Promote Work Zone Safety During National Traffic Awareness Month

Now is a good time to focus on work zone safety, as both drivers and workers are at increased risk of accidents due to necessities like lane closures, detours and equipment moving on and off the road

Promote Work Zone Safety During National Traffic Awareness Month

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August being National Traffic Awareness Month makes for a good opportunity to reflect on the importance of road safety.

While overall miles traveled in the U.S. have increased, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates traffic fatalities decreased in the first quarter of 2023 — the fourth straight quarterly decline after nearly two years of increases during the pandemic. 

Despite that good news, traffic-related accidents remain a significant cause of injury and death worldwide. Work zones, in particular, can put drivers and workers at increased risk of accidents due to necessities like lane closures, detours and equipment moving on and off the road. In a 2023 study by HSCC and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 55% of firms working on highway upgrades said they experience cars crashing into their work zones. 

National Traffic Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder to take proactive measures to enhance safety on our roads. Caution and care must be taken by all. Here are three essential tips for drivers and contractors: 

Tip #1: Prevent distracted or impaired driving 

Distracted driving has become a leading cause of accidents, largely due to the prevalence of smartphone use. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, speeding and distracted driving are the most common work zone violations cited by law enforcement, with speed being a factor in 37% of fatal work zone crashes. During National Traffic Awareness Month, commit to keeping your focus solely on the road while driving. Drivers should avoid texting, making phone calls, or engaging in any activity that diverts your attention from the road, whether workers are present or not. Remember, even a momentary distraction can have devastating consequences.  

Tip #2: Adhere to construction zone safety measures 

For construction workers in work zones, National Traffic Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to reinforce safety protocols on site. Clearly mark construction areas with prominent signage, and use traffic control measures (cones, barrels and other barriers that meet Positive Protection standards) to manage the flow of vehicles and minimize the risk of traffic accidents. Ensure workers wear the proper, personal safety equipment, including hard hats, boots, hearing protection, and highly visible, reflective clothing. Conduct regular safety audits to identify potential hazards and make necessary adjustments.  

Tip #3: Educate and raise awareness 

Use National Traffic Awareness Month as an opportunity to educate and raise awareness about road safety for everyone. Construction companies can help organize or participate in workshops, seminars, or safety campaigns in your community, school, or workplace to highlight the importance of responsible driving, pedestrian safety, and the need to eliminate distractions while driving. Engage with local authorities, businesses, and organizations to collaborate on road safety initiatives, making a more significant impact collectively. AGC’s Highway Worker Safety Training Program is “designed to assist in mitigating highway worker safety exposures by increasing awareness of the hazards and the appropriate control measures. Eight interactive modules focus on: 

  • Asphalt paving 
  • Bridge work 
  • Concrete paving 
  • Demolition work
  • Traffic control
  • Earthwork and grading operations
  • Short-term and mobile operations
  • Utility and drainage work 

A Final Word

National Traffic Awareness Month serves as an important reminder that it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritize road safety and take active steps to prevent accidents, particularly in work zones where the risk of crash is increased. By practicing safe driving and avoiding distractions, adhering to construction zone protocols, and promoting awareness, we can collectively work toward safer work zones and a reduction in traffic-related incidents.

About the author: AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and 200-plus product lines in the agriculture and construction-related sectors worldwide. AEM has an ownership stake in and manages several world-class exhibitions, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG.


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