This week, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recognizes National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11-15), reminding motorists to slow down and take extra caution when traveling through work zones. Additionally, Florida now uses a combination of red, green, and amber lights on construction equipment in high-speed work zones when workers are present.
Florida’s planned transportation investments for Fiscal Year 2022-23 total more than $12 billion. This commitment to improving the safety and mobility of Florida’s residents and visitors leads to the creation of work zones. As workers do their part to improve, rebuild, and maintain roadways, motorists should remove all distractions and adhere to posted work zone speed limits.
“Every year, thousands of hard-working men and women do their part to support Florida’s vital transportation system and roadways. While all roadwork is temporary, the decisions motorists make in work zones can have lasting impacts,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, P.E. “Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility. Together, we can reach FDOT’s target of zero fatal crashes and serious injuries by staying alert, slowing down, and always being prepared to stop.”
In an active work zone, it is critical to expect the unexpected. In 2020, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) stated speeding was a factor in over 37 percent of fatal work zone crashes. Additionally, 20 percent of fatal work-zone crashes involved rear-end collisions. According to 2017-2021 statewide crash data, Florida experienced 53,548 work-zone related crashes, including 376 fatalities and 1,904 severe injuries.
“As a driver, the safety of those working along our roadways is in your hands,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Please remember to slow down and stay focused when approaching and passing through a work zone, so those who work to improve our roadways can return home safely to their loved ones at the end of the day.”
To inconvenience drivers as little as possible, many of our state’s highways are maintained and constructed in the darkness of night. This can pose a safety risk for those working and traveling in high-speed work zones. Florida now uses a combination of red, green, and amber lights on construction equipment in high-speed work zones when workers are present. This new and improved color schematic, instituted in October 2021, is intended to grab the attention of motorists, and ensure the safety of workers and motorists alike.
FDOT also has comprehensive standard guidelines and procedures for temporary traffic control at work zones. Temporary traffic control plans include intelligent transportation systems and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) applications to create smart work zone projects. FDOT has been including CAV and emerging technologies in more construction and road work projects to improve safety.
National Work Zone Awareness Week began in 1999 when the Federal Highway Administration, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 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.
Work zone safety is everyone’s job. Motorists can do their part by:
- Staying alert
- Slowing down
- Avoiding distractions
- Never tailgating
- Changing lanes carefully using appropriate signaling
- Being prepared to stop if necessary
Visit FDOT.gov/workzone for Work Zone Awareness Week safety tips and resources. For information about work zones by district, please visit FDOT.gov/PIO to contact the local FDOT Public Information Office.
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