With a warning to “Expect the Unexpected,” ARTBA and industry partners launched National Work Zone Awareness Week during a March 24 media event near an Arlington, Virginia construction site.

Teresa Keen, widow of Virginia Department of Transportation employee Carlos Keen, who was killed in a work zone in 2012, pleaded with drivers to pay attention and watch out for workers laboring on the side of the road. She reminded drivers that workers “have a family at home that miss them and want them to come home.”

Gregory Nadeau, deputy administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, advised drivers “if you are approaching a work zone slow down, stay off your cell phone, and be extra careful.” ARTBA shared the following information to help everyone better understand the need for caution when driving through work zones:

  • Each year, about 600 people are killed in roadway work zones; on average one in 10 are workers.
  • According to a recent OSHA report, 70 percent of the “struck-by” deaths in work zones are caused by motorist intrusions.

Tips for drivers:

  • Respect the work zone signs and warnings. Many workers are killed when impatient motorists intentionally enter into the work space.
  • Don’t be distracted, which includes:
    • Cell phone use (talking and texting)
    • Impairment (drugs and alcohol)
    • Drowsiness
    • Eating, reading, shaving, make-up
  • Obey posted speed limits. They protect drivers and workers
  • Watch for workers

The National Work Zone Awareness Week Executive Committee is comprised of representatives from ARTBA, AASHTO, FHWA, ATSSA, AGC and departments of transportation from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.