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FMCSA urges caution for 2021 National Work Zone Awareness Week

April 27, 2021
FMCSA will join FHWA in urging the public to wear orange on Wednesday, April 28, for a national “Go Orange” Day to show their support for highway workers.

To start the 2021 National Work Zone Awareness Week off right, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has called on all drivers to “share work zones safely” by staying alert, obeying traffic signs and allowing all vehicles extra space as the nation’s annual roadway repair and construction season commences.  

For its part in supporting National Work Zone Awareness Week, FMCSA will be concentrating its safety awareness efforts in three states – Florida, Georgia and Texas – which, unfortunately, experience some of the highest rates of work zone crashes involving large trucks in the country.  In those states, motorists can expect to hear public service announcements and see safety messaging on billboards as they approach work zones.

The Department’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, 842 people died in highway work zone crashes compared to 757 the year before. The 11.2% increase is the largest percentage increase of highway work zone fatalities this century. 

FMCSA has also developed educational resources, including fact sheets, post cards and shareable social media infographics for safety advocates to help amplify work zone messaging. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania – also states that have a high number of fatal crashes in work zones each year – will be conducting special activities such as holding educational workshops for commercial vehicle drivers and placing safety signage at weigh stations.

“Fatal crashes occurring in work zones are both tragic and absolutely preventable,” said Meera Joshi, deputy administrator of the FMCSA.  “I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones – 33% – when large trucks comprise roughly five percent of vehicular traffic.  Don’t allow yourself to become distracted, slow down, obey the signs and the instructions of flaggers and be courteous and safe by giving every vehicle extra space. Highway workers equally depend on you for their safety.”

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