Work Zone Awareness 2017
How much value would you place on your life? Would you trade it for a text message? A phone call? What about 17 seconds? That's what you run the risk of doing when you drive distracted or speed in a work zone.
For drivers who don't follow speed reductions inside a highway work zone, 17 seconds is roughly the amount of time speeding will save them. Those that text and drive travel the length of a football field in the time it takes them to glance at their phone, on average. All those precious seconds behind the wheel can mean the difference between life and death. They matter.
More drivers and their passengers die in work zones on Oklahoma highways than construction workers each year. In the past five years, 85 people were killed in Oklahoma highway work zones. Four were ODOT workers and the others were drivers like you. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers that "Your Life Matters: Drive Like It" through a month-long public awareness campaign running from April 3 - May 3. This time frame includes National Work Zone Awareness week, which is April 3 - 7. The goal of the campaign is to remind drivers that they have the most to gain by practicing good work zone safety. Watch for our PSAs on your local radio and television stations or on several billboards across Oklahoma.
Partnering with ODOT as sponsors for the work zone safety awareness campaign are the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Midstate Traffic Control and many other associate partners.
Safety Tips to Live By
Follow these tips to help keep you, other motorists and work zone employees safe:
- Stay Alert! Dedicate your full attention to the roadway.
- Set Aside Distractions! Avoid using mobile phones or changing radio stations while driving in the work zone.
- Focus on Safe Driving!
- Buckle Up! Safety belts save lives.
- Pay Close Attention! Merge when directed, and pay attention to all signs and work zone flaggers.
- Turn on Your Headlights! Be visible to workers and other drivers.
- Don't Speed! Note the posted speed limits in and around the work zone.
- Don't Tailgate!
- Keep Up with the Traffic Flow!
- Don't Change Lanes in the Work Zone!
- Don't Drink and Drive! Impairment is a danger to everyone using the highways.
- Plan Ahead! Expect delays and leave early so you can reach your destination on time.
- Be Patient! Work zones aren't there to inconvenience you; crews are working to improve the road to make your future drive better.
TO HELP keep you safe when traveling, check your route for potential ODOT work zones via this Current Construction Projects map: http://tinyurl.com/z5rsdyh or follow @OKDOT on Twitter or Facebook at www.facebook.com/OKDOT. Sign up for traffic advisories direct to your email at www.odot.org.
Five Year Look Back
Highway work zones can be a dangerous place for drivers, passengers and workers if work zone safety is ignored. Just look at the numbers to see:
- 85 fatalities in Oklahoma highway work zones from 2012-2016, including four ODOT workers;
- 17 fatalities in Oklahoma highway work zones in 2016, which included one ODOT worker who lost his life in May 2016;
- 181 collisions in Oklahoma highway work zones in 2016;
- 212 people were injured in Oklahoma collisions in 2016 with 302 people injured in 2015;
- 1,677 people were injured in 1,322 collisions in Oklahoma work zones in the past five years
- 700 people were killed in 2015 nationwide, which is about a 5 percent increase from 2014 fatalities.
By putting away distractions and paying close attention while driving through work zones, the life you save may very well be your own or your loved ones'. Nationally, four out of five people killed in work zones are motorists or passengers in vehicles, indicating the way you drive in work zones has a direct effect on your own safety as well as the safety of highway workers. Your life matters so drive like it.
May 1, 2017, along I-235 at N. 36th St. The campaign was sponsored by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Event sponsor was Midstate Traffic Control of Oklahoma City.
Motorists are about 20 times more likely to die in work zone accidents than ODOT workers. In the past 5 years, 85 people died in work zone accidents in Oklahoma - four were ODOT workers and the rest were drivers like you. Your Life Matters: Drive Like It.
Bobby Unap is an equipment operator for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in Osage County while his wife Regan Unap works as an administrative technician at ODOT’s Division 8 headquarters in Tulsa. Regan and the couple’s five children are very aware of the dangers Bobby faces each day because his “office” is along state highways. The Unaps ask drivers to realize that safety is important for them and workers too. Your Life Matters: Drive Like It.
Chad Greene, a project inspector from Stillwater, has been up close and personal when a fatality has occurred inside an Oklahoma work zone. He does not want to see any more Oklahoma families go through the grief of losing a loved one. Greene urges drivers to put distractions aside in work zones so that everyone can make it home safe. Your Life Matters: Drive Like It
Rick Howland, an engineer with the Edmond Residency, has worked on some of the largest Oklahoma City metro area highway projects and it’s his job to ensure construction zones are set up safely such as the I-235 reconstruction between N. 50th St. and N. 36th St. Howland asks drivers to pay attention, be patient and courteous. “If they can do those, then it’s making it safe for them and also safe for us,” he said. Your Life Matters: Drive Like It
Carolyn Flores, a maintenance superintendent for Pottawatomie County, has spent 26 years working to keep Oklahoma motorists safe and see’s seen a lot risky behavior by drivers in work zones. Following warning signs and staying focused behind the wheel are key in getting everyone home safe at the end of each day, she said. Your Life Matters: Drive Like It.