Work zone risks for highway crews and you: the danger is real

Courtesy ADOT Work zone crew along SR74

ADOT marking National Work Zone Awareness Week

Most of us couldn’t imagine being on the job with speeding cars and trucks just feet away zooming past our desk, cubicle or other place of business.

But every day, highway construction and maintenance crews across Arizona face just such potentially dangerous scenarios, especially when many drivers don’t slow down or pay attention in work zones. Sadly, drivers and passengers are even more likely to be killed or seriously injured in work zone crashes.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has joined other safety agencies across the country in promoting National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 26-30) to focus attention on the need for drivers to stay alert, recognize they’re entering an area where construction or other workers could be at risk and to embrace lifesaving actions that include slowing down.

A number of ADOT’s electronic signs along state highways and freeways are displaying safety messages this week, including “Safe Drivers, Safe Workers, Safe Work Zones” and “Give ‘Em A Brake, Stay Alert in Work Zones.”

A check of law enforcement agency reports shows that since 2016 more than 60 people have died in work zone-related crashes along all roads in Arizona, including local streets and state highways. An ADOT employee, Frank Dorizio, lost his life last year when he was struck by a vehicle while setting up a work zone sign along Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.

National statistics over time have shown that 4 out of 5 victims of work zone crashes were drivers or their passengers. Arizona work zone crash statistics from law enforcement reports over the past five years include the following:

2016: 7 fatalities, 28 serious injuries

2017: 18 fatalities, 31 serious injuries

2018: 17 fatalities, 23 serious injuries

2019: 15 fatalities, 22 serious injuries

2020: 9 fatalities, 23 serious injuries

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