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In support of National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is encouraging drivers of large trucks to use extra caution, and is urging all drivers to remain alert, obey traffic signs and allow all vehicles extra space.
This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, which highlights safety as the roadway construction season commences, is April 26-30.
There were 842 work zone fatalities in 2019 (the most recent year of data available) and 757 work zone fatalities in 2018, according to Federal Highway Administration data — an 11.2% increase.
FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi noted that while large trucks make up about 5% of vehicular traffic, they are involved in 33% of fatal crashes that occur in work zones.
“Fatal crashes occurring in work zones are both tragic and absolutely preventable,” Joshi said. “I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones.”
FMCSA plans to focus its safety awareness efforts on three states that experience high rates of work zone crashes involving large trucks: Florida, Georgia and Texas. According to FMCSA, drivers in these states can expect to hear public service announcements and see safety messaging on billboards as they near work zones.
Even at Level 4 autonomy, self-driving trucks will have technical limitations. In this episode, we ask how technology developers are clearing those hurdles to make autonomous trucking a reality. We bring in Boris Sofman, head of engineering for the autonomous trucking program at Waymo. Hear a snippet above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
In Florida, there were 68 work zone fatalities in 2019, according to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, a project of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation. Besides serving as a center for port activity and logistics, Florida draws large numbers of tourists, resulting in a bustling roadway network.
Likewise, Georgia is a busy state for freight movement since it is home to many corporate distribution centers and inland and coastal ports. Crashes in Georgia work zones resulted in 5,123 injuries and 24 fatalities in 2020, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Texas’ vast system of interstate mileage is relied on by truck drivers serving its agriculture and energy industries. According to the Texas DOT, there were more than 22,000 traffic crashes in work zones in 2020. Some 186 people were killed in these crashes, including 147 motorists and vehicle passengers, 35 pedestrians and bicyclists and four road workers.
Many organizations and state agencies are promoting National Work Zone Awareness Week. The Michigan DOT created themed posters recognizing the week.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is promoting two opportunities for participants to show support for work zone safety over social media.
“It often comes as a surprise to learn that in Kentucky, and in fact nationally, most work zone victims are motorists, not the workers,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “We want drivers to know they, too, have a vested interest in work zone safety.”
FMCSA also has developed educational resources, including fact sheets, postcards and social media infographics, meant for all safety advocates.
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