By Brad Sant, senior vice president/safety & education, ARTBA
The National Safety Council (NSC) reported last week that U.S. traffic-related fatalities passed 40,000 for the second straight year. By comparison, there were less than 33,000 fatalities in 2015. Debbie Hersman, NSC’s chief executive, said alcohol and high speeds play a disproportionate role in fatal crashes, and half of deaths involve a driver or passenger who isn’t wearing a seat belt.
For roadway construction zones, the low mark of 586 fatalities was set in 2010. While the 2017 work zone-specific data has not yet been extracted, in 2016 work zone fatalities reached a 9-year high at 765.
There will be a renewed emphasis on safety during the April 9-13 National Work Zone Awareness Week, which ARTBA co-sponsors.
The ARTBA Foundation’s National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse has worked closely with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and its partner the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) to create a new “Work Zone Fatal Crashes and Fatalities” dashboard (www.workzonesafety.org/crash-information/work-zone-injuries-injury-property-damage-crashes) where work zone safety information can be found in an easy-to-understand infographic format. State-specific information is also available by year and crash-type (total, truck-involved, pedestrian involved, and worker).
ARTBA and FHWA have also created a new work zone safety brochure for drivers, offering information and tips for driving through work zones. It can also be found on the Clearinghouse at www.workzonesafety.org/publication/driving-safely-around-work-zones-alert-expect-unexpected.