RICHMOND —The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds drivers to be on alert as National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 11 to 15, raises awareness for safe driving in a growing number of work zones.
“Our VDOT men and women work hard to improve and repair our roads,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said. “To keep everyone safe, please give these highway workers your full attention as you travel through work zones on Virginia’s roads.”
This year’s national theme – “Don’t Be That Driver! Work on Safety. Get Home Safely. Every Day” – emphasizes the risks of distracted driving, especially near work zones.
“Work zones are an important investment in Virginia’s infrastructure.” said Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey L. Layne, Jr. “Somewhere in Virginia every day and night, there is a VDOT crew or contractor working to improve our transportation system. In 2015, we averaged 157 construction projects and 310 maintenance projects each month. These improvements will make your travel easier and safer. Distracted driving, especially in work zones, puts drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and road workers at unnecessary risk.”
In Virginia last year, there were 2,622 work zone crashes resulting in 1,417 injuries and seven fatalities.
“Highway workers often have nothing more than a 12-pound cone separating them from traffic,” VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick said. “Most fatalities in work zones are motorists. While we recognize a special week for work zone awareness, work zone safety is important year-round. Always be alert and drive with caution so everyone can arrive home safely.”
April 13 Activities and Events
- Go Orange Day: Wear Orange to support Work Zone Awareness Week. The Governor and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe are showing their support by lighting the mansion in orange.
- VDOT Vigil: 6:30 p.m. at the VDOT Workers’ Memorial (Interstate 64 on Afton Mountain in Albemarle County, milepost 102 eastbound). The public is invited to attend this event that honors
employeeswho lost their lives in work zone crashes.
- Follow VDOT on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtags: #NWZAW, #GoOrangeVA and #OrangeforSafety.
VDOT offers the following tips to increase safety as you navigate highway work zones:
- Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and slow-moving
- Follow the signs. Signs and flaggers will direct you through the work zone. Expect changes in traffic patterns as the project progresses.
- Don’t tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
- Don’t speed. Enhanced fines of up to $500 may be levied for speeding in a work zone.
- Focus. Focus your full attention on the road and those traveling around you.
- Never change lanes in the work zone.
- Minimize distractions. Avoid changing radio stations and using phones.
patient. Crews are working to improve the safety and comfort of your travels.
- Know before you go. Call 511 for up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information from any phone in Virginia. Before you travel, log on to www.511Virginia.org for road and traffic conditions, weather forecasts and live
traffic camerason many major highways.
More information about Work Zone Awareness Week is available on VDOT’s website.
Learn more about the VDOT Workers’ Memorial, including information about some of the people memorialized on the monument.