FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 7, 2008) — A reminder for those driving through highway work zones this year: Be careful! That’s someone’s mom or dad working out there! National Work Zone Safety Week is being recognized throughout Kentucky, with a salute to those who keep our highways in good order and risk their lives doing it.
As a physician, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo has seen and treated numerous victims of highway crashes. “This is not just a job-site issue. It’s a very serious human health and safety issue. Everyone can make a positive difference by following a few, simple rules when approaching a work zone.”
More than 40,000 people are injured yearly in work zones and thousands are killed. The majority of those, 85 percent, are motorists. According to police records, six people were killed in Kentucky highway work zones in 2007.
Family members of victims, along with traffic safety groups, the federal highway administration, law enforcement, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Labor Department are all taking part in events throughout the state, paying tribute to victims and raising consciousness about work zone safety.
“By talking about the issues, and taking a few minutes to reflect and remember, we hope we can save lives in the future,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Joe Prather at an event in Louisville. “These people risk their life every single day so we can go to work, school or the grocery store. It is our responsibility to make highway work zones as safe as possible by slowing down and being alert when driving through them.”
Transportation safety representatives, including law enforcement, reiterated their role in work zone safety as well. “If our presence in work zones can help slow down drivers and prevent a deadly crash, you can guarantee we’ll be there,” said Boyd Sigler, Director of Highway Safety Program for KYTC.
The Transportation Cabinet is expected to invest in hundreds of highway projects again this year. Traditionally, the highway construction “season” kicks off in April. Cabinet engineers and contractors work cooperatively to design projects and work schedules that minimize delays and crashes.
“Our priority is the safety of our contract employees out there working on road projects,” added Charles Lovorn, of the Kentucky Association of Highway Contractors. “We vary work hours and consider other options to ensure quality road projects and a safe working environment within the work zone.”
Here are the “top 10” work zone safety tips.
-Expect the unexpected.
-Don’t tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.
-Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the construction workers and equipment.
-Pay attention to the signs.
-Obey road crew flaggers.
-Stay alert and minimize distractions.
-Keep up with the traffic flow.
-Schedule enough time and call 511 or go to www.511.ky.gov for Kentucky traffic and travel information.
-Be patient and stay calm.
This week’s work zone awareness events coincide with “National Work Zone Awareness Week.” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a proclamation recognizing work zone safety week in Kentucky, April 7-11.