FREDERICKSBURG, Va., April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today marks the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11-15) across the country. Motorists are encouraged to slow to posted speed limits, eliminate all distractions within their vehicles, and be extremely vigilant for roadway workers and their equipment as warmer temperatures signal the beginning of a new roadway construction season.
The national campaign was created in 1999 by the Federal Highway Administration, the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, as a way to "raise public awareness of work zone hazards," not only during the awareness week, but throughout the entire year. Every state across the country has created their own unique local awareness campaign since the program began.
In 2014, 669 deaths occurred in roadway work zones. Surprisingly, the majority of those killed were motorists, not the workers themselves.
Although the overall number of work zone fatalities has declined over the last decade, ATSSA President and CEO Roger Wentz stated, "We will continue our safety, training and awareness efforts until we reach zero fatalities in work zones nationwide."
ATSSA's Director of Communications James Baron said, "Work zone crashes happen when motorists ignore workers or signage, drive carelessly and speed, are impaired, or are distracted." He added, "Many of these crashes are avoidable, simply by exercising care and patience."
The theme of this year's campaign is "Don't Be That Driver."
"As we drive, we observe other drivers texting, not paying attention, being distracted," Baron said. "We're asking people, don't be that driver."
Additionally, Wednesday, April 13 has also been designated "Go Orange Day."
"On that day, work zone safety advocates and citizens across the country are encouraged to wear something orange to show their support and commitment to work zone safety," said Baron.
The official national kick-off event will occur April 12 in Perrysburg, Ohio. That event will be hosted by the Ohio DOT and will include recognition for several Ohio area families who lost a loved one in a roadway work zone accident. ATSSA and other organizations will be part of that media event which will include the National Work Zone Memorial. It contains hundreds of names of men, women and children killed in roadway work zones nationwide.
Contact: James.Baron@atssa.com (direct to iPhone)
On the web: ATSSA.com
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SOURCE American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA)