Observing National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week
NASCAR Driver Martin Truex Jr., Calls for Public Awareness
Dover -- During a press conference held today at 12:30 p.m., at the parking lot of Christiana Mall, with the on-going construction of the new I-95/Route 1 interchange as backdrop, in observance of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, NASCAR Driver Martin Truex Jr., Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, AAA Mid-Atlantic Director, Public and Government Affairs, Jim Lardear, and others educated attendees on the importance of observing extra caution while traveling through work zones.
Secretary Bhatt told the group it is vital to ensure worker's safety and the safety of the traveling public within highway work zones. "We need to remember that work zones can present an unfamiliar situation to drivers. Changes in traffic patterns, closed or narrowed lanes, and the presence of construction equipment and personnel can cause issues for motorists as they travel through work zones. While safe and efficient work zones begin with proper design and implementation, drivers must be attentive to changing conditions and exercise caution when they approach and travel through a work zone."
Recognizing the importance of traffic safety education, AAA Mid-Atlantic is partnering with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to co-sponsor this year's campaign. Through their endorsement DelDOT has been able to secure the services of race car driver Martin Truex, Jr., who for the second consecutive year serves as this year's Work Zone Safety spokesperson for the Delaware campaign.
Speaking to the crowd Martin emphasized, "At speeds of over 190 miles per hour, safety is a NASCAR driver's number one priority on the racetrack. But it also should be everyone's priority when they slide behind the wheel of their vehicle to take to the roads. Today I was able to experience what it is like to be on the other side of the orange cones as a member of a work zone construction crew. I have to say, I feel much safer behind the wheel of the No. 56 Toyota at 130 miles per hour on Dover's Monster Mile than I did standing there. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. And it showed me how dangerous a place work zones are."
Adam Weiser, Safety Programs Manager for DelDOT told the crowd, "While it is often joked that the orange signs sprout like flowers each spring, it should be a reminder to all that work zones occur along our roadways each and every day of the year. It could be a major road construction project, a maintenance crew patching the roadway, a technician repairing a traffic signal, or a motorist assistance patrol aiding a disabled motorist. These are all work zones and require motorists to assist us in all being safe." Weiser continued, "Trends are showing increases in aggressive driving; following too closely and inattentive driving, all of which appear to be leading causes of work zone crashes. We know firsthand the dangers of working on the highway and unfortunately the sorrow that can result from work zone crashes. We ask that as you drive, pay special attention in work zones; for your safety and ours."
Recognizing the challenging work of employees within DelDOT's Traffic, Maintenance, Construction, Pavement, Planning and Bridge divisions, as well as DelDOT contractors, the event was part of National Work Zone Awareness Week. During this annual campaign DelDOT reminds travelers to drive with caution within work zones and to respect the job and the lives of these men and women.
While DelDOT requires its employees to get regular work zone safety training, workers want to remind drivers that work zones are designed to warn motorists of upcoming hazards. When traveling through a work zone, please pay careful attention to the traffic control devices present:
1. When you see the "orange and black," be extra cautious.
2. Warning signs will let you know what to expect.
3. Barrels or cones will delineate your path of travel.
4. Flag persons will help direct you along the way.
5. Slow down and expect the unexpected.
Featuring the talents of Martin Truex Jr., DelDOT will be supporting the importance of work zone awareness with radio spots, print ads, and public service announcements. This recognition is given to roadway workers who put their lives on the line every day making the states' highways safer for all of us.
Prior to the ceremonies Martin Truex Jr., and DelDOT officials escorted the media on an in-depth tour through the I-95/Route 1 Interchange work zone, demonstrating what it is like to work "behind the barrels" on a daily basis. Martin also took time from his heavy schedule to pose for pictures and sign autographs.
For more information on this federally funded campaign, contact DelDOT Public Relations, at (302) 760-2080.
For additional information, visit www.DelDOT.gov; follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/DelawareDOT); and Twitter (http://twitter.com/DelawareDOT) or listen to WTMC 1380 AM.
"Safety is a Two-Way Street. Help Keep Us Safe, To Keep You Safe."