgating is the most common identified factor, while distracted driving and alcohol/drug use continue to be prevalent factors as well.
"There's a lot of people out here working," said Kurt Peters, WIS 441 Construction Project Manager. "Drivers should slow down, pay attention and get through the work zone safe, not only for themselves, but for the workers as well."
The DOT suggests the following safety tips:
- Drive safely, avoid distractions and obey posted speed limits. Be courteous and patient. Set a good example for others on the road.
- Leave the phone alone. Texting and driving is illegal statewide and talking on a hand-held mobile device is illegal in work zones .
- Slow down when you see workers and, if it’s possible, provide additional space by moving over. Wisconsin’s Move Over Law applies to maintenance operations as well as emergency response units.
- Show support for work zone safety with the social media hashtags #DriveLikeYouWorkHere, #NWZAW, #WorkZoneSafety, or #OrangeForSafety (but please never text or tweet while driving).
- Participate in “Go Orange Day” on Wednesday, April 10 by wearing orange in support of safety. (#OrangeForSafety)
Overall, the DOT asks people to simply stay focused and follow the rules of the road while driving.