To the Editor:
Each spring, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and other state DOTs recognize Work Zone Awareness Week to remind drivers of the importance of avoiding distractions and driving safely through work zones. We invite you to join VDOT as we promote our theme this year, “You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us.”, for National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 17-21. This week is a reminder that work zone safety is a team effort by everyone working on and using our roadways. It is everyone’s responsibility.
Our employees and contractors put their lives on the line in work zones every day while working to improve travel for motorists in Virginia. This is true in mobile operations like mowing, paving and plowing snow, short-term work zones set up to replace bridges and culverts, as well as in our established work zones for long-term construction projects like widening I-81 from Roanoke to Salem, improving Route 58 at Lover’s Leap in Patrick County, or working on the New River Bridge at exit 105 in Montgomery County. Although signs, cones and safety vests can be effective in warning motorists of a work zone, these tools are no protection against a fast-moving vehicle or an inattentive driver. Last year, work zone crashes resulted in 22 fatalities in the state of Virginia. In fact, most work zone deaths are motorists, not workers, so slowing down and paying close attention in work zones can help all of us.
All motorists — whether a seasoned driver or someone new behind the wheel — should follow these instructions when driving through a work zone:
- Work zones are a sign to slow down.
- If you see the orange work zone warning signs, be alert for changing conditions ahead.
- Eliminate distractions and stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Follow Virginia’s phone down and move over laws.
In addition, to show support for National Work Zone Awareness Week, VDOT encourages you to participate in these activities during the week:
- Show us your Orange! Wednesday, April 19 is national “Go Orange Day.” Everyone is encouraged to wear orange in support of work zone safety across the country. Share your pictures with us on Twitter and Facebook! #GoOrangeVa
- Attend the vigil at the VDOT Worker’s Memorial on Afton Mountain on Wednesday, April 19 at 6 p.m.
- Follow us all week long and share our Facebook VDOT Salem District group page at www.facebook.com/groups/VDOTSalemand ReTweet with us @VaDOTSalem.
Join our team to keep our roads and work zones safe for everyone. Let’s work together so we can all arrive at home safely each and every day.
VDOT, Salem District