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Moving the American Economy - U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Contact: Doug Hecox
(202) 366-0660
FHWA 03-05

Drivers Urged To Follow Safe Driving Tips in Highway Work Zones
Work Zones On The Rise As Summer Approaches; Most Work Zone Fatalities Are Drivers Or Passengers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The nation's top highway official today urged drivers to follow safe driving habits as more highway work zones pose greater challenges to drivers during the upcoming road construction season.

"No one should sit on the sidelines of safety," said Federal Highway Administrator Mary E. Peters. "Orange and white safety barrels are springing up as temperatures climb. Taking a few simple steps will keep drivers, passengers and our highway crews safe in construction areas and avoid the traffic tie-ups that work zone accidents cause."

In support of Administrator Peter's call, Deputy Administrator Rick Capka helped kick-off National Work Zone Awareness Week at an event near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge construction project outside Washington, D.C., with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors.

"The highway is a workplace for thousands of men and women, and we're asking drivers to remember that," said Capka.

Work zone fatalities have increased 48 percent since 1997, according to FHWA. In 2003, work zone accidents claimed 1,028 lives and injured 41,239 others. Four out of five people killed in work zones are either drivers or passengers.

Peters and Capka encourage drivers to follow FHWA's "Ten Tips for Driving Safely in Work Zones," such as slowing down, obeying road crew flaggers and avoiding tailgating. These safety tips are available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/safetytips.

In addition to developing safety tips for drivers, FHWA is looking at new ways to increase work zone safety, including more durable pavements, better work zone design and real-time information services to help drivers plan alternate routes around construction areas.

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