National Work Zone Awareness Week is a public health and safety event, held each year from April 15 to 19 this year, to shine a much-deserved spotlight on how we are all equally responsible for maintaining work-zone safety. So let’s support this event by learning about the importance of practicing extra caution while moving through construction zones and paying attention to motorist and worker safety.
History of National Work Zone Awareness Week
Around 24 years ago, Virginia’s Department of Transportation came up with a plan to raise work-zone safety awareness internally. They launched a public awareness campaign the very next year and, within two years, their plan had attracted the attention of the American Traffic Safety Services Association, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the Federal Highway Administration, all of whom partnered with Virginia’s Department of Transportation to establish National Work Zone Awareness Week, coordinating and sponsoring events to raise awareness about this public campaign.
Soon, they were joined by various transportation partners like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Virginia Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration, D.C. Department of Transportation, Associated General Contractors, and American Road & Transportation Builders, and more.
This increased exposure resulted in multiple national events being hosted. They also have large support from various individuals and organizations who have been impacted by work zone safety. Each year, many states host their own National Work Zone Awareness Week events.
National Work Zone Awareness Week timeline
National Work Zone Awareness Week begins, but on a small scale, for local officers in Virginia’s Department of Transportation's Bristol office.
Virginia’s Department of Transportation launches a public awareness campaign through the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Two years later, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the Federal Highway Administration partner up to establish a larger national public awareness campaign.
The first national event is held at a work zone in Springfield, Virginia.
National Work Zone Awareness Week FAQs
What is a work zone?
A work zone is an area where roadworks take place and typically involves construction, maintenance, and utility work. This place is marked with signs, channelizing devices, barriers, pavement markings, and/or work vehicles.
What color is a work zone sign?
These signs are usually orange, announcing that road work is taking place around you and you should slow down and drive carefully. You also need to look out for workers who may be directing traffic.
What is a work zone crash?
Accidents or crashes that take place within the boundaries of a work zone, or their entries/exits, are called work zone crashes. The most common type includes rear-end crashes.
How to Observe National Work Zone Awareness Week
Educate yourself about work zone safety
Education and safety training is one of the best ways to increase awareness about work zone safety. If you are involved in construction work or know people who perform such tasks, you can organize events to retrain workers on safety protocols. If you are a motorist, it is beneficial to learn about safety tips while traveling through work zones and spread this awareness to others too.
Attend a Work Zone Awareness event
If such an event is taking place near you, take some time to attend it to learn more about following appropriate safety protocols first-hand.
Spread the word
Don't be the only one with knowledge of how to maintain work-zone safety. Increase awareness of this week and its history among your community, family, and friends. You could end up saving lives.
Important Facts About National Work Zone Awareness Week
Construction has a season too
Spring and summer is the peak construction season.
Statistics indicate construction-related hiring increases by 40% during March and April each year, signaling the start of the construction season.
The event date was strategically chosen
National Work Zone Awareness Week events are held at the beginning of April to coincide with construction season, in order to minimize the chance of accidents.
Work zone accidents happen in the daytime
While the actual work usually happens at night, the majority of work zone accidents actually occur in the daytime hours.
A majority of the accidents hurt motorists
Data shows that motorists are hurt more frequently than workers in work zones.
Why National Work Zone Awareness Week is Important
It raises awareness about road safety
Every year, traffic accidents are on the rise. Events like these help increase knowledge about road safety and could work at reducing the grim statistics to a great extent.
It saves lives
Naturally, with more safety and awareness comes a reduction in work-zone accidents. With motorists and travelers equipped with a higher understanding of rules to follow inside work zones, the chances of people losing their lives in these accidents are significantly reduced.
Construction can go on unimpeded
We don't know many people who like to travel through a work zone, even with their awareness of safety. An increase in awareness means people are more careful when traveling through work zones and the work can continue uninterrupted.
National Work Zone Awareness Week dates