Don't Barrel through Work Zones - Drive Smart to Arrive Alive

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Don't Barrel through Work Zones - Drive Smart to Arrive Alive

4/23/2012

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Carl Moser and
Carl Moser and "Barrel Man" attached

In coordination with the National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week partners across the country, Governor Martin O’Malley proclaimed April 23-27 as Work Zone Safety Awareness Week in Maryland.  Overhead roadway message signs, radio public service announcements, the e-brochure “Road Ready” and other education efforts reminding Marylanders that work zones demand attentive driving for the safety of highway workers, drivers and passengers.  In addition, the Maryland Vehicle Administration and the State Highway Administration (SHA) are partnering in plans to expand work zone safety curriculum in future drivers’ education school modules as well as remedial court ordered driver improvement programs.  The lesson plans will emphasize the limited margin for error in work zones.

“Safety on all Maryland roads at all times is a top priority for the O’Malley-Brown Administration.  Governor O’Malley’s proclamation heightens public awareness of the special considerations drivers need to take when navigating work zones,” said Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley.  “We’re asking all drivers to slow down, be patient and remain alert when traveling through work zones, because by doing so we can saves lives.”

The annual event is organized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Traffic Safety Service Association (ATSSA), and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) together with Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the work zone dangers faced daily by workers and drivers alike. The national theme is “Don’t barrel through work zones – drive smart to arrive alive.”

Over the past 10 years in Maryland, work zone crashes averaged 2,646 each year, injuring more than 1,400 and killing 12 people. Nationally, more than 700 people are killed each year in work zone crashes – the majority of them motorists.

One of those people killed was SHA Frederick County Maintenance Team Leader Rick Moser, whose wife Laurie Moser has become a vocal advocate for work zone and traffic safety.  Laurie is featured in this year’s national work zone video public service announcement produced by AASHTO, as well as Association of Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA’s) national web-based memorial that is new this year.  Laurie and Rick’s son Carl is building a construction barrel mascot “Barrel Man” for use in public spaces to remind drivers not to barrel through work zones.

As part of Maryland’s effort to reduce work zone crashes this year, law enforcement will continue to use the SafeZones automated speed enforcement program to fine drivers exceeding the speed limit by 12 or more miles in work zones. The technology raises driver awareness in work zones and plays an important role in positively influencing driving behavior in construction zones. Maryland work zone fatalities are at an all-time low and SafeZones had reduced violated rates by 70 percent where deployed.  Between 2009 and 2010, work zone fatalities decreased by more than half from nine to four.  Still more than 1,600 work zone related crashes occurred in 2010, injuring more than 830 people – underscoring the need for further public outreach and education.

This construction season, there will be numerous active work zone sites as crews improve roads around the state.   Hundreds of state employees, contractors and sub-contractors will be in work zones this season on projects ranging from paving, bridge rehabilitation and regular maintenance as well as working on major roadway projects such as the Intercounty Connector.  While SHA and its transportation partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes.

Maryland’s Work Zone Awareness efforts begin in April and will continue through spring and summer.  The public awareness campaign produced by SHA carries the theme “Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone.” and includes public service announcements, billboards and web marketing materials, as well as the e-brochure Road Ready at: http://www.roads.maryland.gov/OC/e-Road_Ready.pdf.  Road Ready lists all the major construction projects around the State.

Another tool Maryland drivers have available this year is 511 – Know Before You Go.  Call 511 or log onto www.md511.org for live traffic updates, including roadway construction delays and lane closures.  For more information on Work Zone Safety Awareness, visit to SHA’s website at roads.maryland.gov and click on the work zone safety banner.



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