Careless driving through road work zones can have deadly consequences. This warning became reality recently in Tulsa, where two workers installing traffic signals were hit by a motorist who lost control and ran off the road. Sadly, both workers were killed.
Police reported that speed was likely a factor in the crash. Many preventable work-zone accidents are caused by driver inattention, traveling at unsafe speeds or following too close. With technologies available such as cell phones and other mobile devices, a moment of inattention behind the wheel puts drivers, passengers and road workers at risk for injury and death.
Whether a sign tells of a work zone ahead, a reduced speed limit or increased penalties for violations, the meaning is the same: expect the unexpected and pay attention. There will always be changes in traffic patterns near and in work zones, and road workers, drivers and law enforcement must all cooperate to assure work zone safety.
Over the past decade, 171 Oklahomans have been killed in work zones, including 17 fatalities in 2013. Also in 2013, statistics show that 857 people were injured in 1,646 collisions in Oklahoma work zones.
Nationally, four out of five people killed in work zones are motorists or passengers in vehicles, indicating that the way you drive in work zones has a direct effect on your own safety as well as the safety of the workers. To reduce fatalities and injuries, remember to set aside distractions and give work zones your undivided attention when driving.
Work Zone Safety Tips for Motorists